Zamora's Special Night

BOBBY Zamora was the hero of West Ham United's 2-0 win at Portman Road that has sealed Hammers place in the Play-off Final.

His two goals were the difference between the sides on the night, and his second was worthy of gracing any top-flight game. The 24-year-old striker has overcome some lean spells this season and not many could begrudge him his night of glory as the Hammers travelling faithful hailed him as their hero.

As he emerged from the victorious away dressing-room after the game the striker could not hide his delight.

"What a night," he exclaimed. "It's buzzing in the dressing-room, the atmosphere in there is just fantastic. Everything was right on the night. The fans were brilliant and you couldn't fault anyone's performance. It's a terrific night for the Club.

"Portman Road is a really difficult place to come. Their crowd were up for it and in the first-half they really came at us. But we did really well to hold them until half-time, then in the second-half we started to come out and play a bit of our own.

"Most importantly, we knew that we had to keep it tight, because Ipswich are good enough going forward to punish you if you don't. But we stayed really strong, kept our heads and I'm just delighted to have come up with the goals that got us to the Final.

"It's been a while coming for me to be honest, but I'm thrilled for the fans and everyone connetced with the Club."

Bobby bagged goals 11 and 12 of the season to book West Ham's place at the Millennium Stadium and he could be rightly delighted with his performance. But he was also quick to share the glory with strike partner Marlon Harewood, who laid on both goals.

"They were two great balls from Mazza," he enthused. "He was terrific and his pass for the second was unbelievable. It dropped right onto my foot and I was just pleased to finish it off.

"It's a special moment, particularly as I had a lot of friends at the game. I'm a local boy and I've been a fan of the Club since I was young. That makes it all the more tougher to take when things are going badly. but it makes the feeling twice as good on night's like the one at Portman Road."

Bobby was part of the side that faced disappointment at the Millennium Stadium last season. And he admitted that the memory of that defeat made the win over Ipswich even more pleasing.

"That was really painful for us and this season we've been determined to get over that," he said. "It's been difficult at times and it's been tougher to forget than maybe we thought.

"But we came into the second leg knowing what we had to do. It was win or the season was over and the lads all responded.

"We've enjoyed the big occasions this season and we knew that we could do it against Ipswich. Some people were writing us off after the first leg, but we hit back at them in the perfect way.

"The squad have been through a lot this season and faced up to a lot of criticism. That made the night at Ipswich even more special."