Post Match Comments
Match ReportSaturday 5th May 2001
Referee: Clive Wilkes WEST HAM3 Cole 59, Di Canio 69, Kanoute 90SOUTHAMPTON0HISLOPSONGFOXESTIMACS.PEARCEDAILLYCOLECARRICKDI CANIOTODOROVKANOUTESubs: BYWATERSCHEMMEL 71 DIAWARA POTTSBASSILA 51 JONES DODDLUNDEKVAMRICHARDSOAKLEYBRIDGEMARSDENDAVIESKACHLOULBEATTIEPAHARSSubs: MOSSBENALI LE TISSIER 77 TESSEM 84ROSLER 68 84 If Harry Redknapp still has doubts about how he can accomodate both Joe Cole and Paolo Di Canio in his team next season, there was plenty of proof in this 3-0 victory over Southampton that players of genuine class can excel in any formation.
It was Cole, asked to play on the right side of midfield, who popped up inside the box to fire Hammers into the lead on 59 minutes and the point that West Ham needed to finally banish any lingering relegation fears was secured 10 minutes later when Di Canio wriggled in from the right, dropped his shoulder to send the Saints defence off balance and rolled the ball into the net.
Two delightful pieces of skill from Hammers most gifted players as West Ham took complete control in the second half. Cole was everywhere, chasing, harrying and showing he has the determination to match his undoubted skill.
Just a minute after Di Canio's scoring party-piece, the England midfielder fooled Saints again when he performed a step-over before blazing a low left-foot shot that Jones did well to save.
Di Canio was also on fire in the second half, conjuring tricks and flicks to delight the 26,041 crowd, many of them supporting the new Fila home shirt, worn by the team for the first time today.
Although Cole and Di Canio were unmarkable in a thrilling second 45 minutes, others also had their moments. Svetoslav Todorov, starting his first game for the club, played a key role in both of the first two goals, with clever back-heeled passes before being substituted for Sebastien Schemmel.
Michael Carrick, who had Hammers' only shot of note in a poor first half, saw another rasping drive fly just inches wide, while the other sub Christian Bassila, made an impact driving forward from midfield.
Todorov played up front alongside Fredi Kanoute, who struggled to do much against Saints central defenders Richards and Lundekvam, but he kept battling and finally got his reward with a headed goal from Di Canio's pin-point chip in the fourth minute added time at the end of the game.
The scoreline was perhaps harsh on Southampton, who showed plenty of enterprise in the first half. They played with three up at times and could have scored three or four times before the break, but a poor header in front of goal from Beattie and a couple of agile saves from Hislop kept the game goalless.
Kevin Davies also missed possibly the easiest chance of the game in the opening minutes of the second half with Hislop stranded.
At least the Hammers can now travel to Middlesbrough in two weeks time free of tension and relegation worries, although it looks doubtful that Igor Stimac will make it, after the Croatian defender became the latest casualty on the Upton Park injury list when he seemed to jar his back after slipping on the turf.
Looking much more at ease than in recent weeks, Harry Redknapp admitted afterwards: "It was a big game for us today, we needed a win and we looked a much more settled team once the first goal went in.
"It's amazing what tension does to you. The crowd gets edgy - which I can understand - and it gets through to the players.
"We didn't settle and play in the first half and I just said to them at half-time 'Go out and play as you can.'
"I thought Todorov did well and at £500,000 he looks like he could be good value. It's also a boost to know that Stuart Pearce is signing for another year. Where do you find people like him? He is a fantastic competitor and I'm glad to have him here."
Turning his attention to the final game of the season at Middlesbrough on May 19, Harry dismissed the possibility of playing an experimental team if Manchester City manage to win at Ipswich on Monday night and
H said: "We are duty bound to go to Middlesbrough and pick a team to win the game if City are still in with a shout. It wouldn't be fair to Joe Royle to do otherwise. We all owe it to each other to field our best sides at this crucial stage of the season, but if City lose on Monday night, I may look to change one or two."
Looking at the bigger picture, Harry admitted: "It's going to be tough next year - you only have to look at the teams coming up and the money that they are going to spend. We need to get a couple of quality players in the summer and get back up to where we belong next season."
2 - Di Canio skips down the left and chips a ball onto the chest of Carrick, who plays a neat one-two with Todorov on the edge of the box and fires a stinging low half-volley straight at Jones.
4 - The run of Kachloul isn't picked up by Song or Stimac, who are caught ball-watching as a free-kick is floated in. Song manages to clear but only as far as Marsden, whose left-foot volley goes just wide of the far post.
5 - Davies latches on to a pass on the right-hand side of the area and fires in a first-time shot that Hislop does well to hold.
6 - Todorov's flick-on is collected by Kanoute, who turns Lundekvam before getting in a shot that is deflected away for a corner.
7 - Pearce's inswinging corner drops near enough under the crossbar but Kanoute fails to get the touch to knock it in and Jones clears.
>8 - Davies tricks Pearce on the right and whips in a cross that lands on the head of the unmarked Beattie just six yards out. Somehow though, the Saints striker's header flies high over the bar.
12 - Lundekvam BOOKED for foul on Kanoute.
15 - After Foxe is harshly adjudged to have fouled Pahars, Kachloul's deep free-kick from the left is headed back across goal by Davies to the Latvian striker, whose header from close range is superbly palmed away by Hislop.
19 - Carrick's inch-perfect pass releases Kanoute on the left but the Frenchman's dangerous cross is cleared by Richards.
20 - Todorov's clever reverse pass finds Kanoute, but Fredi scuffs his shot into the arms of Jones.
24 - Foxe's misplaced pass falls to Davies 30 yards out, but his shot sails over the bar.
33 - Pearce BOOKED for foul on Davies.
34 - Davies BOOKED for foul on Stimac.
40 - Beattie gets in behind Stimac to meet Dodd's pass and as the Croatian defender attempts to recover, Beattie falls to the ground six yards out. Referee Wilkes waves away the visitors' appeal for a penalty.
43 - Pearce's free-kick is cleared to the edge of the area, where Cole is waiting to fire a left-foot shot that flies well wide.
Added time: 2 minutes.
Half-time: West Ham 0 Southampton 0.
46 - Kachoul's free-kick once again causes panic in the Hammers defence as Hislop hesitates before coming out too late and thankfully sees Davies head over the bar.
48 - While running up to the Southampton area in preparation for a free-kick, Stimac collides with Davies and slips, jarring his back as he falls. After laying motionless for three minutes, a stretcher is brought on to carry the injured defender from the field.
51 - Substitution for West Ham, Bassila replaces Stimac.
53 - A chance for the Hammers as Kanoute races away on the break, but with Di Canio, Todorov and Cole supporting him, the Frenchman is spoilt for choice and lays a feeble pass into the area that is cleared by Bridge.
55 - Davies eludes the challenge of Dailly and is then fouled by Foxe but manages to lay the ball into the path of Pahars, who skips into the box on the left and hits a shot across goal that just drifts past the far post. Foxe BOOKED for foul on Davies.
59 - GOAL! After losing possession on the right, Kanoute wins the ball back and lays a pass into Todorov, whose instant backheel falls perfectly into the path of Cole. The England youngster fires a blistering right-foot shot past Jones to give Hammers the vital breakthrough. West Ham 1 Southampton 0.
67 - Foxe's clearance hits Pahars and rebounds into the path of Kachloul, who bears down on goal but is thwarted by a magnificent last-ditch tackle from Song.
68 - Substitution for Southampton, Rosler replaces Kachloul.
69 - GOAL! West Ham's Premiership survival is virtually guaranteed as Todorov is again the provider with a clever backheel that finds Di Canio in the area. The Italian magician skips past two defenders, dummies a third and slots the ball under Jones. West Ham 2 Southampton 0.
70 - Cole collects the ball on the edge of the box, beats two defenders with a simple step-over, and fires a left-foot shot that Jones holds well.
71 - Substitution for West Ham, Schemmel replaces Todorov.
75 - Bridge's short free-kick finds Pahars, who slices his shot to the edge of the box, where Marsden fires a left-footed effort wide.
76 - Cole wriggles into the box but is blocked by a defender. The ball falls to Carrick, who controls before unleashing a fierce shot that Jones parries. Di Canio nets the loose ball, but was adjudged to have been offside when Carrick shot.
77 - Substitution for Southampton, Le Tissier replaces Pahars.
78 - Le Tissier floats in a cross that Rosler meets with his head, Hislop palms the ball on to the bar and Dailly clears. Foxe collects and advances forward before finding Di Canio with a pass that the Italian knocks on to Schemmel. The Frenchman's chipped effort is far too weak though.
84 - Substitution for Southampton, Tessem replaces Rosler.
86 - Carrick's thunderbolt from 25 yards out whistles just past the post.
89 - Di Canio nicks the ball off Richards on the right and finds Schemmel with an intelligent flick. Schemmel cuts the ball back to his fellow countryman Kanoute, whose shot is blocked by Jones.
Added time: 4 minutes.
90 - GOAL! After Kanoute is fouled, Di Canio curls in a free-kick that the Frenchman meets perfectly to head into the corner and put the seal on a convincing performance that ensures the Hammers can look forward to next season with renewed optimism. West Ham 3 Southampton 0.
Full-time: West Ham 3 Southampton 0.