Wednesday, 23rd July 2014
Having previously drawn at Stevenage and Ipswich, the Hammers were expected to comfortably beat Wellington Phoenix at Eden Park this morning. However Sam Allardyce's jet-lagged side were left somewhat embarrassed - or 'stunned', according to stuff.co.nz - after falling to a 2-1 defeat.
A lively encounter, the game began with Phoenix full back Louie Fenton somehow escaping a red card for a dreadful, ankle-high lunge at new signing Cheikhou Kouyate. Carlton Cole narrowly failed to convert a low Matt Jarvis cross before West Ham found themselves behind.
A Phoenix free kick was delivered towards the near post and as West Ham's defence stood motionless, Andrew Durante emerged from behind his marker to steer his header beyond goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen. Pre-season or not, it was a dreadful goal to concede.
And as poor as the opening goal was, the second - conceded on 25 minutes - was little better. James Collins, who has consistently made grave errors throughout his career conceded possession 30 yards from goal. Alex Rodriguez picked up the loose ball before firing it into the corner of Jasskelainen's net from the edge of the box as West Ham's other defenders retreated.
However the 'English Premier League giants' - courtesy of New Zealand TV - did at least give the travelling fans - who sang a rousing chorus of "you're nothing special, we lose every week" - something to cheer about when Mauro Zaratae scored his first goal in a West Ham shirt.
With 20 minutes to play, the Argentinian managed to beat the otherwise excellent Phoenix 'keeper Glen Moss. Receiving the ball from Matt Jarvis, Zarate curled a lovely effort inside the post to give West Ham a fighting chance.
However the Hammers were left disappointed - and no doubt a little embarrassed too - after failing to score for a second time - much to the delight of the home crowd who had seen their team gain a most unexpected victory.
Even though West Ham's involvement in the Football United tournament is primarily about fitness, the performance will have disappointed the many hundreds of New Zealand-based and travelling Hammers fans, some of whom have spent several thousands of pounds to make the trip.
The game was preceded with a minute's silence for John Adler and Liam Sweeney, the Newcastle United fans who were killed in the terrorist attack on a Malaysian Airlines flight last week whilst on their way to support their team in the Football United tour.
Good to get some minutes tonight, shame about the result. Credit to the fans who made one hell of a trip to make it out here as well! #NZ ??— Dan Potts (@DanPotts03) July 23, 2014
West Ham Utd: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Reid (c), Collins, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Nolan, Diame, Jarvis, Cole.
Subs: Adrian, Howes, Tomkins, Downing, Fanimo, O'Brien, Potts, Poyet, Vaz Te, Whitehead, Zarate.
Wellington Phoenix: Moss, Muscat, Gorrin, Burns, Brockie, Boyd, Riera, Fenron, Sigmund, Durante (c), Blake.
Subs: Italiano, Caira, Boxall, Brindell-Smith, Cunningham, Rufer, Hicks, Lia, Krishna, Ridenton, Doyle.
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Did not play.
Did not play.
Man of the Match: Mauro Zarate.
West Ham United
Adrian, Guy Demel, George McCartney, James Collins, James Tomkins, Mark Noble, Mo Diame, Matt Jarvis, Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll.
Goals: None .
Booked: Winston Reid 81 James Collins 90 .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Subs not used: .
Booked: None booked..
Sent Off: None sent off..