Hammers Leave Sweden In Style

A BRACE from Czech striker Petr Mikolanda ensured West Ham United ended their pre-season tour of Sweden on a high, with an own goal adding to the scoreline in a 3-0 win over Västra Frölunda.

The final friendly of Hammers pre-season tour was more like a home game for Alan Pardew's squad, as they made the short trip from their hotel to the local Tingbergsvallen Stadium in the town of Kungsbacka.

Their opposition had marginally further to travel, Swedish First Division side Västra Frölunda IF making the 15 minute journey from Gothenburg for this game on a rain-lashed evening.

Hammers opponents arrived in form though, having won 3-0 just two days previously as the Swedish League kicked-off again after its mid-season break.

Despite initial speculation that he would start trialist Juarj Bucek in goal, Pards handed Northern Ireland international Roy Carroll his West Ham United debut, while Malky Mackay earned his first appearance of the pre-season campaign after recovering from injury.

After two successive wins in Sweden Hammers did not take long to get into their stride, Luke Chadwick crossing from the left to find Carl Fletcher, but his touch could only deflect the ball into the grateful arms of Anders Holmberg in the Västra goal.

With 10 minutes gone Carroll was called into action for the first time in a Hammers shirt, comfortably parrying Calle Rendahl's drive.

A neat through-ball from Tomas Repka just failed to find Harewood with quarter of an hour played, but it was the treatment of the Hammers striker by defender Erkan Saglik that was causing the West Ham bench some concern, after Marlon took two heavy hits.

On the half hour mark Elliott Ward got his own back in a spicy start to the game with a crunching tackle from behind that earned the centre-half a yellow card.

Teddy Sheringham then responded in a manner more befitting Hammers Premiership status. A raid down the left saw Paul Konchesky cross to the feet of the England forward, who turned his marker with sublime ease before executing a deft lob that had the crowd holding its breath before dipping just the wrong side of the bar.

Harewood, sliding in at the far post, should have made contact with another Konchesky cross soon after, but despite their dominance Hammers were struggling to find a way through the Västra defence.

Pure muscle saw Harewood break the Swedish rearguard on 42 minutes, Marlon steam-rollering through on goal but hitting his low shot straight at Holmberg, who made a smart block to keep the team's deadlocked at the break.

HT: 0-0

Pards made a trio of substitutions at half-time, Shaun Newton, Hayden Mullins and trialist Petr Mikolanda coming on for Repka, Dailly and Sheringham.

But it was Västra who looked the sharper at the start of the second-half, and they might have scored when Henning Come turned Ward, before pulling his shot across Carroll's goal and wide.

Hammers debutant goalkeeper survived a scare on 49 minutes when Arash Bajat's shot crept under his body, but the former Manchester United star recovered to snatch the ball up on his goal-line.

The fright obviously inspired Alan Pardew's men because two minutes later they were in front. It was the simplest, but most effective, of corner routines - Gavin Williams' set-piece arriving on the head of substitute Mikolanda who rose to power a header into the top right-hand corner of the net.

As Västra fought back, Carroll did well to rush from his line and smother the ball under pressure from Bajat. The goalkeeper then received a warm ovation as he left the field on the hour to make way for Bucek. Danny Gabbidon was also introduced in place of Konchesky.

Harewood and Mikolanda both went close soon after, their misses perhaps excusable by the dramatically fading light on a gloomy evening in Kungsbacka and the lack of floodlighting at Tingbergsvallen.

As Hammers began to dominate the game Fletcher was desperately unlucky not to score on 73 minutes. Williams picked him out with an inch perfect cross, but the midfielder's downward header was miraculously flicked onto the inside of the post by Holmberg's outstretched leg and the ball ran away to safety.

Now in total charge, James Collins was introduced as a forward in place of Harewood.
But it was the arrival of Anton Ferdinand for Luke Chadwick on 83 minutes that unlocked the Västra defence for a second time. He drove to the by-line and crossed for Mikolanda, who gave Alan Pardew plenty to mull over on the flight home, firing in off the post to make it 2-0.

It was a similar combination that rounded off a fine 3-0 victory for Alan Pardew's men deep into stoppage time. Ferdinand again raided down the right before delivering a low, near-post cross that had Mikolanda arriving, but it was Västra defender Mohammed Ali Khan that got the final touch.

The whistle blew moments later to bring the curtain down on a successful tour of Sweden for the Hammers that has produced three wins out of three, nine goals and some excellent progress from Alan Pardew's squad.


Carroll (Bucek 60); Repka (Newton 45), Konchesky (Gabbidon 60), Ward, Mackay, Fletcher, Dailly (Mullins 45), Williams, Chadwick (Ferdinand 83), Harewood (Collins 76), Sheringham (Mikolanda 45). Subs unused: Reo-Coker, Etherington, Zamora.

Attendance: 812