West Ham Utd iFC 5 Grays Athletic SC 1

  • by Vinny White
  • Monday, 9th November 2009

West Ham iFC extended their winning streak to five matches in a row with five goals in a five star performance at Flanders.

The pre-match team-talk focused on starting brightly and bossing the early stages. However, despite this the Hammers got off to their usual sluggish start as Grays had the better of the opening stages. The Irons lined up as follows:

Garrard; Mehegan, G Stafford, Gray (c), Nugent; C North, Miles, Coates, Boyce; Batterbee; D Liddard.

Fortunately for the hosts Grays' pressure amounted to little more then potshots from range as the Irons gradually gained control of proceedings. Eventually the Geeks got their passing game going and took the lead slightly against the run of play with a beautifully quick and concise move which was started and finished by the industrious skipper Luke Gray.

After winning the ball in defence and playing a simple ball, Gray had made a lung-bursting run down the left channel, and Ian Batterbee, operating dangerously in his familiar position in the hole, found Gray with a perfectly weighted reverse through ball which Gray took in his stride, rounded the keeper and slotted home for his seventh of the season.

This goal seemed to deflate the visitors and the Irons put the game to bed in the first half hour with a quick brace from Dan Liddard. By now the Irons were in control, but allowed Grays too much space in the midfield, and their right winger cut inside time and time again unchallenged to probe at the Geeks back four. Only a combination of tackles from Miles, Gray and Stafford and some tame shots kept the visitors at bay.

A fourth goal followed just before the break, as from clearing a corner the ball found it's way to Liddard on the half-way line, who held it up expertly, before launching a monster ball/punt upfield for the overlapping run of Chris North. However, the ball was overhit and the danger seemed to be snuffed out by the visiting keeper, who looked and played like Ross Glumart circa 2011. He inexplicably rushed outside his box, went to pick the ball up, realised he was outside his box, failed to kick it, and North delightfully profited from the bizarre episode by rounding him and sticking the ball home.

The Irons started the second half much more brightly as they pressed the Grays midfield into making mistakes in possession, and within five minutes of the restart Sam Miles made it five with another goal which was started and finished by the same man. Miles headed away a corner, which made it's way to Liddard on the half-way line, his deft ball found the run of Chris North who advanced into the area before squaring to Miles who tucked the ball past the keeper for his second of the season.

Another lighting quick counter-attacking move from the Irons. Miles could have had another minutes later, after good work from Scott Boyce on the left wing, he found Miles' near-post run, and Miles' deft near-post finish was only just parried round the post by the keeper. Gary Skinner then replaced Tony Mehegan at right-back for his Geeks debut. Liddard had a few more chances to get his third, but it would seem his hat-trick would evade him until Miles was cynically felled in the box. However, Liddard could only skew his finish wide.

Grays registered a goal after a questionable free-kick decision. The ball into the box was massively overhit and nestled into the net beyond Trevor Garrard's goo-stained hands. Despite Garrard's explanation, this effort was nothing like Ashley Young's midweek effort.

Nathan Stafford replaced John Coates for the final stages with Batterbee dropping into the midfield four. It looked like he would get on the scoresheet as Liddard found himself free in the Grays box in stoppage time, with the keeper drawn. It looked liked a square ball for Stafford to tap into an empty net was an inevitability, but Liddard, still smarting from his penalty miss, shot straight down the keeper's throat as the ref blew for full-time.

So another comprehensive victory for the Geeks, who will look to take this form into next week's encounter with MK Dons.

* Something to say about this story? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

Related News