Post Match Comments
Audio Match ReportMonday 12th Ferbruary 2001
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Referee: D GallagherWEST HAM1Cole 83 COVENTRY1Dailly og 89FORRESTSCHEMMELTIHINENDAILLYS.PEARCE WINTERBURNCARRICKCOLELAMPARDDI CANIOKANOUTESubs:BYWATERSONGSOMAI.PEARCECAMARAHEDMANQUINNHALLBREENSHAWTHOMPSONEUSTACECARSLEYHADJIHARTSONBELLAMY Subs:KIRKLANDCHIPPO 77TELFEREDWORTHY 90BOTHROYD 88Harry Redknapp blasted his defence after they gifted Coventry a late equaliser just minutes after Joe Cole had scored what should have been the winning goal to secure the Hammers' first Premiership win of the year.
With just a minute of normal time left, Hannu Tihinen conceded a needless free-kick 35 yards from goal. Thompson's deep cross wasn't dealt with by keeper Craig Forrest and Christian Dailly could only divert a header into his own net from six yards out.
H complained: "It was a sloppy free-kick to give away in the first place - you don't give away free-kicks like that with a minute left when you know they are going to throw their big men forward.
"Then we started off defending the kick on our 18-yard box but kept dropping too deep. I thought the keeper could have come and caught it, but somehow it's ended up in our own net. It was a bad goal to give away."
The Hammers boss was left wondering how his side failed to collect a much-needed victory after dominating the entire second half and wasting countless chances.
Frederic Kanoute was the biggest culprit, firing wide on two occasions when put clean through on goal and then failing to kill off the game with a few minutes left when he headed wide just six yards out - a mistake that proved costly.
Said H: "Fredi had some great chances - even at 1-0 he should have scored with a header in front of goal - I don't know how he missed it.
"Once we went 1-0 up that should have been it, game over. But we switched off with two minutes left and I was very disappointed at the end.
"Coventry played well in the first half, they started brightly and Bellamy and Hartson showed good movement, but we absolutely murdered them in the second half and created chance after chance."
For all their possession though, the Hammers were in the end lucky to escape with a point after former Upton Park hero John Hartson was twice denied goalscoring chances by two dubious refereeing decisions.
The burly Welshman had a goal disallowed for offside early on although TV replays later revealed that he had been played onside by three Hammers defenders.
Then just moments after the visitors had equalised, Hartson squeezed between Tihinen and Stuart Pearce on the edge of the area but was brought down by the veteran defender's late challenge.
To the dismay of the travelling Sky Blues fans, referee Dermot Gallagher waved play on to end their chances of a stunning late winner.
Harry Redknapp afterwards insisted that his side were also unlucky not to be awarded a spot-kick when Barry Quinn handled inside the area: "They were unlucky, but we should have had a penalty aswell. Quinn definitely handled the ball inside the box - I've seen it four times on TV.
"I know the SKY commentators are Coventry fans - but we certainly should have had a penalty for that."
Banbury-based Gallagher struggled to keep up with the pace of the game and booked six players in a contest that was never violent, but in the end the Hammers only had themselves to blame for throwing away the three points.
With seven minutes remaining, it looked as though the wait for 2001's first league win was over, when Cole converted at the far post after the tireless Nigel Winterburn had raced on to Frank Lampard's searching pass and cut the ball across the six-yard box.
The 19-year-old midfielder had been involved in the majority of West Ham's best moves in the second half and after several long-range efforts had flown just wide, his deserved third goal of the season arrived on his 50th appearance for the club (incidentally making him the youngest Hammer ever to achieve that milestone).
Said Harry of his young starlet: "I told Joe at half-time that if he kept getting forward into the box he would get a tap-in and he did just that. He was fantastic in the second half."
Watching England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, who must have a season ticket at Upton Park by now, can't have failed to be impressed by the tricky youngster but will also have taken note of the performance of Frank Lampard, who looked back to his best after his early season was blighted by injury.
At the final whistle though, they were the only real positives to take from a match that, on paper, the Hammers should comfortably have won.
In truth, Gordon Strachan's hard-working and determined side probably deserved to take something away from Upton Park but it will take a more disciplined performance at the Stadium of Light on Saturday if the Hammers are to enjoy FA Cup progress in the fifth round against Sunderland.
2 - A fantastic chance for the Hammers in the opening stages, as Di Canio's looped pass from the halfway-line releases Kanoute in on goal. However, the Frenchman's low shot is saved by the legs of Hedman.
4 - Coventry respond almost immediately and a loose ball finds Bellamy in the area, who is denied by a last-ditch tackle from Christian Dailly.
5 - Hadji wriggles free on the edge of the Hammers area and curls a shot that Forrest brilliantly tips round the post for a corner.
7 - With Coventry looking dangerous, Tihinen's headed clearance only finds Hadji, whose left-foot shot almost deceives Forrest before trickling wide.
10 - Carrick finds Di Canio wide on the left and Winterburn's dummy run allows the Italian to cut inside before firing a shot wide of the target.
11- Breen BOOKED for foul on Kanoute.
12 - After Thompson's corner is only half cleared by Carrick, Carsley fires a volley well wide.
13 - A through-ball from Carsley is cut out by Forrest, but falls to Hadji, whose first effort is blocked again by the Hammers keeper. Given a second bite at the cherry, the Moroccan finds Hartson in the area, whose emphatically volleys home past Pearce on the line. However, the Welshman is adjudged to be in front of Forrest, ruling him offside.
13 - Lampard immediately races up the other end and releases Kanoute, whose shot is again saved by Hedman, while Cole can't convert the rebound.
14 - From Schemmel's cross, Breen stretches to clear and nearly heads into his own net.
16 - Cole breaks clear on the edge of the area but fires his shot just over.
17 - Hartson receives the ball six yards out with his back to goal, turns and is about to shoot until Tihinen intervenes.
18 - Quinn BOOKED for kicking ball away.
21 - A good build-up from the visitors sees Bellamy receive the ball inside the area, but Hartson can't reach his cut-back from the byline.
23 - Bellamy's clever pass releases Eustace but although Tihinen's challenge allows Thompson a clear shot at goal, the former Liverpool youngster blasts over.
29 - Bellamy's shot from 25 yards out flies well wide of the target.
31 - Hartson nods Hadji's centre back across the six-yard box but Eustace's header is too weak to trouble Forrest.
33 - Bellamy breaks free on the right, but no one apart from Tihinen is there to meet his low cross into the danger area.
38 - Great control and a lay-off from Hartson to find Bellamy on the left, who runs at Tihinen before firing straight at Forrest.
39 - Di Canio and Lampard combine to feed Cole, who advances to the edge of the area before hitting a low shot into the arms of the grounded Hedman.
40 - Winterburn's hard work wins possession and he lays a pass to Cole, whose range improves slightly as he fires just wide of the far post.
43 - Pearce's searching pass finds the head of Kanoute, who nods down into the path of Lampard. The England midfielder skips between two defenders, before sidefooting his shot wide of the post.
ADDED TIME: 1 minute.
HALF-TIME: West Ham United 0 Coventry City 0.
46 - Cole's tricks on the left give him space inside the area, but his cross is cleared by a Sky Blues defender.
47 - Cole again receives the ball in space and races towards goal but again his shot is wide of the target.
49 - Di Canio picks up the ball on the left and has one thing on his mind as he skips into the area, leaving Shaw and Quinn trailing in his wake. His shot beats Hedman but crashes against the bar and rebounds away to safety for Coventry.
53 - Hartson BOOKED for foul on Schemmel.
58 - Thompson BOOKED for foul on Cole.
60 - Di Canio's cross is plucked off the head of Kanoute by Hedman.
61 - Hartson once again receives the ball with his back to goal and turns Tihinen, but Pearce intercepts before he can get his shot in.
65 - Di Canio's corner is flicked on by Tihinen but cleared by Carsley on the line with the crowd claiming that the ball had already crossed it.
65 - Just moments later, Kanoute's flick-on falls to Tihinen again, but the flying Finn heads over the bar.
68 - Winterburn's clearance bounces free for Kanoute, who scuffs his shot wide under pressure from Breen.
70 - After Cole is hacked down by Breen on the edge of the box, Pearce's screamer flies high over the bar.
71 - Cole BOOKED for foul on Hall.
76 - Schemmel's cross is met by Cole, who volleys too high.
77 - SUBSTITUTION for Coventry City. Chippo replaces Carsley.
78 - Kanoute races away from Breen but sees his shot deflected behind. The referee amazingly awards a goal-kick.
79 - Di Canio BOOKED for dissent. (Misses Bradford away match due to five bookings)
80 - Hartson volleys Bellamy's lay-off wide of the target.
83 - GOAL! Lampard's brilliant vision releases the energetic Winterburn on the left and his cross evades the mass of legs in the six-yard box before Cole sidefoots home at the far post.
85 - Eustace BOOKED for foul on Cole.
87 - Di Canio chips a cross into Kanoute, who fails to connect properly with his header.
88 - SUBSTITUTION for Coventry City. Bothroyd replaces Quinn.
89 - GOAL. Disaster in the closing moments as a deep free-kick is headed into his own net by Dailly.
90 - SUBSTITUTION for Coventry City. Edworthy replaces Bellamy.
90 - Hartson darts between Tihinen and Pearce on the edge of the box before crashing to the ground on the 18-yard line and landing inside the area. A definite free-kick, but referee Gallagher waves play on to the fury of the former Hammer.
FULL-TIME: West Ham United 1 Coventry City 1.