Matt's Delight

Matthew Etherington says he is delighted Christian Dailly 'upstaged' him by scoring the second goal against Ipswich on Tuesday evening.

Hammer of the year Matthew, who scored the first goal in the 2-0 win, says of his captain:

"I think he deserves that; he came under a little bit of criticism from the fans earlier on in the season but since then he has been awesome, absolutely brilliant at the back for us.

"Him and Andy Melville have been fantastic at the back for us and I am glad Christian got the winner."

Christian typically shrugged off the 'stick' he got after his own goal at Millwall - when he played the next home game against Gillingham - with typical class and dignity, and Matthew acknowledges the fact.

"The fans have their own right and that is their opinion but Christian came up with the winner tonight so it is great," he says.

As for his general thoughts on the win over Ipswich, he says:

"I feel over the moon and it has been a great night; I am absolutely delighted - but, of course, the job isn't done yet and there are 90 minutes left to play, so we will see how it goes.

"We are not thinking negatively so and we have every chance now.

"We thought we needed an early goal, but we didn't get that.

"The manager said to us to keep going, and we were much the better side - although they came into it at the end of the second half.

"After that, we dominated the game in the second half and the goal came at the right time - we stayed patient and I think the goal came at a good moment.

"There was a lot of pressure on us, and there was the expectancy from the fans, which was awesome as well, so it has been a good night."

It has oft been said this season that the level of anticipation at Upton Park has worked against the side and Matthew admits that against Ipswich it went the other way.

"It worked for us, without a shadow of a doubt," he says, "and we know what they expect now, so we are getting more and more acclimatised to that and everyone is delighted."

Of his goal, from a well worked short corner, which set West Ham on their way, he adds:

"I don't think I will score many more like those, but as soon as I had hit it I knew it was in; it was a great strike but I don't remember much more than that.

"I always have to go to the corners when Michael takes them that side to give it the two on one.

"Magilton didn't think he was going to give it to me so he has gone back in the box, and Westlake has stayed next to Michael, so I was on - I just took a touch with my feet and hoped for the best.

"I have caught it really well so I am delighted."

There had been an opportunity to do much the same just before but Mattie says:

"The fans were saying to us 'put it in the box' and we listened to them - but after that we did it the other way."

The goal was just what was needed after the frustrations of the first half and Mattie adds:

"We felt we could go on and win it from there, as we were dominant, and creating chances left right and centre - only one side was going to win it from there.

"We know we needed to do that to get a place in the playoffs, but now we are 90 minutes away from the Premiership - and that is where we wanted to be."

The players will now relax for a day or two before resuming preparations for Cardiff and Mattie reveals:

"We will get a couple of days off to enjoy the night and resharpen the batteries, so to speak, then we will be back in on Friday and looking forward to next week."

And a word on the 34,002 fans - albeit 5220 from Ipswich?

"The fans were absolutely awesome - unbelievable."

And, despite reported comments from him on life in the Premiership with West Ham, he insists:

"You can't think about that - you just have to get there first..."

Christian Dailly, the modest Scotsman who did the upstaging, was keen to support the supporters - despite the fact that some of them gave him a whole heap of criticism following the Millwall game not so long ago.

"I thought the supporters were great," he smiles, "and that spurred us on."

Of his winning goal, he adds:

"When the ball bounced up I was caught in the stomach - that winded me, and I hardly had the strength to kick the ball, especially on my left foot - but it went in."