West Ham Utd 5 Burnley 3

  • by Staff Writer
  • Sunday, 29th November 2009

West Ham went goal crazy at the Boleyn this afternoon - although the win was soured somewhat by yet another late defensive collapse.

Gianfranco Zola's side surged into a 3-0 half time lead before extending their advantage to five just after the hour mark. However three late Burnley goals - the last coming with the visitors having been reduced to ten men - did little to assuage worries regarding United's leaky defence.

In complete contrast to the last campaign, the Irons have had few troubles scoring goals but cannot stop conceding them either. In their last eleven games, Zola's team have conceded at least twice on TEN occasions - and three on no less than five occasions.

But the reason West Ham aren't floundering at the bottom of the Premier League - albeit not far from it - is that they just can't stop scoring either. With 15 goals coming from their last six games the Irons - beaten only once during that period - are doing just enough to keep their heads above water.

With the news that Matthew Upson was being forced to sit this one out Gianfranco Zola was forced into yet another defensive reshuffle. Danny Gabbidon, ineffective at left-back last weekend was moved intot the centre with Herita Ilunga returning on the left. Julien Faubert was replaced at right-back by Jonathan Spector whilst Radoslav Kovac came in for the stricken Valon Behrami.

Burnley were millimetres away from opening the scoring after nine minutes when Clarke Carlisle climbed above Danny Gabbidon to nod a corner goalbound. Not for the first time, Scott Parker was on hand to clear Carlisle's effort from the line.

But that was as near as Burnley got for the next hour as the Irons went goal crazy, scoring five times in just 46 minutes - the first of which came from Jack Collison who was expertly picked out by the aforementioned Parker from a dead ball situation. Parker, fouled some 30 yads from goal picked the ball up and delivered it instantly to the alert Collison who slipped it beyond Brian Jensen to make it 1-0.

West Ham doubled their lead in the 34th minute when Junior Stanislas latched on to a superb through ball from Guillermo Franco. The youngster saw his initial effort saved at point blank range before rifling the rebound behind a poorly-positioned Jensen into the far corner.

The final goal of a breathtaking first half came two minutes from the break after Spector was brought down following a pacy burst into the penalty box. Carlton Cole, without a goal for the Irons since scoring at Sunderland last month smashed home the resulting penalty to give United a commanding half time advantage.

Fears of yet another second half collapse were dispelled - albeit briefly - when Franco earned his reward for a strong performance, nodding home a Stanislas free kick from close range six minutes into the second period. Luis Jimenez, who had been on the field for just five minutes having replaced Franco then converted West Ham's second penalty of the day on 64 minutes after he himself had been felled by the clumsy Jensen to make it 5-0 - United's first five-goal haul in the Premier League since beating Derby 5-0 at Pride Park two years ago this very month.

But once again the Irons switched off having earned themselves a comfortable lead, and somehow managed to concede three goals in a dreadful final half-hour. With a number of players guilty of switching off, the Clarets took full advantage - starting with Steven Fletcher who made it 5-1 three minutes after Jimenez had scored what turned out to be West Ham's final goal of the day; Fletcher tapping home a low cross from the left by Chris Eagles, easily Burnley's best player of the day.

Eight minutes later it was 5-2 when Fletcher scored a virtually identical goal with West Ham's central defensive partnership of Da Costa and Gabbidon at sixes and sevens. Yet again Rob Green looked far from convincing - although that was perhaps understandable given what was going on in front of him.

With the game on the verge of entering injury time Burnley were reduced to ten men when Steven Caldwell received his marching orders having pulled down substitute Zavon hines on the perimeter of the penalty box. Hines, who had latched on to Caldwell's weak back pass was favourite to reach the ball before Jensen but Caldwell saw to that by tugging the young striker's shirt - a fairly clear professional foul.

Having conceded goals against ten men Fulham, Arsenal and Sunderland already this season it was therefore no surprise when ten men Burnley added a third goal in the fifth minute of added-on time; the provider turned goalscorer as former Manchester United winger Eagles beat an apoplectic Green from close range.

So despite having scored five for the first time in two years - not however in record time, for more on that click here - most fans left the game feeling a little disappointed having seen the Irons once again capitulate having gained a strong foothold in the game. Although the three points are most welcomed at this current time and keep the Irons above the relegation zone, the defensive errors that are littering West Ham's game simply have to be eradicated, and soon.

Worries regarding the club's ownership and perilous financial situation are clearly having an effect on the team, but with the likes of David Gold and Tony Fernandes present at the game today one can only hope that a positive resolution can be reached soon.

West Ham United 5 Burnley 3: Match Facts

West Ham United: Green, Spector, Da Costa, Gabbidon, Ilunga, Collison (Faubert 77), Parker, Kovac, Stanislas, Franco (Jimenez 60), Cole (Hines 46).

Subs not used: Kurucz, Tomkins, Noble, Nouble.

Goals: Collison (18), Stanislas (33), Cole (pen, 43), Franco (51), Jimenez (pen, 64).

Booked: Kovac (54), Ilunga (84).

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan (Kalvenes 55), Eagles, Alexander (McDonald 70), Bikey, Elliott, Blake (Nugent 55), Fletcher

Subs not used: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, Thompson.

Goals: Fletcher (68, 74), Eagles (90+5).

Booked: Jensen (90).

Sent off: Caldwell (90).

Referee: Chris Foy.

Attendance: 34,003.

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