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West Ham 3 Rovers 1


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Match Report by Scotty

Just about feel up to commenting on the game now - it was just all too depressing yesterday.

We were the better team for half an hour because we passed the ball better and were quicker into the tackle than West Ham. We unsettled them and they couldn't cope with the way we quickly pressured the ball all over the park. As a result we deservedly took the lead and could easily have gone 2 or 3 in front.

However, West Ham slowly found their feet, picked up the pace of the game, and started stringing a few passes together of their own. They finished the first half on top but 1-0 at half-time was still probably a fair reflection of what had gone on.

We were caught over-committing at the start of the second half. We lost possession deep in West Ham's half, they broke quickly, and we just didn't have enough bodies back behind the ball. All four midfielders and our right back were caught up field.

West Ham were lifted and they started to overrun us in midfield. Hughes rightly decided to address this by changing to a 4-1-4-1 formation but I thought he took the wrong player off. Kuqi was doing OK and we'd have been better off if one of our ineffective wide-men had been subbed.

The removal of Kuqi meant that we didn't have an outlet up front so we just kept giving the ball back to West Ham. This, coupled with some rank bad individual defending, resulted in us conceding another two goals and getting thoroughly outplayed. Dickov's mindless sending off just put the tin hat on an incredibly depressing second-half display.

There's little point in singling out individual players for criticism as the whole team were crap in that second half. I was particularly disappointed with our wide-men though. Emerton was at his frustrating worst and Pedersen was just awful. Bellamy didn't look fit, Kuqi did a few good things but didn't stand out, Savage and Reid started well but found themselves too far up field too often in the second half, and the whole defence were poor.

West Ham: Carroll, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Dailly, Konchesky, Reo-Coker, Benayoun, Mullins (Noble 84), Etherington, Sheringham (Newton 72), Harewood.

Subs Not Used: Hislop, Ward, Zamora.

Goals: Sheringham 46, Reo-Coker 62, Etherington 80

Rovers: Friedel, Neill, Todd, Mokoena (Dickov 72), Matteo, Emerton, Savage, Reid, Pedersen, Kuqi (Gresko 55), Bellamy.

Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Flitcroft, Tugay.

Sent Off: Dickov (81)

Booked: Savage

Goals: Todd 18

Attendance: 33,305

Referee: A Wiley

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