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Nationwide Division One
Sunday, 21st March 2004

Millwall 4
West Ham United 1

by East Stand Martin

I woke up feeling diabolical this morning after a little rendezvous in Oxford. It took a mighty feat of willpower to get up after less than 5 hours sleep and at no little risk to the license as I'm not sure that the wine/champagne/limoncello/cognac/beer combo was fully out of the system. In fact, I'm still pi**ing battery acid now.

Anyway, I had to see the game and went over to the beam back via the chippy by Upton Park tube to try and eat some numbness out of my head.

I wish I could take something positive out of today. I can't. Words almost fail me.

Inept

This has got to be the most inept display I have seen for a very long time. I was at Old Trafford when they humiliated us last year. I was up at Goodison when they trounced us. Those were bad days, but to lose in the fashion we did today is completely unacceptable. It was absolute and unadultered drivel, from start to finish. I'd go further, it was an unmitigated disaster. It pains me to say it but they were better in every department.

What was even harder to take was the beaming expression of Dennis Wise. They absolutely mugged us and he knew it.

For how many weeks had we known that this was going to be a massive game? Is there any need to even have to motivate a West Ham team for a game against the enemy from the wrong side of the river? You would have thought not, but from minute one we were second best and we stayed that way. If we had got anything out of this game after we got it back to 2-1, it would have been a travesty. We deserved nothing and that's we got.

Shambolic

What was going on in defence today? Utter shambles throughout. Three of the goals were handed to them on a plate. Marking? Non existent. I'm probably going to be berated for this, but I'm not sure that Dailly could do much at all about the own goal. That was a wicked ball in and he just had to try and push it wide as he could'nt know that there wasn't a Millwall player behind him. However, the rest of his play was laughable along with the rest of 'em.

It could have been worse. The penalties were both avoidable. What Matty was doing when their player was running towards the corner flag is beyond me. The communication between Bywater and the defence was pathetic, and it wasn't the first time either. There was nearly a comedy goal when the ball was fired agianst Dailly by Bywater. Let's face it they could have had 7 or 8 and we only got a goal as a result of a fluke handball in the box.

Naive

The Bywater sending off. Some said it was harsh. I think not. You do not raise your hands to the ref. In any event, if that was a foul, and it was, their player was through on goal. He had to go, but he might just have got away with it if he had kept his hands by his side. Naive and stupid.

No fight

Midfield. Hopeless. Just ceded the territory to the opposition. Second to the ball most of the time and simply unable to cope with the physical approach of the opposition. We were not allowed to settle for one minute. They wanted it and we capitulated. I am going to make an allowance for Matty because he wasn't fit. No width in our play at all - why no Jobi on from the start? I simply cannot understand that after his display earlier in the week.

Z-man. I'm now getting really concerned. The touch is terrible. He looks slow. Unimpressive. Not justified a place in the starting line up at all. Marlon - not much better. Quite honestly we created an absolute paucity of chances. We never looked threatening.

Embarassing

The numbskulls amongst our support that started creating. Makes you embarassed to be a West Ham fan with that bunch of so-called supporters acting like a bunch of juvenile delinquents. Rabble. I hope the Old Bill got some nice photos. Back the team with passion. Shout. Swear. But behave like that. Forget it. Just f**k off back to the sewer you came from.

On final thought. As you know I rarely get over to that post modernist edifice known as the Rio Stand. For the first time I walked the length of it to see the signs to the various blocks with pictures of players on them. I can't tell you how fundamentally depressing it is to see photgraphs of our former talent, now long sold, gazing down. Ghosts at the feast. Is it beyond our board to have some new ones made, or is Terry hoping that they'll all come back one day?

Maybe that remains the heart of our problem. Last year - too good to go down. This year to good to stay down. The mentality is clearly still not there and maybe that extends to some of us as well. We have got to get real.

Despite some encouraging signs - I am struggling to convince myself that we are not going backwards at the moment. In saying this, I can't blame the manager. He's not had enough time to make a difference. Maybe I should be saying that this is just some blip and that we will come good. The playoffs are still there, but we have had the mickey taken out of us by two of the likely teams in those playoffs in consecutive away matches. The signs are not good.

Today was proof positive that we are not on the up of the parabolic curve and the descent may not yet have run its course. I wish Pardew every piece of luck in trying to turn this around, but as you all know my optimism began to wane in January.

(Following player comments by Graeme Howlett)

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Player Ratings

Stephen Bywater
Not the best of games for young Stephen; culpable perhaps for not coming to collect the cross which led to the first then (harshly) dismissed for the collision with Harris. Redeemed himself somewhat with the penalty save.


Jon Harley
Whilst looking effective breaking forward the on-loan defender was caught out far too often at the back. His future at West Ham remains very much in the balance.


Andy Melville
Still yet to form an effective partnership with Christian Dailly at the heart of the defence.


Christian Dailly
Although little fault can be attributed for the own goal this was one of Dailly's poorest performances of the season.


Tomas Repka
Okay again until the red mist descended - after which it was all downhill for the temperamental Czech.


Nigel Reo-Coker
Never in the game, and still to produce his best form at West Ham.


Michael Carrick
Desperately disappointing display against a team whom he should have shone.


Marlon Harewood
Simply dreadful - unwilling to stick his head in where it hurts (in fact he was unwilling to stick his head in at all). Scored the penalty which earns an extra point.


Matthew Etherington
Clearly unfit but still our biggest threat on the day.


Bobby Zamora
Desparately poor performance from Zamora. Never in the game, and never looked to want to be in the game.


Kevin Horlock
Brought in no doubt to suppress the Millwall midfield. He didn't. Still our most potent threat before the break with one free-kick that grazed the bar and another shot which forced a good save.


Substitutes


Brian Deane
(Replaced Horlock, 50) Could have scored within moments of his introduction. Anonymous thereafter.


Pavel Srnicek
(Replaced Etherington, 62) His first business as a Hammer was to retrieve the ball from Cahill's missed penalty. Looked assured, as you would expect from a former international.


Jobi McAnuff
(Replaced Harewood, 73) Ineffective.


Chris Cohen
Did not play.


Adam Nowland
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: J.Winter.

Attendance: 14055.

Man of the Match: Matthew Etherington.

West Ham United

Goals:                    

Booked: Andy Melville 84          .

Sent Off: Stephen Bywater 60    .

Millwall

Marshall, Muscat, Lawrence, Ward, Ryan, Ifill, Cahill, Roberts, Livermore, Harris, Dichio.

Substitutes: Chadwick (Dichio 45).

Subs not used: Warner, Wise, Elliott, Sweeney.

Goals: Dailly og (34), Cahill (46, 56), Chadwick (80).

Booked: Harris (77).

Sent Off: None sent off..

 
Match Report