West Ham V Ipswich

Post Match Comments
Audio Match ReportSaturday 17th March 2001
Upton Park
Referee: M Dean

MAGILTONREUSERSTEWARTARMSTRONGSubs:BRANAGANVENUSCLAPHAM 74NABILABIDALLAHBURCHILL 89The gloom will take some time to lift from Upton Park after a second home defeat in six days - this time to an impressive Ipswich Town side that had lost its previous five away league games and had not won a point away since December.

It was a 1-0 victory the Premiership's third-placed team thoroughly deserved for dominating long periods of a match that provided few highlights but plenty of groans from the home fans.

Against opponents who passed the ball well, kept possession and its 4-4-2 shape throughout, West Ham created very little of note and did not manage even one shot in the second half.

Hammers' fading hopes of an undeserved equaliser went when Paolo Di Canio was denied what would have been a harshly-awarded penalty in the 85th minute. Michael Carrick sent Di Canio clear on the left beyond Fabian Wilnis, who's lunging leg just seemed to nick the ball away for a corner but Di Canio went to ground.

The Italian, incensed that he didn't get the decision from little-known referee Dean, reacted by wildly booting Richard Wright's post. It was the only way anyone in a claret and blue target shirt was going to hit the target!

Di Canio had gone closest to scoring for West Ham after six minutes, when Nigel Winterburn sent him through inside the box, but his left-foot shot was well-saved by keeper Wright on his six-yard line.

Apart from a couple of ambitious long-range efforts by Stuart Pearce, and another from Carrick, the downbeat Hammers never troubled Ipswich.

There was an inevitable gloom around Upton Park and it had nothing to do with the cold, wet, miserable east London weather. Although Hammers came out fighting and looked up for it, a nervousness soon inhibited them when the openings failed to materialise.

No-one epitomised the edginess of West Ham's performance more than goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, who sliced a couple of clearances to the touchline and drew ironic cheers from the packed stands when he did manage to keep the ball on the pitch.

Manager Harry Redknapp agreed: "Confidence was at an all-time low today. It was a very poor performance, there are no two ways about it. Even when we get beaten here, we always create chances but there was nothing happening today.

"We're entitled to play a lot better than that and were unrecognisable from the side that did so well in beating Man United and Sunderland four or five weeks ago."

Redknapp said he understood the fans "getting edgy" but was unhappy that Carrick was booed near the end after one rare misplaced pass.

He said: "There are some young players out there and Michael's only 19. He makes one bad pass near the end of the game and they get on his back. He's 19 for f***s sake - he doesn't need that."

But Redknapp never had any complaints about Di Canio's penalty appeal. "You can't moan at the ref after a performance like that - you've got to take it on the chops. Ipswich were excellent."

Harry confirmed that Joe Cole - uncharacteristically wearing his shirt tucked-in - was replaced at half-time by John Moncur for tactical reasons. With Svetoslav Todorov also going on for Sebastien Schemmel at the break, H switched from his usual 5-3-2 to a 4-3-3 formation...but the switch made no difference and poor Fredi Kanoute still did not manage a shot in the match.

The only bright spot for the Hammers was the presence of Hayden Foxe - still not fully match-fit - on the substitutes' bench. After finally completing his long-awaited transfer to the club last week, the Australian defender was handed the famous number six shirt - the subject of a campaign by Hammers fans, who want to retire it in honour of Bobby Moore.


6 - Winterburn dispossesses Jermaine Wright and rolls a through-ball to Di Canio but his left foot shot is well saved by Richard Wright, diving low to his left on his six-yard box.

8 - Stewart's near-post flick is blocked in the nick of time by Stuart Pearce on the six-yard line.

18 - Armstrong's lay-off is blasted over the bar by Jermaine Wright from 25 yards.

25 - Stuart Pearce's 35-yard free-kick is comfortably saved by Wright.

36 - Armstrong again sets up Wright, who lets fly with a dipping volley that goes just over Hislop and the bar.

43 - Michael Carrick's low drive goes harmlessly wide.

Added time: 1 minute.

Half time: West Ham 0 Ipswich Town 0.

46 - Double substitution for West Ham. Moncur replaces Cole and Todorov replaces Schemmel.

55 - Stewart gets in front of Winterburn for a free header following Reuser's left-wing cross but guides his header over the bar to waste the best chance of the game so far.

59 - GOAL. Stuart Pearce trips Stewart just inches inside the penalty area but the referee inexplicably awards a free-kick just on the line. But justice is done for Ipswich, as Reuser bends the ball around the wall and inside Hislop's left-hand post.

63 - Reuser's stinging left-foot strike is palmed away by the diving Hislop.

74 - Substitution for Ipswich Town. Clapham replaces Reuser.

85 - Referee Dean turns down a loud penalty appeal by Di Canio, who goes down under Wilnis' challenge.

89 - Substitution for Ipswich Town. Burchill replaces Stewart.

Added time: 2 minutes.

Full-time: West Ham 0 Ipswich Town 1.