18 May 2004
Division 1 play-off semi-final second leg
West Ham United 2-0 Ipswich Town 0 (West Ham United win 2-1 on aggregate)
Alan Pardew had the unenviable task of guiding West Ham United back to the Premiership at the first time of asking, and had done well to secure a
play-off spot with a fourth-place finish. Ipswich were to be the semi-final opponents. The first leg at Portman Road was a tight affair, but the home
side came away with the slight advantage.
Darren Bent headed in them into a second half lead but West Ham managed to keep the deficit to just one. Joe Royle's side were welcomed to the Boleyn Ground under the floodlights by one of the most electrifying atmosphere's the ground has ever witnessed. The night was a throw back to the glory days of the 60's and everyone was anticipating a very special performance.
Bobby Zamora forced a wonder save from Kelvin Davis and Bent wasted a good chance to increase Ipswich's aggregate lead, but the sides went in at the break goalless. Time was ticking away and West Ham needed something exceptional.
Then, Michael Carrick took a short corner quickly to Matty Etherington and the left winger hit the sweetest strike straight into the top corner. West Ham now had their tails up and it wasn't long before skipper Christian Dailly put them within touching distance of the Millennium Stadium, stabbing the ball in from inside the box, before collapsing winded.
The Hammers survived an Ipswich onslaught, with the visitors hitting the post in the final minute and were on their way to Cardiff.
West Ham United: Bywater, Repka, Dailly, Melville, Mullins, Etherington, Carrick, Lomas, Harewood, Connolly (Reo-Coker 82), Zamora (Deane 57).
29 May 2004
Division 1 play-off final
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
West Ham United 0-1 Crystal Palace
Heartbreak for the second year running as Alan Pardew's Hammers fell at the final hurdle in their bid to regain top-flight status. West Ham United had given everything in the semi-final against Ipswich and travelled to Cardiff with confidence, but just could not produce on the day.
Neil Shipperley put the south Londoners ahead in the second half and it proved to be decisive. David Connolly and Bobby Zamora both had the ball in
the back of the net but were denied by the linesman's flag.
The Hammers were destined to spend another year in Division 1.
West Ham United: Bywater, Repka, Dailly, Melville, Mullins, Etherington, Carrick, Lomas, Harewood (Reo-Coker 69), Connolly (Hutchison 74), Zamora (Deane 70).