Newcastle V West Ham

Post Match Comments
Audio Match ReportSaturday 21st April 2001
St James' Park
Referee: Pau

Missing Paolo Di Canio and with Fredi Kanoute forced off through injury after just 21 minutes, West Ham were a pale shadow of the side that had swept aside Derby County 48 hours earlier as Newcastle United enjoyed a comfortable 2-1 win.

Bobby Robson's men were two up thanks to goals from Carl Cort and Nolberto Solano either side of half time and the game was virtually over by the time Hammers sparked themselves into life with 10 minutes remaining when Frank Lampard converted from the penalty spot.

And Harry Redknapp admitted afterwards that, once his first choice strikeforce was wiped out altogether with the enforced substitution of Kanoute, the odds were heavily stacked against his side getting anything out of the game.

 "When Fredi went off, we had no strength, no pace and I had to throw Joe Cole up there, who isn't a front man. I just couldn't see how we were going to hurt them."

Despite encouraging his main striker to carry on at the time, Harry admitted afterwards that the Frenchman was in considerable pain after suffering a hip injury caused by the knee of Nikos Dabizas when challenging for a header.

"Fredi was in a lot of pain and couldn't really move," said Harry. "I thought he might be able to run it off but the physio said at half-time that it could be quite a bad injury. Di Canio has a problem with his Achilles tendon but I hope he will be available next week."

Kanoute's injury gave Svetoslav Todorov his chance to impress but the Bulgarian international struggled to make an impact and managed just one weak shot off target in the first half.

Too often, he failed to hold up the ball and gave away possession easily, although that is a criticism that could be levelled at West Ham in general throughout the game.

Di Canio's absence meant a recall for Sebastien Schemmel on the right of a five-man midfield as Redknapp attempted to protect his back four, but the Frenchman was indirectly at fault for Newcastle's opening goal on 31 minutes, when he was caught out of position upfield as Wayne Quinn counter-attacked down the left.

His cross was only flicked on by John Moncur to the feet of Solano at the far post and he was allowed time and space to whip in a dangerous cross that Cort volleyed home from six yards out.

That was the only real goalmouth action of a lacklustre first half but the home side stepped up the pace after the break and it was Solano who was again the thorn in West Ham's side.

"Still, we've got a nice easy game against Leeds next Saturday - that shouldn't be a problem!"