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Saturday, 24th February 2001

Bradford City 1
West Ham United 2

by Liam Tyrell

West Ham's potential new England midfield shone in this low key encounter.

The three amigos, Cole, Carrick and Lampard all stood out in a game the Hammers should have had wrapped up by half time.

Despite the local press billing this as a must win for the Bantams an air of acceptence of relegation hung over Valley Parade , along with the winter chill.

Despite welcoming back key defender Weatherall and potential match winner Carbone, Jim Jeffries opted for a cautious line up designed to stop the away side. Promising centre back Andy O'Brien was man- marking Joe Cole and the Dutch destroyer Mollenar was deployed to follow Di Canio.

It did not work as from the off the Irons opened up the City defence with
some neat moves at will . Michael Carrick was the first to test Gary Walsh but the opener wasn't long in coming.

A free flowing move ended with a fine Cole run before he cheekily back
heeled to the advancing Lampard who tucked it away nonchalantly.

The only surprise was going in at only 1-0 to the cockney boys. Cole among those who wasted great chances as well as Camara when just a little more composure was required. Bywater tipped over a Weatherall header just before the break and the warning signs were there.

We all said at half time the misses could be costly and if Bradford
equalised they could well go on to win it. As feared they did step up a gear and on 62 minutes Eoin Jess meeting Wards cross well with his head. Play should have stopped though, Yorkshire Pudding Steve Lodge missing the clear shove on Nutty Nige.

Credit to the Hammers there was a few edgy moments but the desire to get the deserved win was there. Another forceful Cole run ending with Lampard again in support and instantly tucking it away crisply.

As the basement boys threw everything at us even more gaps appeared and Suker was denied by Walsh after a terrific move on the break.

So relief at a vital and necessary three points earnt in a harder than
necessary way ,for the mainly subdued travelling fans. Suggestions of a hang over from the delights of Old Trafford and The Stadium of Light. Or maybe just a trifle cold or just unhappy with the spartan and insufficient
facilities in the compact away stand. No one was happy with another non display from Titi, who only gained a few more knockers. He was a liabilty, even the likes of Carrick and Cole opted for harder passes instead of releasing Camara at times. They know the score, does Harry?

So the Bradford punters witnessed their first goal of 2001 and we were
treated to our first league win of the new year. The West Yorkshire folk
were also treated to the future of English football hopefully in our
midfield trio. They won't be seeing them at this ground next season that's for certain.

Player Ratings

Bywater 7 - Steady display. Didn't let anyone down. Bossed his area well, punched clear convincingly a few times. Not tested too much, almost stopped the goal. One vital tip over just before the break. Dead ball kicking sound but a little erratic out of his hands. Can be trusted again.

Schemmel 7 - Got stuck in , annyoing the home fans with his keen challenges. Full of running and tidy play but once again final ball let him down in advanced positions.

Dailly 7 - Cool and tidy performance. Always had time on the ball, swept up well and won many aerial challanges emphatically.

Stimac 7 - Another tidy defensive days work. Intercepted several potential defensive breakthroughs.Won most battles with Ward.

Pearce S 7 - Yet another winning display from the old master. Carbone had the cheek to lash out at the 'thou shall not past' man. Funny how the Italian stayed clear from then on.

Winterburn 7 - Chased everything again and always willing to support up the left flank.

Carrick 7- Very tidy game, benefited from the close attention that Joe and Paolo were getting. Displayed his full range of passes.

Lampard 8 - Took his two goals superbly and made them look casually easy. Will feel unlucky not to have grabbed 3. Looks to be approaching his best form on the back of creating the winner in another fine display at Sunderland.

COLE 8 - Just shades it from Frank for me. Energetic display, created both goals with strong runs into danger area, first ending with nice back heel into Lamps path. Despite being man marked kept bursting with pace beyond Bradford backline.

Di Canio 7- Opened them up a lot early on. Plenty of glimpses of skill,
picked up silly needless booking, again.

Camara 5 - Not quite as bad as his recent display at Liverpool but not at
all good. Too eager early on, lashing at a couple of shots. Calls for him to be taken off were sounding out long before his eventual departure.

Subs used

Suker for Camara 7 - Unlucky not to net after fine move. Showed plenty
of movement and know how to suggest he may still have a role to play.

Pearce for Schemmel 7 - Only on for last 7 minutes or so but good
substitution by H , utilising Ian's height for the final onslaught. Cooly
and calmly slotted into Schemmels place.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Bywater, Winterburn, Schemmel (I.Pearce 83), Stimac, S.Pearce, Dailly, Lampard, Carrick, Cole, Camara (Suker 71), Di Canio

Subs not used: Forrest, Soma, Todorov

Bradford City: Walsh, Myers, Wetherall, Molenaar (Hopkin 64), O'Brien, Locke (Blake 81), Lawrence, Carbone, Jacobs (McCall 82), Jess, Ward

Subs not used: Davison, McKinley

Booked: Dailly, Di Canio, Locke

Goals: Lampard (17, 75), Jess (47).

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