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Premier League
Saturday, 27th September 2014

Manchester United 2
West Ham United 1

by Staff Writer


West Ham United's unbeaten away record ended at Old Trafford this afternoon - albeit in the most controversial of circumstances.

At 2-1 down and with less than two minutes of normal time remaining the Hammers thought they had grabbed a late equaliser when substitute Kevin Nolan - who initially appeared to be onside - bundled a cross over the line, only to see the 'goal' ruled out by a linesman's flag.

That moment of controversy came at the end of a second half in which West Ham had battered their hosts - who were reduced to ten men on the hour mark following the dismissal of captain Wayne Rooney - without finding the clinical touch necessary to restore parity.

And ultimately, West Ham - who were missing their engine room in the shape of Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble (a late withdrawal from the squad) - only had themselves to blame for a third Premier League defeat of the season.

A poor start resulted in the Irons being two goals behind inside 25 minutes as pre-match fears regarding the strength of the opposition attack manifested themselves in devastating fashion.

There were just five minutes on the clock when England striker Rooney got in front of West Ham's Spanish goalkeeper Adrian to convert Rafael's cross from the right - not the last time the hosts would exploit space on West Ham's left side - to give Man U an early advantage.

Alex Song may have enjoyed a wonderful start to his time in east London but he was at fault for the goal that left his new team two behind, with 22 minutes on the clock. A poor goal kick from Adrian was collected by Song, who promptly conceded possession inside his own half.

With West Ham stretched Falcao played in van Persie, who had pulled wide of Winston Reid, and the Dutch striker stroked the ball into the far corner to make it 2-0.

Many West Ham teams in the past would have folded at that stage, so it was encouraging to see the Hammers continue to seek to attack where possible. Having made a slight tactical change, United left Enner Valencia - who'd missed a sitter at 0-1, just moments after Rooney's goal - alone up front and got their reward from a corner.

Stewart Downing's floated centre was met by Morgan Amalfitano, who forced a save from David De Gea. Valencia pounced upon the rebound only to see his header crash off the bar, but Sakho was present to nod the ball over the line.

By doing so, the former Metz man continued his prolific run of form having scored in every game he's started since moving to London - a total of four goals in four games.


An important clearance by Man Utd rookie McNair

The second half exploded into life in bizarre fashion seconds ahead of the hour mark when Rooney, whose petulance has cast a shadow over his entire professional career received a straight red card for kicking out at Stewart Downing in order to prevent him starting a counter attack.

Whilst the challenge was cynical rather than dangerous, and perhaps more deserving of a comedy award than a red card, the rules stated that Rooney had to walk and so he did, leaving an already under-pressure Man U to face the final half-hour with a man disadvantage.

What followed afterwards was almost equally as bizarre - the sight of West Ham bossing a game at Old Trafford. Desperate to protect their narrow advantage having shipped five at newly-promoted Leicester last week, the Reds resorted to defending desperately as the Hammers threw everything but the kitchen sink at their hosts.

Ultimately it was to no avail, but only by the narrowest of margins - and the eagerness of a referee's assistant to err on the side of caution/the more high-profile team by raising his flag when the game-changing 50/50 incident arose two minutes from time.

Although the linesman's call will almost certainly be hailed as the correct one by the media, there's no doubt that he got lucky. Nolan, if offside at all could only have been so by a fraction, inches maybe - and to detect that with the naked eye would require superhuman powers.

So not for the first time this season it was an encouraging performance by West Ham - for which their reward was zero points, but perhaps a little more respect amongst their peers for the manner in which they took the game to their purportedly more-illustrious opponents.

Next up for Big Sam and his continually improving squad come Queens Park Rangers eight days from now, the first of the three promoted clubs to visit the Boleyn Ground this season.




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Player Ratings

Adrian San Miguel del Castillo
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


Substitutes


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc


tbc
tbc



Match Facts

Referee: Lee Mason.

Attendance: 0.

Man of the Match: tbc.

West Ham United

Adrian San Miguel del Castillo, tbc, tbc, tbc, tbc, tbc, tbc, tbc, tbc, tbc, tbc.

Goals: None.

Booked: tbc           .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Manchester United

.

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: .

Sent Off: None sent off..

 

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Staff Writer's Man of the Match: tbc


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