WATFORD v WEST HAM UNITED
TUESDAY 16 AUGUST 2011
Final score - Watford 0-4 West Ham United
94 mins - That's it. West Ham have won on the road for the second time in four days. That was a fine performance from the Hammers at both the front and the back. They thoroughly deserved their win and scored some fine goals. Big Sam will want more, but as things stand West Ham are up to third in the table ahead of Wednesday's matches. Don't forget to visit whufc.com and watch West Ham TV for exclusive post-match reaction and highlights. It's Leeds next on Sunday - get your tickets here.
93 mins - In all the excitement, I missed how many added minutes we're having. West Ham and their fans are loving this stuff, with the latter singing '4-0 to the Cockney boys'. They look superb, almost filling the stand to my right - all 3,736 of them in a crowd of 14,747!
91 mins - GOAL! PARKER! Just into added-time and O'Brien's pass picks out Piquionne. He feeds Faubert, who feeds Parker. He takes a touch, looks up and curls a low shot into the bottom corner with his left foot. That's a collector's item!
90 mins - Sordell is a good player, but he won't get his goal tonight. A cross is too strong and O'Brien picks up possession...
90 mins - Watford have a corner. Don't make me look an idiot, please! Taylor wins it and Green holds safely above his head.
88 mins - And finally, the last time West Ham kept two clean sheets in successive away league games was at Sunderland and Liverpool in November/December 2008. So there.
87 mins - Stat-time again. The last time West Ham kept two clean sheets in successive away games was at Hartlepool United and Arsenal in January 2009.
86 mins - Nolan is booked for a foul on halfway.
85 mins - Nolan holds his head in disbelief. Piquionne's cross is headed by Taylor and hits a Watford player before dropping to Nolan six yards out. He shoots on the turn, but screws his shot over the top.
85 mins - West Ham last kept two clean sheets in the league in succession in March 2009, when they kept three in-a-row against Manchester City, Wigan Athletic and West Bromwich Albion.
84 mins - Parker nearly puts the icing on the cherry on the cake, or whatever the saying is! He shoots from 35 yards and the ball clears the bar by inches and thuds into the pole holding up the net.
81 mins - Piquionne races down the left and is unceremoniously taken out by Eustace, who is booked. Loach claims Faubert's high free-kick.
78 mins - Deeney is wearing some rather flash yellow boots. Nice. Meanwhile, the away fans call for a wave from Big Sam and the manager obliges. It's been a good few days to be a West Ham supporter. Victory tonight would be back-to-back away wins for the first time since December 2007, and the biggest away win since a 5-0 success at Derby County the preceding month.
75 mins - Collison is off and Faubert is on.
74 mins - A change from Big Sam - Cole off and Piquionne off. Watford replace Yeates with Troy Deeney.
73 mins - Allardyce celebrated that goal with proper gusto, pumping both fists on the touchline and roaring like a lion! Get in there! Meanwhile, Sordell shoots low and Green is there with an easy save.
70 mins - GOAL! That should be that. Nolan slides to shoot and the ball hits a defender and runs into the path of the on-rushing Ilunga. He cuts it back and Cole is there to tap in from six yards.
69 mins - The Hornets are carrying more of a threat as I said, but they can't find a clear chance. Forsyth comes in off the left flank to try to get something going. He shoots but it's weak and easy for Green low down.
68 mins - Tomkins is coming off. He is limping slightly as he makes his way to the touchline to be replaced by Abdoulaye Faye. This is Faye's debut, of course!
67 mins - West Ham have just lost their way a little bit here and Watford have got a bit of a head of steam up. A cross from the right is headed clear by Tomkins from inside his own six-yard box. The Hammers need a spell of possession inside their opponent's half.
62 mins - Watford have not created much in the last few minutes. Doyley lifts a high diagonal ball into the box, it is headed down but Green is quick off his line to claim.
59 mins - West Ham are playing the better football here and the away fans are enjoying it. A few 'Oles' from the travelling supporters as Noble, Parker and Tomkins combine to get the ball safely back to Green.
56 mins - Chris Iwelumo is replaced by No27 Gavin Massey.
55 mins - Taylor lets out a cry of frustration. He had got in behind Doyley but his cross for Collison is too close to Loach, who catches in front of his face. West Ham looking strong here and are pushing for a third goal.
53 mins - Cole does well wide left before Ilunga finds Taylor. He looks up, but his cross for Collison hits Doyley and goes behind. Taylor crosses and the ball hits Tomkins on the head and nearly falls for Reid, but Watford scramble it away.
51 mins - West Ham come forward through Parker but his pass for Cole is cut out. Parker wins it back and Noble works it wide left to Ilunga, but his stabbed cross flicks off the head of Mariappa into the arms of Loach.
49 mins - The crowd is announced as 14,747. Among them are an outstanding 3,736 West Ham fans. Superb following. The dangerous Sordell nearly silences the travelling hordes by shooting low and hard. Green gets his body in the way and the ball spins behind for a corner. The delivery comes over from the Watford left and Nolan clears.
46 mins - Tomkins concedes a throw, Dickinson hurls it in and O'Brien clears for another throw. The left-back hurls it over again but the ball hits a Watford player and rolls harmlessly behind for a goal kick.
46 mins - Taylor and Parker get the game back up and running and a suddenly fairly dark Vicarage Road.
That's Joey O'Brien's first goal since he netted for Sheffield Wednesday against Swindon in League One on 8 January 2005!! He was 18 then, and he's now 25! It's also the third of his senior career as he also netted for the Owls against Hull on 8 December 2004.
Half-time score - Watford 0-2 West Ham United
48 mins - After about 30 seconds more, referee Mr Whitestone blows for half-time. Well, 2-0 to the good and two fantastic goals. I doubt Sam Allardyce would ask for more than this, but then again he is a hard task-master and he will demand more from his players after the break.
47 mins - GOAL! WHAT A GOAL! Joey O'Brien picks up the ball on halfway and runs at the Watford defence, taking on about five defenders before slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner with his left foot.
46 mins - Into the one minute of added-time... Taylor crosses and Iwelumo heads clear.
45 mins - Noble breaks up a Watford attack before Parker slides in Cole. Taylor sticks with him and Loach comes out to make a great save low to his left. Corner.
44 mins - Cole is penalised and Parker picks the ball up. Forsyth doesn't like it and the two have a bit of a disagreement before the referee and Nolan split it up. Referee Dean Whitestone has a word with both players.
43 mins - Collison wins a corner down the right off Dickinson. Taylor can deliver with pace and quality. Can Tomkins net another one? He can't, but Collison could have done, but his header from Parker's cross loops high and lands on top of the net.
41 mins - That is fantastic football - perhaps the best spell of the season. Nolan, Collison and O'Brien are involved before Noble curls over a cross that is just too high for Cole.
38 mins - Nolan and Taylor combine superbly down the left and the latter is away. He sends a deep cross over the head of Dickinson, but Collison chooses to shoot first-time from a ridiculous angle. The ball flies well over the top and behind for a goal kick.
34 mins - Watford have another corner - their fourth - as Ilunga slices the ball behind. The corner comes into the near post where Iwelumo and Cole dive for the ball. Iwelumo wins it, but his header is kept out by Green low down. Cole needs the physio on after that one.
32 mins - Watford are certainly looking threatening here themselves. West Ham are struggling to keep possession for long periods. Ilunga has to be alert to block Sordell's shot behind. Cole heads the corner clear, but the Hornets pick up the ball again. Sordell is there again, cutting in from the right and shooting, but his low effort is easy for Green diving low to his left.
29 mins - Sordell shows some serious pace to leave Parker behind and then drives past Tomkins before cutting the ball back - behind Iwelumo! Ilunga clears his lines. Watford come again, but O'Brien is in the right place to volley powerfully upfield.
28 mins - The visiting supporters are making plenty of noise. Meanwhile, Faye and Piquionne are out for a stretch on the touchline in front of us.
25 mins - Green's long pass causes havoc and Cole forces a corner. Tomkins wins it, then Nolan hooks the ball back into the box, Cole flicks on and Reid should score, but his effort slides wide of the post. Massive 'Ooooh' from the away fans.
24 mins - Yeates is a tricky customer and the former Colchester and Middlesbrough man loses Noble before crossing from the left, but Green is there again to claim the high ball.
22 mins - Cristian Montano makes his first league start for Notts County tonight, but the Magpies are 1-0 down at home to Tranmere Rovers in League One. Olly Lee is also in action for Dagenham & Redbridge at home to Paolo Di Canio's Swindon Town. That one is goalless.
20 mins - Faubert and Barrera are out to warm-up on the touchline as Tomkins deals with two high balls into the penalty area. He has been imperious so far tonight.
19 mins - Watford are looking dangerous here. A through ball threatens to embarrass Tomkins and Green, but it spins forward just enough for the goalkeeper to claim right on the edge of his box.
16 mins - The first corner is initially cleared before O'Brien scrambles the ball behind again. The second delivery is met flush by Eustace and hits Sordell. The ball bounces back to Jenkins, but he can't control his volley from eight yards and the ball flies high over the top.
15 mins - Green might get his name sung too after that save! Yeates loses his marker and picks out Sordell. The No20 turns and loses Tomkins before curling a shot towards the top corner that the goalkeeper does well to palm over the top at full-stretch.
15 mins - The travelling fans are going through their full repertoire of hits. Cole, Nolan and Parker have all had their names sung already!
14 mins - Watford are struggling to contain Cole. He is fouled again 25 yards out. Taylor curls his shot over the wall after 30 seconds of build-up, but it's wide.
12 mins - Tomkins makes a bit of a hash of a bouncing ball and Sordell picks up possession. He runs inside and then tries a reverse pass for Iwelumo, but the Scot doesn't read it and the ball rolls slowly through to Green, shepherded by three West Ham defenders!
11 mins - Noble tries to pick out Taylor with a long diagonal pass. It looks inch-perfect, but Doyley does well against the No14 and nips in to clear the danger. He tries to pick out Sordell himself, but Reid and Parker are there to deal with it.
10 mins - The Hammers win another corner... Taylor delivers and Mariappa heads powerfully clear at the near post.
9 mins - A deep cross comes over from the Watford left and Forsyth times his jump well to get above O'Brien, but his header flies well over the top. West Ham break and Cole's header leads to Doyley sending a horrifc back-pass that Loach can only slice out for a throw.
7 mins - That's only Tomkins' second senior goal following the one he got in a 2-0 Premier League win over Sunderland at the Boleyn Ground on 4 April 2009! That too was a towering header.
6 mins - It's been a breathless start here at Vicarage Road. Sordell has a low and speculative shot from the corner of the box but it's weak and an easy catch for Green in front of his goal.
4 mins - Watford try an audacious shot from the kick-off but it flies well over Green's goal. Moments later, the Hornets come again but O'Brien and then Parker and Reid deal with the danger.
3 mins - GOAL! TOMKINS! Taylor sends the corner over from the West Ham right and Tomkins rises high and mighty and powers a downward header past Loach. Fantastic start again for the Hammers.
2 mins - Cole wins a free-kick about 40 yards out and Taylor tries his luck, sending a low shot towards the bottom right-hand corner. Loach somehow pushes it around the post. Corner.
1 min - The long throw is only half-cleared to Yeates 25 yards out. He drives the ball low through a crowd and Green holds the ball at the second attempt.
7.48pm - Watford kick-off and quickly win a throw deep inside West Ham's half.
7.47pm - A bit of Blur as Watford have a huddle. They break away and we're nearly ready to go...
7.46pm - We're going to kick-off a bit late. This is one of seven npower Championship fixtures being played tonight. Should West Ham win and a few other teams fail to pick up three points, the Hammers could climb well inside the top-ten. Meanwhile, the sun has mercifully disappeared behind the stand.
7.44pm - Watford use Z-Cars as their entry theme, just like Everton. It's no 'Bubbles' but it is a decent tune! For those of you too young to be aware of Z-Cars, it was a British TV series that ran between 1962 and 1978 starring Gerald Blake. It was a police drama. Don't you just love the internet!
7.43pm - Here come the two teams, led by captains and respective No4s John Eustace and Kevin Nolan...
7.38pm - The sun is really low in the sky to my right, meaning I can't actually see the goal at that end of the ground! However, I shall soldier on and do my best... Anyway, West Ham's players have returned to their dressing room as kick-off rapidly approaches. There is just one survivor from West Ham's most-recent visit to Vicarage Road for a Carling Cup tie in September 2008 - Mark Noble. Julien Faubert started that day, but is on the bench tonight, while 2008 substitutes Robert Green, Herita Ilunga and Jack Collison all start tonight.
7.35pm - Meanwhile, the away end is filling up rapidly ahead of kick-off - this photo was taken at about 7.15pm and it's a lot fuller now!
7.30pm - Among the West Ham fans here tonight is 12-year-old Joe Waterman from Wanstead, who also happens to be the Hammers' mascot!
7.10pm - Chairman David Gold and manager Sam Allardyce enjoy a quiet moment at the mouth of the tunnel. The sun is shining brightly here at Vicarage Road, with the first of the 4,000-odd West Ham fans attending tonight's game starting to congregate in the stand to my right. Walking through the town centre earlier this evening, there are Hammers EVERYWHERE!
7pm - Watford are unchanged from Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Derby County. The Hornets line up as follows -
Watford: Loach, Dickinson, Mariappa, Taylor, Doyley, Yeates, Eustace, Jenkins, Forsyth, Sordell, Iwelumo
Subs: Gilmartin, Deeney, Bennett, Mirfin, Massey
6.45pm - West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has made just one change from the side that defeated Doncaster Rovers 1-0 on Saturday - Carlton Cole replacing Frederic Piquionne in attack. On the bench, Pablo Barrera and Julien Faubert come in for Freddie Sears and Junior Stanislas.
West Ham United: Green, O'Brien, Ilunga, Tomkins, Reid, Noble, Parker, Nolan, Collison, Taylor, Cole
Subs: Boffin, Faye, Barrera, Faubert, Piquionne
Good evening and welcome to Vicarage Road for tonight's npower Championship fixture between Watford and West Ham United.
The Hammers are seeking back to back away league victories for the first time since December 2007, when Alan Curbishley's side won at Blackburn Rovers and Middlesbrough. Nearly four years on, new boss Sam Allardyce led his side to their maiden win of the 2011/12 season courtesy of a 1-0 success at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.
Watford, meanwhile, have yet to record a win this term, having drawn at Burnley and lost at home to Derby County in their opening two league fixtures. Both clubs saw their Carling Cup first-round ties postponed due to a lack of police resources following the civil unrest across the country earlier this month.
Tonight's match represents West Ham's first visit to the Hornets' nest since Watford scored a 1-0 Carling Cup victory on 23 September 2008. West Ham's most-recent victory at Vicarage Road came in the shape of a 2-1 Championship success on 8 May 2005 - three weeks before the Hammers gained promotion to the Premier League via the Play-Offs.
Watford finished 14th in the Championship last term, but have lost manager Malky Mackay - replaced by Sean Dyche - winger Will Buckey (to Brighton & Hove Albion for £1m), striker Nathan Ellington (to Ipswich Town on a free transfer), winger Don Cowie (to Cardiff CIty for free) and highly-rated striker Danny Graham (to Swansea City for £3.5m).
Dyche has brought in some new faces, including centre-back David Mirfin from Scunthorpe United, full-back Carl Dickinson from Stoke CIty, midfielder Craig Forsyth from Dundee, winger Mark Yeates from Sheffield United and Scotland striker Chris Iwelumo from Burnley.
Team news-wise, West Ham have Julien Faubert back from a hamstring problem suffered against Real Zaragoza on 30 July. John Carew and George McCartney have not been considered for selection. For Watford, only long-term knee injury victim Stephen McGinn is unavailable.
The two starting XIs should be made available at around 6.45pm and will be announced first here on whufc.com and on the club's official twitter feed here.
Watford: Loach, Dickinson, Mariappa, Taylor, Doyley, Yeates (Deeney 73), Eustace, Jenkins, Forsyth, Sordell, Iwelumo (Massey 56)
Subs: Gilmartin, Bennett, Mirfin
West Ham United: Green, O'Brien, Ilunga, Tomkins (Faye 68), Reid, Noble, Parker, Nolan, Collison (Faubert 75), Taylor, Cole (Piquionne 74)
Subs not used: Boffin, Barrera