WEST HAM UNITED v BLACKPOOL
SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER 2011
Final score - West Ham United 4-0 Blackpool
It's confirmed. Derby and Southampton have drawn, so West Ham are up to second and can go top if they win at Southampton on Tuesday evening.
95 mins - The final whistle is blown. West Ham's biggest home league win since Aston Villa were beaten 4-0 on 12 September 2005 could send them up to second if results elsewhere stay the same.
94 mins - Less than two minutes to go and Blackpool have so many forward players on the pitch that it's no surprise that they are pressing. They win a corner, but LuaLua's cross is cut out for another flag kick. LuaLua crosses again, but he balloons the ball behind for a goal kick.
93 mins - Good defending again there from the home side as Bogdanovic's cross is headed clear by Reid before Noble shows composure to clear his lines.
91 mins - Sam Baldock is voted Man of the Match. Can he get his hat-trick to add the matchball to his trophy collection?
90 mins - LuaLua becomes the first Blackpool player booked for a sliding challenge on Diop. We're going to have at least five added minutes.
89 mins - Faubert does well again there as LuaLua runs at him. He uses pace and strength to shield the ball out for a goal kick. The home crowd respond with a chant of 'Julien, Julien', no doubt bringing a smile to the face of a certain Mr Dicks sat a few seats to my left.
87 mins - LuaLua nutmegs Diop and gets to the edge of the box, but Faubert is across to make the challenge. The attendance today is a very healthy 31,448.
85 mins - Baptiste and Diop have a coming together over on the far touchline. It doesn't look like D'Urso has seen anything there. Diop is down on the turf clutching his leg. I must confess the incident is too far away from me to say definitively what happened...
83 mins - Jack Collison's goal today is his first since West Ham beat Burnley 5-3 in the Premier League here on 28 November 2009. He's been much more like his old self today has Jack. He's been full of running and supported the front two really well.
82 mins - A low corner into the box and Ormerod gets away from Sears, but cannot direct his shot on target. Thankfully, the ball bounces wide of the goal.
80 mins - Carew is replaced by Mark Noble. The big man gets a peroper send-off and responds by applauding the home fans. He's quickly becoming a hero here, is big John.
80 mins - Good save Almunia. Taylor-Fletcher gets in behind the Hammers back four and is odds-on to score, but the Spaniard is out like lightning and spreads himself well. The ball flies away to the right and when Baptiste shoots, the ball flies well wide.
78 mins - Superb play from Faubert as he romps forward and plays a one-two with Sears. He could shoot but instead looks up and picks out Baldock with a cut-back. Baldock shoots low and Gilks does well to push it around the post. The corner finds Baldock again at the far post and he cushions the ball back for Sears, whose snapshot is straight at the goalkeeper.
77 mins - Reid is back on again.
76 mins - Reid needs the physio on and there is a bit of confusion over whether he will be OK to continue. Meanwhile, West Ham have a throw deep in Blackpool territory, but the visitors scramble the ball away.
74 mins - Off go Ince, Phillips and Shelvey, with Ormerod, Bogdanovic and LuaLua on in their respective places. Bogdanovic is going to take a free-kick from 30 yards with his first touch, but he curls it high and wide of the target.
72 mins - Blackpool are going to make three changes at the next break in play.
71 mins - Faye takes a couple of chances trying to dribble the ball clear. He gets away with it, but Big Sam is going nuts on the touchline, waving his arms around and shouting at the veteran centre-back.
67 mins - Calm down dear! Baptiste chases the length of the pitch for the ball but McCartney allows it to run before playing it out off the full-back. Baptiste responds by booting the corner flag off its mooring.
66 mins - Baldock has the ball in the net from Collison's pass, but he's been flagged for offside. That was a VERY close decision.
64 mins - Collison floats the ball over and Reid wins it. The ball loops just past the angle of post and crossbar. 'Ooohs' all round from the home fans.
63 mins - There are more goals to be had here for West Ham. Crainey makes a hash of a clearance and concedes a needless corner. Collison to take it...
62 mins - The change is made and Sears is on for Taylor. Sears gets a loud cheer, as always. They love their own here at the Boleyn.
61 mins - I think we're going to see Freddie Sears on for Matt Taylor in a short while. too.
60 mins - West Ham will make a change in a second. It will be Tomkins who will come off for Faye. There is nothing wrong with Tomkins, but the Hammers have two more games this week and the No5 will be required for both of them.
57 mins - That should be 5-0 and Baldock's hat-trick. Nolan sends Carew clear with a superb pass. The Norwegian leaves his marker for dead and should cross for the unmarked Baldock to roll in his third. Instead, he tries to curl the ball into the top corner and gets it horribly wrong. Baldock is livid! Carew raises his hand in apology.
56 mins - Crikey! Baldock gets through again and shoots low. Gilks blocks with his legs. The ball spins away and Collison is crowded out. West Ham come again, though and Faubert sends in another fine cross for Taylor. He shoots with his weaker right foot and the ball just clears the crossbar.
55 mins - GOAL! I think Mark Hunter might get his win now! McCartney does superbly to get in behind Baptiste. He looks up and could pull the ball back for Baldock. He instead crosses low towards Carew and the ball hits a defender and is pushed clear by Gilks to Collison. He controls on his thigh before shooting low and the ball hits a defender on its way into the bottom left-hand corner.
52 mins - Taylor-Fletcher gets in behind McCartney and crosses to the far post. The ball flicks off Reid, I think, and Ince cannot find the target at the far post. He should probably have at least worked Almunia there, if not scored.
51 mins - GOAL! Baldock again! That's real opportunist forward play there. Nolan lifts a pass over the defence for Carew, whose touch lets him down and he can only prod the ball past Gilks. Two defenders are on the line, but Baldock reacts quicker than both of them and converts the easiest of chances from about two yards out.
49 mins - I wonder when the last occasion was when two West Ham players scored their first Boleyn Ground goals for the club on the same day? Carew and Baldock, of course, have both scored their first East End goals in claret and blue this afternoon.
47 mins - GOAL! Good composure and a great finish from Sam Baldock! Faubert's clearance is high and towards the striker. He forces Hill to head the ball straight to Taylor, who sends the striker away with a first-time pass. Baldock is in acres and has an age, but he keeps his cool and slots the ball between Gilks and the right-hand post.
46 mins - Blackpool get the second half underway, but it's West Ham who show first. Taylor finds Collison and he cuts inside Hill before squaring for Taylor. The winger has to slide as he shoots and the ball flies well over the top. Shame, that.
No changes from either manager at the break. Manuel Almunia gets a good reception from the fans in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower on what is his home debut for the club.
Olympic and world rowing champion Mark Hunter is introduced to the crowd. Hunter visited Chadwell Heath on Friday and gave the players and coaching staff a motivational talk. Hunter draws the winners of the new matchday 50/50 Lotto before being asked what he thinks will happen after the break. The medallist believes a second goal will kill Blackpool's challenge off. Let's hope he is right.
Half-time score - West Ham United 1-0 Blackpool
47 mins - Blackpool build patiently before sending a diagonal ball over that Taylor heads out for a throw. Ince works some space and crosses, but Reid is there to head clear at the near post and the half-time whistle is blown.
46 mins - We will have at least two added minutes. Ince shows quick feet to get away from two defenders before laying the ball back to Southern. He shoots through a crowd of players and Almunia shows good handling to hold on in front of his line.
45 mins - There are more goals in this for the Hammers as Diop and Carew combine. The Senegal man tries to play in Collison, but Baldock does not read the script and cuts out the through ball.
43 mins - Carew could have had a hat-trick this half. Taylor follows up and sends the Norwegian clear into the penalty area. He shoots and Gilks makes the save with his right leg. The ball breaks back to Nolan, who doesn't panic and lifts a delightful pass to Baldock. The striker has to stretch and unfortunately can only direct his volley over the top. So close to a second.
40 mins - This is a chance for Blackpool as Diop is penalised for a shove on Phillips about 30 yards out. Shelvey fancies this one... After a big build-up he sends his shot into the second last row of the Bobby Moore Lower! Ironic cheers from his fellow West Ham fans.
39 mins - West Ham come again as Nolan sends a precision pass through for Taylor. His cross is headed clear to Baldock, who tries to nod it back in for Carew. A defender gets in the way and the visitors escape.
38 mins - Baldock does well in midfield before swapping passes with Taylor. He streaks into the inside-left channel and cuts the ball back for Carew. His first touch is a little too strong and the ball bounces away far enough for Gilks to collect.
36 mins - Another half-chance for Blackpool as Phillips gets to the byline, but his low cross is cut out by Reid on the edge of his own six-yard box.
35 mins - Phillips is a threat whenever he is on the pitch, but he cannot beat Almunia with this attempt. The ball bounces on the edge of the box, but it's just behind the veteran striker. He shoots on the turn, but it's straight at the goalkeeper.
34 mins - The Blackpool fans are making plenty of noise away to my left. They really lit up the Premier League last season, didn't they? With their bright Tangerine shirts, they're doing so again this afternoon.
31 mins - Nolan makes a well-timed run in behind and controls McCartney's long pass. He lays the ball back to Taylor, whose cross causes havoc as Carew challenges for it. The ball drops, but Blackpool scramble it clear.
30 mins - A hairy moment inside the West Ham penalty area as McCartney's touch lets him down, but Taylor-Fletcher cannot benefit. Taylor completes the clearance and Baldock does well to spin away from Evatt. Baldock races towards the penalty area, but his cross is too strong for Carew.
28 mins - The corner is cleared, but Taylor chases back and gets the ball. He finds Reid, whose diagonal pass for Collison is well won in the air by the No10. He nods it to Carew, who tries to pick out Collison's run with a backheel. It is just cut out by a defender. So close.
27 mins - A great chance for Carew to double his tally and West Ham's lead as he outmuscles Evatt and is in on goal. He shoots left-footed and Gilks parries. Baldock retrieves the situation but his cross is cut out.
25 mins - Faubert's throw is controlled well on the chest by Carew. He spins away and finds Collison, who uses Faubert as a decoy runner before crossing, but it's high and a routine catch for Gilks.
23 mins - Oh dear. Collison gets a foot in and the ball breaks to Carew. He skips over a challenge and is fouled, but the ball breaks back to Collison, who is clean through. Referee D'Urso blows his whistle for the free-kick. West Ham's players and management are incensed. I don't think D'Urso booked the culprit, either. The free-kick comes to nothing.
22 mins - Blackpool are threatening too, but Taylor-Fletcher's pass for Shelvey is over-hit. The Tangerines keep up the pressure and the ball is worked back to Ferguson. He shoots from 25 yards or so, but it's too high.
21 mins - West Ham are carrying a threat and Blackpool don't look that solid at the back. Baldock is involved again before Ferguson inadvertantly pokes the ball back towards Gilks. Carew bears down on the goalkeeper, who gets out smartly to hack clear.
20 mins - Blackpool work a crossing chance down the left cleverly. Baptiste is the beneficiary and has room to pick a man out. His cross goes past Taylor, but Reid is there to make a vital sliding clearance at the near post. That's good defending.
19 mins - Baldock and Collison look lively today and the pair almost combine to get the midfielder in, but he is just offside. It's encouraging to see Collison making runs beyond the strikers.
17 mins - Faubert follows Nolan in to the book for a sliding challenge on Taylor-Fletcher on halfway.
16 mins - Carew uses his body so well. He has a good touch and then makes it impossible for the defender to get around him and take the ball from him. There is no coincidence that he has played for some of Europe's top clubs. Another fine touch nearly sets Collison away, but the Welshman is offside.
14 mins - Having gone ahead, West Ham threaten again through Baldock, who makes a chance for himself and shoots from 30 yards. Gilks can only block with his body, but no Hammers player is close enough to take advantage. To be fair, Baldock was all on his own. Good work from the striker.
12 mins - GOAL! That one doesn't! Carew again! Nice football in midfield involving Diop and Nolan before the skipper spreads play into space for Faubert. The Frenchman looks up and curls a ball across - without too much pace on it - that Carew gets to ahead of his marker and heads into the bottom left-hand corner.
12 mins - Good football from the hosts as Collison and Faubert combine to clear before McCartney and Taylor play their way down the left wing. The pass for Collison or Baldock to chase is delayed too long and the chance goes begging.
10 mins - Reid clips a cross into the box and the home fans behind the goal want a free-kick, or even a penalty, for a hold on Carew. Nothing is given. Diop picks up the pieces and swaps passes with Taylor, but his header into the box is too strong for the Norwegian and Gilks collects.
8 mins - Blackpool come forward down their right and win a throw-in. The ball is worked back to Shelvey, who shoots and the ball takes a deflection and goes behind. Shelvey himself takes the corner and Almunia's punch isn't convincing. The ball only just clears the six-yard box, but Nolan is fouled and the hosts can clear their lines.
7 mins - D'Urso has his notebook out already to book Nolan for a foul on Ince. Yellow card for the skipper.
6 mins - Better from the Hammers. Carew controls a high ball superbly and finds Diop. He slides the pass wide right for Faubert, who curls over a cross for Baldock to attack. The ball flies high into the air and Carew attacks it, but he's penalised for a foul.
4 mins - It's all-action so far. A cross comes in from the right and Faubert is able to allow it to fly over his head. Blackpool win back possession in midfield and this time it is Hill, but Almunia makes the catch.
3 mins - Hammers fan Shelvey is heavily involved again, cutting in from the left and beating Diop, but Nolan is there. West Ham break and Taylor gets to the byline. His cross is too high for Carew and Collison cannot control.
2 mins - Blackpool have their first spell of possession as Shelvey comes past Diop and finds Ince. His left-footed cross is blocked by Faubert for a throw.
1 min - West Ham go on the offensive and Taylor tries to beat right-back Baptiste, but the defender stands firm. It's 4-4-2 v 4-3-3 in terms of formation. I am no prophet, but I'm expecting lots of chances and a few goals this afternoon.
3.01pm - West Ham will kick-off, shooting towards the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand. To my left, the great Martin Peters is singing along to 'Bubbles'. You've got to love that!
3pm - Apologies for the lack of updates since 2pm. I've had some technical issues, but they seem to be resolved now. The two teams are out on the pitch and the atmosphere has built nicely ahead of kick-off. The mascots have had their photos taken by Steve Bacon - who I am told has secured a book deal for his life as West Ham's official photographer - and we're nearly ready for kick-off.
1.58pm - The West Ham United team has been confirmed. Substitutes and the Blackpool squad to follow shortly -
1.50pm - Unfortunate news from Little Heath, where the Under-18s have lost their unbeaten record courtesy of a 2-0 FA Premier Academy League defeat by Charlton Athletic. A full report and reaction from Academy Director Tony Carr will appear on whufc.com soon. Highlights will also be available on West Ham TV early next week.
Good afternoon and welcome to another sunny afternoon at the Boleyn Ground for this afternoon's npower Championship fixture between West Ham United and Blackpool.
First off, if you live within reasonable driving distance of the stadium, why not pack the kids in the car and get down here and watch the game in person? It's Kids for a Quid, meaning you won't have to break the bank to give them a day out they'll never forget! The turnstiles will be open right up to kick-off at 3pm.
It is all to play for today, with both clubs seeking three points that would really ignite their respective bids for promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt. West Ham are seeking a first win in three matches, while Blackpool have been in fine form recently, defeating Bristol City 5-0 last time out.
History is on the side of the hosts, who have not lost at home to Blackpool in their previous 17 meetings in east London in all competitions. Indeed, the Tangerines have not left the Boleyn Ground with a win since April 1934. Manager Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, has not lost in five matches against Blackpool, while Ian Holloway has recorded just one win in five attempts against the Hammers.
The two teams will be officially announced at 2pm, but before then we can speculate over the lineup Big Sam will name this afternoon. Norway striker John Carew is in line for a start after scoring a late equaliser as a substitute at Crystal Palace a fortnight ago and for his country in midweek, while Sam Baldock, Winston Reid, Mark Noble and Matt Taylor are all fit again and pushing for a place in the starting XI.
On the down side, England midfielder David Bentley is out after undergoing knee surgery that will sideline him for up to six months. Midfielder Gary O'Neil is also out with a long-term ankle problem, while 12 players - including Herita Ilunga, Pablo Barrera and Jordan Spence - are out on loan.
For Blackpool, former Newcastle United striker Lomana LuaLua joined the club on loan on Thursday, while Billy Clarke and Matt Phillips were allowed to leave the club on loan for Sheffield United on Friday. Injury-wise, the Tangerines could be without left-back Stephen Crainey (ankle), centre-back Craig Cathcart (knee) and forward Daniel Bogdanovic (hamstring), but then again all three could be fit.