Post Match Comments
Match ReportWednesday 27th September 2000
WORTHINGTON CUP 2ND RND, 2ND LEG
Referee: A D'Urso WEST HAM1Lomas 2WALSALL1Leitao 8HISLOPS PEARCESTIMACMARGASWINTERBURN LAMPARDLOMASCOLEKANOUTEDI CANIOCARRICKSubs:FORRESTPOTTS 70NEWTONBYRNEDEFOEWALKERBARRASSBRIGHTWELLBENNETTTILLSONARANALDEHALLBUKRANMATIASANGELLLEITAO Subs:ROPER 46EMBERSONBYFIELD 57KEATESWRIGHT 80West Ham moved into the Third Round of the Worthington Cup after surviving a barrage of pressure from Walsall at Upton Park.
And Harry Redknapp admitted:
"We were poor."
Always candid in his assessment of performances, he has maintained that, with the exception of the second half against Spurs, and with a slight dip below the expected level against Coventry, the players have performed admirably without necessarily getting the results they deserved.
But, for the first time this season, he has admitted that there was underachievement on the field of play.
"It was the first poor performance of the season. We had to hold on in the last ten minutes, and they gave us problems particularly on set pieces.
"But Walsall are a good team and I can see why they are above Stoke who beat Charlton the previous evening. And I don't suppose Walter Smith enjoyed last night."
But Harry remained optimistic despite the temporary 'blip' in performance, that the Hammers are on course.
"It's one defeat in seven," he maintains. "We are going OK."
Ray Graydon's Second Division side won 15 corners as they surged forward in search of a goal which would have taken the match into extra time.
But ultimately the name of Walsall will not join those of Wrexham, Northampton, Swansea and Stockport in the Hammers' hall of shame.
The Saddlers couldn't have made a worse start to the match, with their Premiership hosts taking the lead after only two minutes.
Frederic Kanoute's trickery took him past Ian Brightwell on the left edge of the penalty area, and his chipped cross was powerfully headed in by Northern Ireland international Steve Lomas.
But any thoughts of a landslide victory for Harry Redknapp's side were swept away only six minutes later.
Walsall forced three corners in succession, and from the third Portuguese striker Jorge Leitao rose highest to head in his sixth goal of the season.
That was the end of the scoring, but the Hammers were forced to endure a torrid end to the game as Walsall again forced three successive corners.
From the first, Javier Margas hooked Mark Wright's header off the line. Then Stuart Pearce made a goal-line clearance to deny Leitao, before the biggest scare, when Pedro Matias looped a shot onto the crossbar via a deflection.
West Ham, who lost Frank Lampard after a heavy challenge from Garbor Bukran, left the field at the end to a chorus of boos.