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Carling Cup
Tuesday, 24th August 2004

West Ham United 2
Southend United 0

by East Stand Martin

A golden opportunity was spurned tonight at Upton Park. The game was asking for it. It was there for the taking.

But I just couldn’t bring myself to sit in the Bobby Moore stand as the autopilot kicked in and I entered through the usual turnstile into the retro heaven which is known as the East Stand.

No offence to those who sit in the Bobby Moore, you understand. I’m just a creature of habit.

It’s your chance to shine, boys

You can imagine what Pardew was saying in the changing room before kick off. Faced with injuries and the need to rest a few players, he would have been making it clear to the youngsters that this was their chance to shine. Over to you then, Chris Cohen (left midfield), Trent McClenahan (right back), Adam Nowland (central midfield) and Elliot Ward (centre back).

Jimmy Walker was also in for Bywater, although clearly he’s no spring chicken. Rebrov also made the start up front with Marlon, as no doubt Teddy was still feeling the exertions of last Saturday.

Reo power

We started brightly enough, with Marlon carrying on where he left off at Crewe. The first minute saw a quality lay off from Marlon to Reo-Coker who went on one his trademark surging runs. He got a good strike in, but the keeper made a good save to his left.

On 10 minutes, Reo-Coker gathered a great ball out of defence from Chadders and went storming down the pitch, shrugging off a couple of tackles. Running towards the edge of the box, he then slotted through a brilliantly weighted ball to Marlon who managed to stay onside and smash home a powerful shot. 1-0 and the signs were good.

Trent (or Macca as I will call him, as he really does look like Steve McManaman) then went on a good run down the right two minutes later but then sent over a wild cross which turned into a shot on goal. It was a sign of things to come.

Drewe Broughton had Southend’s first real chance on 14 minutes as a great cross was launched from the left . Although he rose well, he somehow glanced it past the target.

Marlon charges

Marlon did not seem fazed by the unimportance of the game and was maintaining his recent high workrate. One of the things he has clearly been working is charging down the keeper. It’s good to see and is another benefit of playing him centrally.

On 23 minutes, there was another nervous moment as Rufus failed to deal with a ball fired across the box from the right. The frame of the goal was still vibrating minutes later with the resulting shot, but the effort had been ruled offside in any event.

A minute later, Marlon was showing his strength with his back to goal, shielding the ball effectively. He managed a quick swivel and put in a low wicked shot, which the keeper managed to turn away for a corner. The ball came out to Nowland from the set piece who unleashed a stinging shot which was blocked by the advancing Southend defence.

On 27 minutes Marlon once again caused problems on the left hand edge of the box and was brought down. Unfortunately, he made a right hash of the free kick, lofting it high and wide.

One dimension

During this period, West Ham began to look rather one-dimensional. The ball was coming largely down the right channel, with Chris Cohen hardy getting a sniff down the left. The real strength of the performance at Crewe was our ability to advance rapidly down both wings, leaving the opposition none too sure about which way we would go next. There was none of that tonight.

The last real chance of the half fell to Marlon on 38 minutes, after he had headed a ball out to Rebrov. The Ukrainian returned a great pass to Marlon, but he completely fluffed his shot with the goal at his mercy.

Before the game started, I discovered that there had apparently been a hidden massive hike in world coffee prices which in turn had led to a 18% increase in the cup of sludge on offer from the Upton Park catering facilities. £1.30 for that? I gave it a miss at half time.

Conspiracy

Just into the second half, we learnt that the attendance was just under 17,000, far higher than had been predicted, although to look around the ground, it hardly looked half full. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but maybe the numbers were put up to try and make support for the club look better than it actually is. Fair play to the Southend fans though; they turned up in force with just over 3,500.

For the first time I noticed Elliot Ward, who was beginning to show with some good defensive headers. Nowland on the other hand was beginning to look rather average. On 47 minutes he made a very poor pass, which then resulted in him clumsily bringing down the player to whom he had gifted the ball. He received a yellow card and the free kick went close.

Three minutes later, Southend advanced effectively down the right and a fine cross was put over. Repka, who had a quiet and effective game, managed to get himself in the way of a goal bound shot.

Nowland let himself down again on 58 minutes when he overhit an aimless ball forward. A minute later, Chadwick, who was having an anonymous game in comparison with Saturday, slotted through a great ball into the box, but Marlon could not get on the end of it.

Macca has a ‘mare

At this point Macca began to look vulnerable and positionally naïve. Two Southend players were left unchallenged on the edge of the box on 54 minutes and West Ham were lucky to see the ball blasted wide. Then Macca came under a strong challenge in the box and stumbled over. There was a very big shout for a penalty, as it looked like he fell onto the ball.

Shortly after, another youngster was brought into the fray when Mark Noble came on for Chadwick.

I was just considering that I might give the ‘youngster of the match’ to Elliot Ward when he lost his footing horribly on 62 minutes, allowing the Southend winger to advance menacingly on goal. It looked like he had forgotten that mantra which is often drummed into ESM Jnr by his coach, “Watch the ball, not the player”.

The award for the comedy name of the game was made when Tesfaye Bramble replaced Broughton, much to the disquiet of the Southend fans.

On 74 minutes we were then treated to a classic Repka moment as he was bypassed down the left side of the box. He committed a professional foul, unceremoniously pulling the Southend player to the ground. It was hard to see whether he was booked, but he certainly deserved to be.

Hail the returning hero

Then on 75 minutes, the East End’s adopted prodigal son arrived to much acclaim. Who would believe that Teddy could have so easily become the fans’ favourite, but this is the result of the dearth of pure talent that we have at our disposal. Don’t get me wrong, I admire Teddy, but it speaks volumes about the club that we now have to look to a 38 year old to be our leader on the pitch. I have fears about what will happen when those heavy pitches arrive in January and February.

The player Teddy replaced, Sergei Rebrov is yet to show anything which suggests that he may have warranted even a fraction of the £11 million Spurs paid for him. He simply looks at sea, and we can only hope that he can show us something – anything at all – before too long.

Macca got found out again on 76 minutes when it became his turn again to stumble and let in a Southend player. The ball was delivered to the right and a goal looked certain, but Walker made a great save. Somehow the ball went into the side netting, with the Southend fans celebrating a goal.

33 minutes for a shot

Chris Cohen underlined his below par performance when he gave the ball away again on 78 minutes, but a minute later Adam Nowland made a bid to improve his rating after he fired in a good shot from a central position outside of the box. It was a measure of West Ham’s second half display that this was the first shot on goal.

Two minutes later, Repka proved that not only inexperienced youngsters give the ball away, when he made a diabolical pass to the the opposition which led to a shot on goal which was well held by Walker. Reo-Coker, who had gone missing in the second half, then got in a decent shot on goal after 81 minutes after Cohen had nicked the ball.

Macca then gave the ball away for the last time on 82 minutes completing a pretty miserable night for the young defender.

With four minutes to go, the Southend defence failed to deal with a sky high ball and Cohen managed to gather it in the box. However, he failed to get a pass through to Marlon who would have had the goal at his mercy.

Time to give Marlon grief

Just after this Marlon got his customary stick from the fans who thought that he was strolling rather nonchalantly with the ball down the right wing. This infuriates me – why don’t they look at he game? Marlon was wide, with absolutely no-one in the box. He was quite rightly holding the ball up to allow some support to arrive. I am not sure that Marlon will ever get treated fairly by some sections of our fans.

Undeservedly – although I was glad for Marlon – we then got a second on the 90th minute. Marlon picked the ball up in the centre circle after it had rebounded kindly to him out of our defence. He then showed just how crazy it has been to maroon him out on the left as he used all his strength to run powerfully towards goal, take one touch to the side and blast home into the goal.

If only he had been played in a similar position in Cardiff.

All in all, this was a pretty unconvincing performance with our youngsters not instilling us with any obvious hope that we are about to see something special bursting into the first team. My neighbour – a loyal fan of long standing had the last words: “Well that was a crock of sh*t spoilt by two good goals”.

(Following player ratings by Lee Harvey)

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Player Ratings

Jimmy Walker
I was impressed by the keeper. He looks a very good shot-stopper and even though he has a lack of height he does make some really good catches. Jimmy ooks a good keeper and Bywater is going to have to be on top form to keep him out.


Tomas Repka
Looked okay for the majorty of the game but then he ruins it all in a moment that was pure Tommy Repka. Under pressure with the ball you thought a simple pass back to Walker would be on but no - he decides to pass the ball across the defence to their striker. As I say, madness.


Rufus Brevett
Captain for the night Rufus looked fine on the ball and defended well. Didn't really put a foot wrong.


Elliott Ward
My Dad thought he looked like Dan Akroyd but I was impressed by the young defender (and he is bloody tall). Good in the air and a no-nonsense performance.


Trent McClenahan
He looked quite good in the first half but was given the run around after the break. I still think he could become yet another youth team player to break into the first-team squad.


Nigel Reo-Coker
The boy is turing into a real star for us. His forward run for our first goal was typical Reo-Coker. He has great strength and gets stuck in. Potential captain material too; he was talking to his team mates throughout.


Adam Nowland
Despite receiving praise for his performance at Crewe last weekend he was very poor tonight. Gave the ball away far to often and failed to get involved. Very poor both on and off the ball.


Luke Chadwick
Worth a 7 because of his first half performance. He tailed off in the second but looked decent before the break. For some reason he moved into the centre of midfield in the second half for a while - which was strange.


Chris Cohen
To be fair Chris did not really have a chance to get involved in the game due to the majorty of the match being played on the the opposite side to him. What he did he did well, and he always wants to get stuck in.


Sergei Rebrov
I was very happy when we signed Rebrov but I've yet to see him perform. I thought today would be his day to shine but he looked awful and did not get into the game one bit. The only possible explanation is that he is still not match fit.


Marlon Harewood
Took his goals very, very well and showed good movement. I thought he could have worked a bit more, but to be fair he did chase down the keeper more than I had seen him before. Was a bit lazy at times but did well nevertheless.


Substitutes


Mark Noble
(Replaced Chadwick, 68) Another player who, on his debut, failed to make an impact. Still could have scored had Harewood set him up late on in the game - but Marlon took the greedy option and scored.


Teddy Sheringham
(Replaced Rebrov, 76) One of the biggest cheers of the night came when he entered the fray. Teddy has already became a firm fans' favourite. Provided some good flicks in typical Teddy fashion and held the team together when Southend started to look a little threatening.


Stephen Bywater
Did not play.


Darren Blewitt
Did not play.


Moses Ashikodi
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: M.Armstrong.

Attendance: 16910.

Man of the Match: Nigel Reo-Coker.

West Ham United

Goals: Marlon Harewood 11 Marlon Harewood 89                

Booked: Adam Nowland 49 Tomas Repka 75        .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Southend United

Griemink, Barrett, Jupp, Edwards, Pettifer, Gower, Bentley, Nicolau, Mayer, Broughton, Dudfield.

Substitutes: Bramble (Broughton 74), Gray (Dudfield 84).

Subs not used: Flahavan, Hunt, Wilson.

Goals: .

Booked: Maher (54).

Sent Off: None sent off..

 
Match Report