West Ham United v Middlesbrough
Barclays Premier League
The Boleyn Ground
Sunday 24 May 2009
Referee: Howard Webb
Final score - West Ham United 2-1 Middlesbrough
It is all over at the Boleyn Ground as the Hammers have ended their season with a win. Middlesbrough battled bravely but West Ham United, back by some strong support from their fans and some fine performances from the likes of Stanislas and Boa Morte. Now we await the result of Hammer of the Year.
90 min - Full time.
89 min - There will be four minutes of injury time to be played.
85 min - It is all West Ham here as Boro appear to have accepted their fate. Can the Hammers get the couple of goals needed to catch Tottenham, who are losing 3-1 at Liverpool.
81 min - Southgate makes his final change with Emnes leaving the field and Jonathan Franks coming on.
76 min - The game looks up for Middlesbrough in the league but you cannot fault their players' efforts here. Having said that, the Hammers seem in total control now and are seeing all of the possession.
71 min - Green comes out to punch away a Middlesbrough free-kick. The ball falls favourably for the Hammers, who break away once more with Boa Morte's cross towards Tristan only slightly too close to Jones. Zola makes his final change by bringing on Di Michele for Collison.
67 min - The game has settled once more and Gareth Southgate's men are forcing their way back into the game once more. The West Ham defence, superbly supported by Boa Morte among others have remained resolute.
64 min - Dyer is fouled on the far side and the stoppage allows Zola to make the change, with Tristan replacing Cole. The departing player receives one of the loudest farewells I have heard from the Boleyn crowd, who are in fine voice today.
61 min - Great work from Boa Morte sets West Ham on a counter attack. Cole picks the ball up from the No13 and plays it into the path of Dyer, who is just crowded out at the last moment. It looks as though Diego Tristan is going to come on.
58 min - GOAL! Stanislas gets the goal he deserves as West Ham go back in front. A neat passing move see Collison collect the ball on the left and lay it off to the 19-year-old, who drills in a low shot that Jones can only palm into the net.
56 min - The half has been nearly all Middlesbrough but the Hammers trying to force their way back in to the game. A Stanislas run and through-ball nearly puts Cole in, but the ball is deflected wide for a corner. Better from the home side.
54 min - West Ham are forced into making a change as Mark Noble has picked up a knock. The midfielder leaves the field to thunderous applause and is replaced by Kieron Dyer.
53 min - GOAL! Middlesbrough get themselves back in the game and perhaps throw themselves a Premier League lifeline. Tuncay evaded three tackles in the area before teeing up Gary O'Neil, who shot with the outside of his right foot into the far corner of the net.
48 min - The Boleyn Ground is nearly at capacity today and that is despite Boro only bringing 1200 fans with them. 34,007 are present.
46 min - We're underway in the second half. Gareth Southgate used the interval to make two changes - Julio Arca and Tony McMahon have gone off with Josh Walker and Joe Bennett replacing them.
Half-time - A good first half from Zola's side as they look to overtake Tottenham Hotspur in eighth position. The North London club are a goal behind at Liverpool, but the Hammers need a couple more in the second half if they are to catch them.
45 min - Four minutes of added time will be played. Emnes tries to emulate what Tuncay did last weekend with an overhead kick but only manages to knock the ball straight to Neill, who clears.
44 min - Boro have another corner as Kovac does well to head clear. The Teesiders are certainly not giving up just yet.
43 min - Corner to the visitors they look to restore parity just before the break. The corner is played short but Cole deals with the cross.
38 min - Kovac tries another long-range shot, but this time with his left foot. It flies two feet wide of the target, though.
37 min - To be fair to the Boro fans they are still all on their feet singing despite their position looking even more serious.
34 min - GOAL! Cole gives West Ham the lead. A good move down the left involving Boa Morte and Ilunga sees the left back in space on the touchline. He crosses low along the floor and the ball eventually finds its way to the England international, who makes no mistake for his 12th goal of the season.
33 min - Marvin Emnes, tries a speculative shot from just outside the area which never looks like it was going to trouble Green.
31 min - David Di Michele, Savio and Walter Lopez are limbering up on the touchline in the new, light blue training top.
28 min - Stanislas seems to be the only name I'm writing at the moment but he is involved with everything. This time, Cole heads the ball into his path at the edge of the area but the 19-year-old slices his shot well wide.
25 min - Stanislas goes on another sprint up the wing and it takes two Middlesbrough players to stop him, albeit with the slight help of a pull on his shirt.
20 min - So close! Stanislas - who has looked full of energy so far - fires in a shot that loops off David Wheater and against the post. A real let off for Boro there.
18 min - West Ham get their first shot in on goal after Cole lays the ball off to Kovac. The Czech international lets fly but it goes straight into Brad Jones' arms.
15 min - Free-kick to West Ham 30 yards out after Cole is fouled. Noble whips it in but it the danger is cleared. Gareth Southgate is up out of his seat to urge his players on.
12 min - Carlton Cole is certainly making his presence felt up front. He has been holding the ball up well and winning plenty of headers for Stanislas and Boa Morte to chase.
11 min - The Boro fans in the far corner are making plenty of noise and certainly do not seem to have given hope just yet.
9 min - Luis Boa Morte crunches into a tackle on the far side and wins the ball back for the Hammers. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Manchester City are beating Portsmouth 1-0.
6 min - Gianfranco Zola is at the edge of his technical area. keeping a close eye on proceedings. The benches are in the half of the pitch in the shade, while the other half bask in glorious sunshine.
5 min - First touch of the day for Spector, who, as expected, is filling in at right-back with Neill moving inside.
3 min - First shot of the day is from Adam Johnson, but he probably will not want to see it again as his attempted left-footed volley flies high into the crowd behind Robert Green's goal.
2 min - Nice trick from Junior Stanislas wins him a free-kick near the halfway line.
1 min - There is a wall of noise from the Bobby Moore stand as Middlesbrough kick-off.
3.59pm - Jeremy Nicholas goes through the teams one last time. He was replaced by a temporary stand-in 20 minutes before kick-off as PDC darts referee Russ 'The Voice' Bray lived out a childhood dream by announcing the Hammers lineup.
3.56pm - 'Bubbles' is playing loud over the PA system and that can mean only one thing - here come the two teams. Today's rendition is particularly rousing, I must say. At the same time, a bubble machine sends the real thing floating across the tunnel entrance. Middlesbrough's 1,200 fans give their team a cheer. It's going to be a tough afternoon for two sets of supporters, but will they be one of them?
3.50pm - Ten minutes to go until the final fixture of the season begins. West Ham have named an attacking lineup on what is a beautiful late Spring day in east London. There is hardly a cloud in the sky, but the same can hardly be said for Middlesbrough's Barclays Premier League future. Boro need to win at the Boleyn Ground and hope both Newcastle United and Hull City come unstuck against Aston Villa and Manchester United respectively. At the same time, Boro need to overturn a five-goal deficit to leapfrog Hull and finish 17th.
West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola has made three changes to his team for the Hammers' final Barclays Premier League fixture of the 2008/09 season.
Diego Tristan and David Di Michele have both been dropped from the starting lineup, with Junior Stanislas and Jack Collison replacing them in an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation. In defence, the suspended James Tomkins, who is serving a one-match ban after being sent-off at Everton a week ago, has been replaced by Jonathan Spector.
Spector will play at right-back, with captain Lucas Neill moving to centre-back.
West Ham United: Green, Spector, Neill, Upson, Ilunga, Kovac, Noble (Dyer 54), Collison (Di Michele 71), Boa Morte Stanislas, Cole (Tristan 64)
Subs: Lastuvka, Lopez, Payne, Savio
Middlesbrough: Jones, McMahon (Bennett 46), Wheater, Huth, Hoyte, O'Neil, Adam Johnson, Bates, Arca (Walker 46), Sanli, Emnes (Franks 81)
Subs: Turnbull, Shawky, Grounds, Williams