Woody overwhelmed by support

Andy Woodman admitted he was overwhelmed by the support he received from Alan Curbishley, the players and the West Ham United fans at his benefit match last night.

Hammers' Youth Academy goalkeeping coach teamed up with his former Northampton Town team-mates from their 1997 Play-Off final triumph - plus good friend Gareth Southgate, for an entertaining evening of football against a strong West Ham United side in front of a crowd of more than 5,000 at the Sixfields Stadium.

"It was a fabulous night," said Woody. "All I can say is thank you to Alan Curbishley, the staff and the players for their support on the night, and a thank you isn't really enough to be honest.

"After such a long and hard season, I'm sure the last thing they wanted to do was come down here on a Tuesday night, and I am extremely grateful for everything they have done.

"The West Ham supporters were of course fantastic, we knew they would turn up because they follow the club everywhere, and all in all it was a top night. I was overwhelmed by the support of everyone who attended."

Although the evening ended in a 4-1 defeat for the veteran Northampton favourites, Woody rounded off his own personal occasion with an expertly-taken penalty five minutes into the second half - awarded after Lee Bowyer had 'accidentally' handled in the area…just as Northampton's substitute goalkeeper was waiting to come on.

After sprinting forward to slam the spot-kick past a stranded Jimmy Walker, Woody immediately left the field to a standing ovation.

"To be honest, it was a case of either me or Gareth Southgate taking the penalty, and we needed a goal, so I took it!" joked Woody. "And I tell you, Jimmy Walker was absolutely desperate to save it, but I gave him no chance!