This report is brought to you by Ginsters
11th January 2003, 3.00pm
Boleyn Ground, Upton Park
After recent wintry weather this was a calm and pleasant afternoon -
had we been on the top of the stand rather than in the bowels we
even have seen one of them Waterloo Sunsets....
9 mins Less spectacular than
JJ's volley but still a stunning goal in its own way. Shola used his
trickery to turn in from the right and lay off a measured ball to Jenas.
JJ turned it back to Bellamy who took a touch before spinning and
sending a low left-footer inside the right post, wrong-footing David
14 mins An awful attempt at a
clearing header from Caldwell presented the ball to Joe Cole inside
the box. The England midfielder still had some work to do but his control
and shot was clinical as Shay was left helpless. 1-1
45 mins Jermaine Defoe
tied Steve Caldwell in knots on the right side of the box before firing a
low shot past Given into the far corner. Inspired forward play or poor
defending? Probably a bit of both. 1-2
Half time: West Ham
2 Newcastle 1
81 mins A hopeful ball was
played from our right into the box. It was only partially cleared to Jenas
on the edge of the area. With a lovely bit of chest control JJ swung his
left boot at the ball before it hit the ground and the volley flew over
James into the top left corner. A stunner. 2-2
Full time: West Ham 2 Newcastle 2
"With all the expectation and
hullaballoo surrounding Bowyer's debut and the surprising fact that West
Ham had not won at home in the Premiership this season, it looked as
though we might be the fall guys."
"But I told my players that today
was not about Lee Bowyer and West Ham; it was about our team, and I am
delighted with the way they responded."
"In the end it was a diplomatic
result because neither side deserved to lose, and it was a useful point
for Newcastle and for West Ham."
"I can see West Ham staying up."
"I hope they do because they have
a great support from the crowd and they play nice football.
"In Bowyer, Jermain Defoe, Trevor
Sinclair and Joe Cole they have players who can score goals - and of all
the teams at the bottom I see them as the ones who can survive, because if
you are scoring goals then you have a chance."
"I told my players at half-time
that West Ham would be as nervous as hell in the second half because they
had not won at home all season."
"Jenas saved us. But he should
have won it for us in the last minute too, so I am sure Glenn Roeder is
relieved with a point."
"We dropped two points today, and
the lads are very disappointed in the dressing room - which is a good
sign. We needed a third goal because we knew Newcastle were good going
"I heard that a few people
demonstrated before the game, but the majority of people got behind Lee."
"I just hope in the course of
time that those people are able to come back into the ground and watch us
play with Lee Bowyer in the team.
"Lee got stronger and stronger
today - and when he gets to know West Ham and we get to know him he will
be a great asset to us.
"I had no doubt about his mental
strength because when he was at Leeds there were midweek games when he
spent all day in court before going out to play and was man of the
West Ham v Toon in the Premiership
2002/03: Drew 2-2 Bellamy, Jenas
2001/02: Lost 0-3 No scorer
2000/01: Lost 0-1 No scorer
1999/00: Lost 1-2 Speed
1998/99: Lost 0-2 No scorer
1997/98: Won 1-0 Barnes
1996/97: Drew 0-0 No scorer
1995/96: Lost 0-2 No scorer
1994/95: Won 3-1 Potts og, Lee, Mathie
1993/94: Won 4-2 Lee 2, Cole, Mathie
Our 55th away visit to West Ham,
and our record in all competitions stands at:Southwark-born Carl
Cort made a late appearance from the Newcastle bench on Saturday, just
across the water from his own "manor".
Won 12, Drawn 15, Lost 28 GF56 GA96
Four minutes may not have been much, but
marked his first Premiership involvement since he managed seven minutes
against the same opposition at St.James' Park in April 2002. He has also
featured in the Worthington Cup defeat this season by Everton.
Cort became the 23rd player to appear for us this season in the
league, while a first Premiership strike from Jermaine Jenas made
him our 12th scorer in the Premiership so far this campaign.
To complete the stats from the weekend, Shola Ameobi made his 50th
Premiership appearance for the Magpies (including 28 sub runouts), while Laurent
Robert reached a half-century of Premiership starts for the
club. Anyone care to place a wager on him making the ton?
The average age of our starting XI was 24 years and 2 months. The
lack of Dabizas, Speed and Shearer reducing this considerably from our
Welcome to the Lee Bowyer show, in the east end for a seventeen week
run only, after which it may transfer to a bigger stage.
This may have been a Premiership match between two teams, one looking
upwards enviously at the top three and the other nervously contemplating
the abyss beneath them. But as far as the media were concerned, this was
West Ham's day and we were merely the supporting cast. For that reason
alone a point was most welcome.
To be fair, we weren't alone in approaching this game with a certain
amount of trepidation. Partly because of Bowyer yes, and partly because
the Hammers finally managed to win a home game the previous week. Mostly
though because we've endured some depressing days on this ground in recent
seasons and a certain D. Hutchison was back in the side, a man who has had
something of an Indian sign over us in recent years.
In the event Bowyer (with hair apparently modelled on Don King) started,
while Hutchison (a barnet covered in what looked like sparrow droppings)
was confined to a place on the bench.
We began in bright conditions, attacking the away section and seemed to
have the bit between our teeth from the off. The newly-wedged up Bellamy
(£35k pw) had seemed in good form beforehand, signing autographs after
warming up and donating his sweatshirt to a toon supporter and he
continued to be as positive with the ball, torturing Winterburn with his
With Bellamy popping up on both wings, the search for Robert began. He did
get over one early corner that Steve Caldwell was a breath away from
getting a strong header on, but in open play was nowhere to be seen, apart
from when he symbolically dumped Bowyer on his arse in front of the
At that time though his absence wasn't vital, with Ameobi also looking in
the mood, and it was his thrusting run down the right flank that opened up
the home side for our first goal.
After that we continued to look dangerous, principally through Bellamy
giving Winterburn the sort of run-around treatment Robert should have
inflicted on the similarly-flagging Irwin at Wolves. However, when the
jinking Welshman did get to the byline and look for a colleague in the
danger zone, there was none to be found.
A leveller from Cole had rocked us back a little and as the half wore on
we increasingly relied on Given's kicking and a succession of poor punts
forward from our defenders. With Acuna trying to stem the flow from the
home midfield and Jenas ineffective as an attacker on the right flank, we
were short-handed in the creativity department, especially as Dyer was in
similar mood to Bolton i.e. trying daft little flicks at inopportune
moments and losing the ball cheaply.
Robert's contributions became more and more fitful, but he drew warm
applause from the Mags in the ground when he ambled over to take a corner.
Had he unleashed a howitzer that caused mass panic from James and co.
nobody would have minded his studious ignoring of the support. However his
dead ball kick was just that - akin to someone kicking a medicine ball.
Yet again his weak effort succeeded only in reaching the first man,
inevitably a defender.
He just doesn't help himself - contrast this to Solano, who generally
acknowledges the clapping when he takes a corner, and is probably better
liked by some as a result. Not massively important but...these small
things mount up. Add this to the Olly incident, the training ground tussle
with Griffin and the comments on his website that if nothing else betray a
certain lack of humilty.
The weekend media stories and denials about the Frenchman meant that once
again he hogged the headlines and we make no apologies for sticking the
proverbial knife in once again for his onfield performance, despite his
protestations of innocence when accused of rocking the boat and looking to
leave the club.
With no Shearer or Speed, Robert was the senior professional in the side
at Upton Park.
And at 2-1 down when we seemed to be lost and clueless, what was his
contribution? One quick run and cross that almost brought a chance and the
occasional wander back to help his defenders (admirable in itself, but not
really what we wanted from someone with his talent at that time).
In the absence of Shearer, we were also treated to a simply awful free
kick from Robert that only the back of the Bobby Moore stand stopped from
dropping in the Thames.
At present Robert walks the walk, talks the talk and takes the cash but is
just not pulling his weight. To repeat, he was the senior professional in
the side on Saturday - a fact he plainly failed to appreciate.
Contrast that with Bellamy, who kept trying to find a way forward with
what passes he received or scraps he picked up, and 19 year old Jenas who
might not have been having a stormer, but kept going and ultimately got
Dyer again just baffles me, but as long as your pals are doing the match
reports you'll get nothing in the papers apart from slavering platitudes.
No meaningful dissection of his displays, inconsistency, shortcomings etc.
Having dug out a point that hadn't looked likely, we could have won it in
the last few minutes as the West Ham players and supporters were on the
ropes, almost cowering in expectation of a knockout blow from us, such was
their deflation at letting a home advantage slip once again.
To be brutally frank it was partly their own fault. Roeder looked to have
urged his players to build on the second goal that had gone in just before
the interval, and his charges restarted play pressing for the third goal
that would surely have won the match.
However, 65 minutes in and it hadn't come. With a hint of anxiety creeping
in from the home stands, the Hammers then gradually began to sit deeper
and deeper on the field, causing us less of a threat and leaving Defoe
isolated up front with only occasional dashes forward from Bowyer to join
So, set our test we didn't really set about things that convincingly, with
Shola fading badly (later said to be carrying a knock) and the sub LuaLua
making tracks down the right but not quite managing to work a shooting
position or make a defence-splitting pass.
But with the jeers of the toon fans ringing in his ears, Hutchison made
his entrance and within seconds Jenas had made the West Ham net bulge with
his first Premiership strike.
Something very satisfying about that short passage of play and sequence of
Whether the Hammers lost concentration crucially we'll never know, but
there seems to be an increasingly fatalistic attitude in this part of
London, with the equalising goal enough to send some home fans scurrying
for the exits.
Initial post match feelings were slight surprise that we'd managed to take
a point from a game we were widely expected to lose, but also a certain
depression about the mundanity of our performance - the absence of Speed
and Shearer were certainly felt, in that we looked remarkably average for
long periods of time without them.
But on reflection, and given the fact we emulated both Arsenal and
Manchester United in taking a point away with us, there were still reasons
to be cheerful.
The youthful side we put out managed to avoid defeat, although clean
sheets away from home are very much a thing of the past (league games in
the West Midlands excepted) and again the rest of the top half of the
league conspired not to make up any gorund on us.
Oh, and we never signed Trevor Sinclair - a player who i've never had any
time for since he cut his hair and who was stinking today. A bit like
On the negative side, Steve Caldwell had a miserable afternoon in
defence and this below-par showing came at a crucial time when he'd hoped
to impress the manager sufficiently to earn a new deal. Unfortunately for
him, this performance may have gone some way to sealing his ultimate
Quite simply though we took a point off a poor team - a more skilled or
confident one would probably have beaten us if they'd got 2-1 ahead. We
again failed to keep a clean sheet and are lining up week after week with
10 players - Robert is not worth his place, certainly away from home, but
knows that in the absence of Viana there's no natural replacement.
At present we're maintaining our position thanks to our home record, but
results like this and the point at Southampton are most welcome - another
one at Spurs would be a prized return, but keeping on winning those home
games will take us a long way towards a champions league return next
But as for taking things a stage further? not playing like this.
Contrast our display with what Arsenal did to Birmingham on Sunday -
PS - Let nobody tell you that the West Ham
crowd were 100% behind their new signing.
While there was a small protest outside the main gates from a "Hammers
against racism" group, inside the ground the reception was polite
rather than fervent.
Indeed there were a few home fans pointedly not applauding him in the
sections adjacent to the toon contingent, plus some isolated booing.
Return of the Prodigal Son it wasn't.
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