Wednesday 27 May
Updated Wednesday 27 May 13:17

#50GreatestMatches - #34 West Ham United 2-0 Cambridge United


West Ham United celebrates its 125th anniversary on 29 June – and as part of our celebrations we're counting down to the date with the Club’s #50GreatestMatches brought to you by Monster Energy!

Since the Hammers were formed as Thames Ironworks FC in 1895, we have played in excess of 5,500 matches – reaching five FA Cup finals - and one women's FA Cup final, lifting European silverware and competing across the globe and enjoying thousands of memorable moments.

With your help and recommendations, we've whittled down that list of 5,500 matches to a top 50, featuring landmark goals, trophies held aloft, heroic individual performances and remarkable collective efforts.

We continue the #50GreatestMatches countdown with a dramatic promotion-clinching win over Cambridge United in 1993...


#50GreatestMatches #34


West Ham United sealed promotion to the Premier League for the first time by defeating Cambridge United on 8 May 1993.

Billy Bonds' Hammers went into the final game of their Division One campaign needing a victory to ensure they went up ahead of third-place Portsmouth.

Pompey defeated Grimsby Town 2-1 at Fratton Park, but goals from David Speedie and Clive Allen saw the Irons past the U's in front of 27,399 jubilant fans at the Boleyn Ground.

Cambridge, who needed a victory themselves to give themselves a chance of avoiding relegation, were plucky but limited opponents, frustrating the Hammers for long periods during the first half.

Thankfully, news of Grimsby taking the lead at Portsmouth lightened the mood in east London somewhat, despite the home side’s inability to find a way past their visitors.

Bonds’ men held their nerve, though, opening the scoring two minutes after the break when Speedie, who had been denied by goalkeeper John Filan before the interval, collected from Mark Robson, swivelled and smashed the ball into the roof of the Cambridge net.


West Ham United 2-0 Cambridge United in May 1993


The drama was not over, however, as long-serving Cambridge midfielder Chris Leadbitter found the back of Ludek Miklosko’s net, only to be flagged marginally offside.

Even then, Portsmouth scored two second-half goals of their own to take the lead on the south coast, meaning a late equaliser at the Boleyn Ground would scupper West Ham’s promotion hopes.

However, those nerves were finally put to rest in the 90th minute, when substitute Clive Allen tapped in Julian Dicks’ centre, sparking wild celebrations and a jubilant pitch invasion.

The final whistle brought about a second pitch invasion as the Claret and Blue Army celebrated a season that brought them 88 points, saw them lose just two of 23 home games in the league and win promotion after just one season in the second tier.

After the game, manager Bonds and his players made their way to the Directors Box, from which they surveyed thousands of jubilant supporters – an iconic image that endures nearly three decades later.


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