A Harsh Result For Hammers

HAMMERS boss Alan Pardew said that his side's 4-2 defeat to Newcastle did not reflect what was a competitive West Ham United performance again highlighted with some excellent football.

A Michael Owen hat-trick and an Alan Shearer strike eventually sunk Hammers, but the claret and blue men were far from second best in their clash with the Magpies.

"The score didn't reflect how we played," stated Alan. "If you look at the scoreline you would have to say maybe we got a bit of a runaround but we played some fantastic stuff.

"Really it was a couple of defensive mistakes and a world-class strike pairing that cost us the game.

"It was hardly a game where Newcastle were in control but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot. The second goal was a silly free-kick for us to give away; for the third we gave the ball away in midfield. As well as we have played we need to cut out things like that.

"But there were some fantastic performances from our players and it was another great game at Upton Park.

"When they got the fourth goal we were chasing hard, we had our defenders up front causing a bit of havoc and we conceded on the break. We will suffer that sometimes but teams know they will have to come here and have to fight right to the end if they're going to get anything from us.

"I don't want to put too much criticism on my players. They had terrific appetite for the game and the way we went about it with a first class attitude. We set out our stall to control the game which I thought we did."

Pards did admit that England striker Owen had made the difference for Newcastle.

"Of course Owen was the difference," he agreed. "Hopefully he will be representing us in the World Cup and I will be cheering him on just like everyone else. But the second goal, and the third, were really disappointing on our part.

"Yossi Benayoun had a slight thigh strain, and that's probably more worrying than the result for us. I thought he was terrific and caused them a lot of problems. I thought he should have had a penalty at one point and if we had made it 2-2 then we could have gone on to win the game."