Matty's Back

AT half-time against Coventry City Alan Pardew introduced winger Matty Etherington with simple instructions to change the game for West Ham United.

Change it he did. The 24-year-old had a hand in each of the three Hammers goals and turned in a blistering display on the left of midfield. It was a timely return to form for Matty, who has seen his season interrupted by two groin operations.

But the midfielder was far more delighted with three vital points against the Sky Blues and insists the Hammers must keep the momentum going against Millwall this weekend.

"The result against Coventry was massive," he enthused. "We've been on good runs before this season and not carried it on. Now is really the time when we need to capitalise on our good form and put together a strong run of results.

"Coventry was always going to be an important game coming off the back of two away wins. I think we felt the pressure a bit in the first-half. We were playing with plenty of confidence, we just needed to create a few more telling chances.

"I was pleased with the way I did in the second-half. It's been a couple of games sitting on the bench for me and it was great to do well and show people what I can do.

"Having a hand in every goal capped off a good day really, but the main thing was the win. The other results didn't really go for us, but all we can do is concentrate on winning our games, because sooner or later we'll get our chance to move back into the Play-off places. When it comes along we've got to make sure we're in a position to take it."

Matty's cross was the catalyst for an own goal by Coventry defender Richard Shaw, and a similar centre set-up Bobby Zamora to make it 3-0. Sandwiched in between was a jinking run that provoked Richard Duffy's clumsy challenge just inside the box, and Matty had no doubts about the decision.

"As far as I'm concerned it was definitely a penalty," he insisted. "I cut inside, he has lunged in and caught me and the referee was well placed to give it.

"Coventry did well and either side of half-time Jimmy Walker had to make two good saves to keep them out. But we created a lot, especially in the second-half, and it was good to not only get the win but also get a few goals on the board for the fans.

"Their support, home and away, has been absolutely tremendous this season and we really owe them to finish well and make sure we're in the Play-offs."


Matty Etherington is the reigning Hammer of the Year, but who will get your vote for 2005. Click here to register your vote!