Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United played to a stalemate in Lancashire on
Some resolute defending helped West Ham United earn a creditable draw with
Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
On a deceptively chilly afternoon at Ewood Park, a whole-hearted team
display led by James Collins kept the physical threat of the home side at
bay. West Ham had chances of their own, but found their hosts in equally
Gianfranco Zola reverted to the side that started against Tottenham Hotspur
eight days previously, so there were four changes from the side that began
the 3-1 Carling Cup second-round win over Millwall on Tuesday.
Zola, on his return to the ground where he made his Premier League debut as
a player some 13 years earlier, recalled Matthew Upson, who was joined in
central defence by Collins. Further forward, Mark Noble and Luis Jimenez
were back in the side. James Tomkins, Danny Gabbidon, Radoslav Kovac and
Josh Payne made way.
The home side gave a debut to Pascal Chimbonda at left-back. Former Real
Madrid defender Michel Salgado was on the bench.
After a couple of half chances for Cole, the first real opening of note fell
to Rovers on ten minutes following a free-kick awarded against Collins after
he tangled with Morten Gamst Pedersen. The Wales international was booked
and David Dunn floated a free-kick in that resulted in Jason Roberts heading
wide when well placed.
Cole had his clearest opening ten minutes later and, if there was ever to be
a perfect example of doing the hard work this was it. Cole brushed three
Blackburn players off the ball to create space for a shot on the angle. But
once the England forward had fashioned the opening, he put his shot high and
wide when trying to find the top corner.
Minutes later the Hammers put together another passing move that saw Jimenez
denied a goal only by a superb last-ditch tackle by Chimbonda. Blackburn
then came close at the other end with Julien Faubert helping a fierce
Christopher Samba shot over the bar with his head.
Indeed it appeared that last-ditch tackles and blocks were the order of the
match with Collins, on his 100th league start, making a couple of
particularly eye-watering blocks.
The Hammers started the second half strongly with Cole and Collins both
going close with driven efforts as the home support among the 23,421 grew
Noble became the second Hammer to go into referee Phillip Dowd's book for a
late tackle on Dunn. Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce, who had only
lost twice in 12 games at Ewood Park since becoming manager, was concerned
enough to make his first change on the hour with David Hoilett coming on for
West Ham responded with a change of their own as the impressive Jimenez made
way for Kieron Dyer, who was back in the squad after recovering from a
muscle injury. Dunn was then booked for a foul on the new substitute while
Allardyce brought on Nikola Kalinic for his home debut.
But it was another substitute who was to have the chance of the match as a
through pass split the Hammers back line to give Hoilett a run in on goal.
With Green stranded off his line the Canadian opted to try a chip which
seemed to take an eternity to float over the crossbar.
A foul by Upson on Dunn on the edge of the area created a few nervous
moments but thankfully Pedersen's curler flew narrowly over.
The Hammers' final change saw Radoslav Kovac come on for Collison for the
final few minutes. But the Czech international will have seen little action
at either end as the Hammers picked up their 700th point in the Premier
Blackburn 0-0 West Ham United
All the action from West Ham United's Barclays Premier League visit to Ewood
Blackburn Rovers v West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 29 August
Referee: Phil Dowd
Full-time - Blackburn Rovers 0-0 West Ham United
95 min - Dowd blows the whistle and that is it. West Ham have not let in a
goal away from home yet this season, which is a positive heading into the
international break. Zola will be pleased enough with a point from this
game, which, on paper, was not the easiest.
94 min - Another superb block from Collins to stop Samba's volley. Blackburn
have a late, late corner. Pedersen delivers and Samba is penalised for a
foul on Green. Surely, that will be that?
93 min - Just seconds to go and both teams are giving the ball away with
91 min - 23,421 fans have 'enjoyed' this game this afternoon. It has not
been a great spectacle, I must admit. We're 90 seconds into added-time and
no nearer an opening goal.
90 min - Superb play from Collins saves the day for the Hammers. Samba holds
off Spector and drills the ball across the face of goal, where the Wales
defender does brilliantly to hack the ball clear under pressure from
Kalinic. We're going to have at least three minutes of added-time.
89 min - A minute to go and Blackburn have another long throw opportunity
level with the West Ham penalty area. Pedersen hurls the ball in and Spector
88 min - Dunn has been Blackburn's most potent attacking threat and it is
from his prompting that Kalinic finds Hoilett, but the youngster's shot is
dragged just wide of the far post.
87 min - Collison is replaced by Kovac. I reckon that sums up Zola's aims
for the remaining three minutes plus added-time. A nil-nil draw will do the
West Ham boss nicely.
85 min - Samba outjumps Collins for about the first time all afternoon. The
ball drops to Kalinic, but the Croat's overhead kick is too close to Green.
Radoslav Kovac is going to come on at the next break in play.
84 min - A loose pass in the Blackburn midfield is picked up by Parker. He
finds Stanislas, who has the chance to play in Cole, but instead the
youngster opts to shoot and blazes high and not very handsome.
83 min - Another Pedersen long throw flicks off Upson's head and falls to
Kalinic. The ball is fed back to Hoilett, who drops his shoulder but sees
his low shot blocked by Faubert.
81 min - Into the final ten minutes and both Nouble and Hines are warming
up. I suspect Zola will settle for a point now, though.
80 min - After an age of messing about, Pedersen curls the free-kick over
78 min - Parker is the third Hammer to be booked for a foul on Dunn and
Rovers have a free-kick on the edge of the box.
77 min - Hoilett comes within a yard of giving Blackburn the lead. Collison
loses the ball deep in the Rovers half to Pedersen. The Norwegian finds
Dunn, who curls a delightful pass into Hoilett's path with the outside of
his right foot. Hoilett bears down on Green, who is stationed near the edge
of his area, but the youngster's shot clears both the goalkeeper and the
76 min - Dunn goes down in the box, but nothing is given and the midfielder
gets a talking to from Scott Parker for his troubles.
75 min - Nikola Kalinic makes his home debut for Rovers, replacing Roberts.
The crowd boos the decision to replace the striker.
74 min - Nearly brilliant from Parker, who goes on a slalom run past two
Blackburn challenges before trying to thread the ball through to Stanislas.
Unfortunately, the pass is slightly overhit. Dunn is shown the yellow card
for a foul on Dyer inside the centre circle.
72 min - There is shot on target number 12 from David Dunn. Pedersen and
Hoilett work the opening for the former England U21 man, but his curler
thuds into Green's midriff.
70 min - According to the stats, we've had eleven shots on target in this
game. The statistics, I can assure you, do not tell the full story about
proceedings. As I type, Dunn drags another effort disappointingly wide.
68 min - A half-chance for the lightning quick Hoilett, but the Canadian
youngster scuffs into the side-netting.
66 min - Samba meets Dunn's corner, but is unable to get any pace on his
header and Green grabs the ball with ease. As predicted, Zola brings on Dyer
65 min - Jimenez tricks his way to the edge of the Blackburn box, but his
touch lets him down and the chance is lost. Rovers break and force a corner
off Faubert. Dunn to take...
64 min - This game is crying out for some quality in the attacking third. Is
it time for Kieron Dyer? Or perhaps Frank Nouble or midweek scorer Zavon
61 min - Faubert finds Stanislas with a glorious crossfield pass. The winger
crosses to Cole, who is challenged by Givet and the ball breaks to Parker 30
yards out. The England midfielder shoots...well wide.
60 min - Blackburn make a change. Youngster David Hoilett replaces Nzonzi.
Hoilett notched in the Carling Cup in midweek and is sporting some nice red
57 min - The home fans are getting a bit restless with their side's
inability to create chances. No sign of cinema fan Salgado yet, but Kieron
Dyer and Danny Gabbidon are warming up on the touchline.
54 min - West Ham's last goalless draw at Blackburn was in December 1980.
Meanwhile, Noble is booked for a foul on David Dunn. Pedersen floats the
ball in, Samba heads goalwards and Green makes an easy catch.
51 min - Blackburn win a free-kick on the left touchline. Dunn's delivery is
awful and Green claims the ball with ease.
49 min - Jimenez takes a tumble over the advertising hoarding in the process
of winning a corner off Chimbonda. Noble takes and finds Cole at the near
post, He lays the ball off to Collins, but the defender's shot flies high
and wide of the near post.
48 min - Ooohs from the away fans as Cole lets fly with a left-foot ping
from 25 yards. Robinson might have got a touch on that, but referee Dowd
gives a goal kick.
47 min - A little bit too intricate inside the Rovers penalty area from
Stanislas, who cannot poke the ball through to Cole following a neat
build-up down the right involving Noble and Collison.
46 min - West Ham get us back underway...
No changes for either side at half-time. Will we see a goal during the
second 45 minutes?
Blackburn's players are first back out on to the pitch and are doing a
little warm-up exercise along the touchline. For some unknown reason, the
floodlights are on here at Ewood Park...
Half-time - Blackburn Rovers 0-0 West Ham United
47 min - Cole receives a bit of treatment after Grella falls on top of him.
The big man is back on just in time to hear Dowd's half-time whistle.
46 min - Blackburn fashion a shooting chance after Pedersen's cross is
smashed against Collins by Upson. The Welshman clears, but only to Dunn,
whose follow-up effort is cleared. We're going to have one extra minute.
45 min - That is comfortably the worst effort of the day from Nzonzi, whose
25-yarder flies about the same distance over the top.
44 min - West Ham get a few bodies forward, with Noble, Cole and Jimenez all
inside the penalty area waiting for Stanislas' cross, but the ball flies
over the top of them all and Jacobsen hacks clear.
41 min - Chimbonda gallops down the left wing and swaps passes with
Pedersen. He appears to have lost control of the ball, but it sits up well
for the full-back, whose curling shot is straight at Green.
38 min - More good defending from Collins denies Dunn again after Roberts
had laid off Jacobsen's cross.
35 min - Samba, Grella and Pedersen combine down the middle of the pitch to
find Dunn. The midfielder skips past a challenge before being stopped by a
fine challenge from Collins. Had he got past the Welshman, Dunn would have
been through on goal.
33 min - Collison finds Jimenez with a defence-splitting pass, but the South
American just cannot get the ball under control under pressure from Givet,
and he can only stab it through to Robinson.
30 min - Green has to be alert after Spector slices his clearance straight
up in the air. The goalkeeper comes out and punches the ball clear of the
danger area. Seconds later, Green does well again to prevent a corner after
Spector heads the ball back to him a little bit too powerfully.
28 min - Superb touch from Cole to control Green's goal kick. The forward
held off Givet with ease before killing the ball on his right instep. Very
27 min - Rovers come close through Samba, but his shot clips Faubert's head
on its way over. Pedersen whips in the corner and Dunn heads well over the
23 min - Good football again from the visitors. Parker clips the ball over
the Rovers defence for Cole, whose shot is blocked into the path of Jimenez.
The Chilean looks odds-on to open his account in a claret and blue shirt,
only for Chimbonda to deny him with a miraculous block. A minute later, the
full-back repeats his trick and West Ham win a corner. Noble takes, but it
comes to nothing.
22 min - West Ham are giving away far too many free-kicks around their own
penalty area. Noble is the latest culprit, pushing Pedersen. This one is
central, about 30 yards out. David Dunn waves Samba away. Pedersen shoots
and the ball hits the top of the wall and skips through to Green.
20 min - Cole nearly scores the goal of the season! The striker holds off a
challenge in midfield, with referee Dowd putting his whistle to his lips to
blow for a foul before allowing Cole to go on. He beats Jacobsen and Givet
with a neat turn and then out-muscles Samba inside the box, only to lift his
shot over the crossbar from an acute angle.
18 min - Noble and Faubert contrive to give the ball away. Pedersen swings
in a cross, and Green dives bravely between Upson and Roberts to claim the
ball. Good goalkeeping, that.
17 min - Signs that West Ham are starting to find their feet here.
15 min - Super football from West Ham ends with Jimenez slipping a pass to
Cole. The big man hits his shot well and first-time, only for Samba to make
a lunging block. The ball breaks to Stanislas 25 yards from goal, but his
effort is blocked by Grella. That's the Hammers' best passage of play so
13 min - Cole is looking a little bit isolated up front at the moment.
Stanislas and Jimenez need to get closer to him to benefit from the big
10 min - Jack Collison does some fine work down the left flank, holding off
three Rovers players before winning a throw-in close to the corner flag.
Unfortunately, all his hard work comes to nothing and Blackburn clear with
9 min - A booking for James Collins, who pleads his innocence after Pedersen
falls under his challenge a couple of yards outside the penalty area. Dunn
takes the resulting free-kick, Samba heads the ball down and Roberts stabs
it just wide at the far post. That was a close-call for Zola's men.
8 min - Another half-chance for Cole. Stanislas struts inside Jacobsen and
clips a cross to the near-post, where the England striker can only flick his
6 min - Robinson comes almost to the halfway line to take a free-kick. The
ball falls to Dunn, who wins a corner off Parker. Pedersen has a bit of
trouble placing the ball inside the quadrant. When he does, he whips the
ball into the near post, where Noble heads clear. Pedersen scored direct
from a corner in midweek, so West Ham will have to be aware of that trick
from the Norwegian.
5 min - Ewood Park is buzzing. The reason is nothing to do with what is
going on on the pitch. Instead, the home fans are excited by the sight of
former Turkey and Rovers midfielder Tugay, who walks into the ground and in
front of the Walkersteel Stand before taking his seat on the home bench.
4 min - It's been a quiet start so far. Faubert's backpass puts Green under
pressure and he concedes a needless throw-in. Pedersen launches another bomb
into the penalty area, where Samba can only divert the ball out for a goal
1 min - Nzonzi wins an early throw, which Pedersen launches into the danger
zone. Upson heads the ball against team-mate Spector, but Green claims it
easily. West Ham break and Cole gets clear of Samba, but his right-foot
finish is weak and rolls straight to Robinson.
3.01pm - Blackburn are going to get us underway attacking the Darwen End.
2.57pm - Here come the two teams... Blackburn are led out by goalkeeper Paul
Robinson, while Matthew Upson is wearing the armband after temporarily
handing it to Scott Parker in midweek.
2.53pm - A first chorus of 'Bubbles' from the visiting faithful. The Hammers
supporters are up in the top tier of the Darwen End, for those of you who
know Ewood Park. For those that don't, the Darwen End is the one to the
right as you look at the pitch on the television.
2.50pm - Both sets of players have headed back to the dressing rooms. The
fans are being treated to an interview on the big screen with former Real
Madrid and Spain right-back Michel Salgado, who is on the subs bench for
Blackburn today. We have just learned that Salgado likes to go to the
2.41pm - The sun has come out. I'm not sure it'll be around for long,
though, so I thought it was worthy of mention. For now, Ewood is bathed in
sunlight. Chelsea have beaten Burnley 3-0 in the day's early kick-off. The
result is met with a small round of applause from the Blackburn fans, no
doubt pleased with the demise of their Lancashire rivals.
2.40pm - The starting ten outfield players are going through a series of
stretches with first-team coach Kevin Keen, while the substitutes are
engaging in a spot of 'two-touch'. In the goalmouth, Academy goalkeeping
coach Jerome John is again filling in for Ludek Miklosko, who is nursing
with a back injury. On the goalkeeping front, Canada Under-20 stopper Adam
Street has travelled with the first-team squad this weekend. He is going
through a few warm-up exercises with John, Robert Green and Peter Kurucz.
2.30pm - It's a cloudy, slightly chilly afternoon here in Lancashire. Ewood
Park is slowly filling up, with dozens of fans standing in front of the
Riverside Stand. West Ham's supporters are gathered in the Darwen End. A win
this afternoon should be enough to take the Hammers back into the top half
of the Barclays Premier League table. Pascal Chimbonda is making his Rovers
debut after joining the club from Tottenham in midweek, while David Dunn and
Australia midfielder Vince Grella are making their first league starts of
Gianfranco Zola has named the same starting eleven as lined up for the
Barclays Premier League visit of Tottenham Hotspur six days ago.
West Ham United will seek to maintain their perfect record on their travels,
having started the season with a 2-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on 15
August. Since then, the Hammers have been beaten 2-1 at home by Tottenham
before bouncing back to winning ways with a 3-1 Carling Cup second round
victory over Millwall on Tuesday evening.
West Ham are unbeaten in their last three visits to Ewood Park. Their most
recent visit, on 21 March, ended in a 1-1 draw. Mark Noble opened the
scoring before Irish midfielder Keith Andrews levelled matters.
The Hammers are without the injured Herita Ilunga (jaw), while new signing
Alessandro Diamanti is awaiting international clearance. Long-term absentee
Valon Behrami (knee) is back in full training and could be in contention for
the trip to Wigan Athletic in a fortnight's time.
Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Jacobsen, Chimbonda, Samba, Givet, Dunn, Nzonzi
(Hoilett 60), Grella, Andrews, Pedersen, Roberts (Kalinic 75)
Subs: Brown, Salgado, Emerton, Khizinashvili, Olsen
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Spector, Parker, Collison
(Kovac 87), Noble, Jimenez (Dyer 66), Stanislas, Cole
Subs: Kurucz, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Nouble, Hines
Defence delights Zola
Gianfranco Zola was pleased with his side's defensive display in the
goalless draw at Blackburn
Gianfranco Zola made a strong case for his defence after West Ham United
battled to a hard-fought goalless Barclays Premier League draw at Blackburn
Central defenders James Collins and Matthew Upson - back in after being
rested in favour of Danny Gabbidon and James Tomkins in midweek - and
goalkeeper Robert Green led the way as Zola's side repelled Rovers' aerial
bombardment at Ewood Park.
Collins, in particular, was a rock, throwing himself in front of shot after
shot, clearing cross after cross and heading clear a series of long throws,
corners and free-kicks into the Hammers penalty area.
The manager was fulsome in his praise for his back-four and goalkeeper.
"James was really good, to be honest. He played a good game. The two
centre-backs were vital for us because of the kind of play they have. They
were really good."
Saturday's draw came at the end of a long and arduous week for everyone at
the club, and Zola excused his players their inability to seal a second
consecutive away league win.
The Hammers were playing their third match in six days, while the squad have
also had a number of difficult incidents to deal with during the past week.
As such, a determined display was no more than the manager could ask for
going into the two-week international break.
"The whole team in the first half was quite bright. Obviously I knew that as
the game became longer and longer that, physically-wise, we were going to
drop something because of the game we played on Tuesday [against Millwall in
the Carling Cup].
"It's okay because once again we defended very well and that is something
that is important. We have to work and improve going forward because, in the
first half, we had a couple of chances which, in my opinion, if West Ham
wants to go for high positions, we have to take.
"We will be working on that but, considering all the circumstances, I was
pleased with the team. That was the third game we had played in six days, so
I have to admit it was quite difficult.
"It was a good end to the week, considering that Blackburn is a difficult
team to play against and they were desperate for points. Considering
everything, it was a good result. I want my team to do much better than
this, and we most certainly will, but I must be pleased."
Zola was also happy with the performances of midfielder Jack Collison, who
yet again demonstrated his immense character just six days after the death
of his father.
"After everything that has happened to him, he must be drained. He has also
played three games. He is a strong boy and I am sure he can cope with the
situation very well, as he has done."
While Zola's players will be heading off to all corners of the globe to
represent their respective national teams, the manager said he would review
the squad situation ahead of Tuesday's transfer deadline with technical
director Gianluca Nani and CEO Scott Duxbury, having just captured forward
"I think another one wouldn't cause any harm. Carlton Cole is doing great
but I can't pretend that Carlton is going to play every game. He also has
games with the national team to be up there all the time, so he will need
some rest. So we need to consider looking for a replacement for him."
Bolton next up in cup
West Ham United have been drawn to face Bolton Wanderers in the Carling Cup
West Ham United have been drawn away to fellow Barclays Premier League side
Bolton Wanderers in the Carling Cup third round.
The Hammers reached the last-32 after overcoming Millwall 3-1 after
extra-time at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday evening.
Against the Lions, who took an early lead through Neil Harris, Junior
Stanislas netted a brace before substitute Zavon Hines completed the
The 1966 and 1981 runners-up, who were ball No31 in Saturday's draw, have
faced the Trotters four times before the League Cup, winning 4-1 at the
third-round stage in October 1967 and 7-2 in a second-round tie in September
More recently, Bolton won 3-1 in a fourth-round tie at the Boleyn Ground in
November 1994, while Wanderers also tasted victory in October 2005, winning
1-0 in a third-round fixture at the Reebok Stadium.
The third round will also see the entry of the Barclays Premier League's
participants in European competition into the tournament.
Full third-round draw:
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion
Chelsea v Queens Park Rangers
Bolton Wanderers v West Ham United
Barnsley v Burnley
Hull City v Everton
Leeds United v Liverpool
Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manchester City v Fulham
Sunderland v Birmingham City
Peterborough United v Newcastle United
Carlisle United v Portsmouth
Nottingham Forest v Blackburn Rovers
Stoke City v Blackpool
Scunthorpe United v Port Vale
Preston North End v Tottenham Hotspur
Aston Villa v Cardiff City
Ties will be played in the week commencing Monday 21 September.
Martin's national pride
Alvin Martin has urged West Ham United's England internationals to aim for
next year's World Cup
Alvin Martin has urged West Ham United's band of England internationals to
do everything they can to be part of Fabio Capello's 2010 FIFA World Cup
squad. Capello will name his squad for the vital qualifier against Croatia
following this weekend's Barclays Premier League trip to Blackburn Rovers,
with Hammers trio Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole all hopeful
of being involved. Should England beat former West Ham defender Slaven
Bilic's side at Wembley on Wednesday 9 September, they will reach next
summer's finals in South Africa. Hammers legend Martin earned 17 England
caps between 1980 and 1986, appearing in the 1986 World Cup second round win
over Paraguay in Mexico. The central defender, who amassed 586 appearances
for the club, said international success at next year's World Cup finals
would be the highlight of a player's career, and urged to Green, Upson and
Cole to grasp the opportunity to shine. "I had 22 years as a club player at
West Ham, but people around the country will always recognise you more for
your international experiences. "I had the experience of playing at the
World Cup in 1986, which I shall never forget. Sir Bobby Robson picked me
against Paraguay in the second round and then left me out against Argentina
in the quarter-finals. I still look back and wonder why I was dropped, but
Maradona would have done the same to me as he did to the other defenders
England will prepare for the visit of Croatia - who they beat 4-1 in the
reverse fixture in Zagreb a year ago - by hosting Slovenia a week on
Saturday. Green has started each of England's last three matches, while Cole
was an impressive substitute in the 2-2 draw in The Netherlands earlier this
month. Upson, meanwhile, has been a regular member of Capello's squads since
the Italian took charge in February 2008.
Blackburn 0 - 0 West Ham
By David McIntyre
Neither side could break the deadlock in a dismal game at Ewood Park.
Blackburn substitute David Hoilett had the home team's best chances after
twice being found by David Dunn. But he fired wide from close range and was
then unlucky with a clever chip from outside the area which beat keeper Rob
Green but went over the bar. Carlton Cole went close for West Ham in the
first half when he raced away from three Rovers defenders but was unable to
get his shot on target. A point at least saved Rovers from a defeat that
would have meant they had lost their opening three league games for the
first time since 1947. But that was little consolation for their supporters,
many of whom made their disgust clear at the final whistle. West Ham were
also unimpressive but boss Gianfranco Zola, who was "completely shocked" by
crowd trouble during the midweek game against Millwall, will have been
cheered by his team's spirited display. Manager Zola is short of options in
attack and was unable to complete the signing of striker Alessandro Diamanti
from Italian side Livorno in time for him to be included in the Hammers
squad. That meant Cole operated as a lone frontman, with on-loan Inter Milan
midfielder Luis Jimenez pushing forward to support him. Cole did unsettle
the Rovers defence at times and created the best chance of the first half.
The former Chelsea man collected Scott Parker's pass and sneaked between
Lars Jacobsen and Vince Grella before out-sprinting Chris Samba and firing
high and wide from an awkward angle.
The home side struggled to get going and new signing Pacsal Chimbonda,
making his Blackburn debut, twice had to move across from left-back to
superbly tackle Jiminez as he was about to shoot. Blackburn's best opening
of the first half came when Samba headed Dunn's free-kick towards Jason
Roberts, who stretched to poke the ball into the side netting. Rovers
themselves lacked a cutting edge up front and missed Benni McCarthy, who sat
out the game because of an ankle problem. Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce
introduced Canadian-born forward Hoilett - known as Junior rather than David
- on the hour-mark. The 19-year-old had an opportunity to open the scoring
but shot wide of the near post from the edge of the six-yard box after
latching onto Dunn's pass. Hoilett then returned the compliment by picking
out Dunn, whose tame shot was comfortably held by Green. That prompted
Allardyce to send on £6m summer signing Nikola Kalinic for his home debut.
The lanky Croatian striker offered Rovers an aerial option, but their best
chance in the closing stages came when Dunn again set up Hoilett - this time
on the break following a West Ham attack. Dunn looked up and found Hoilett
with a fine pass with the outside of his right foot and the youngster did
well to lift the ball over Green, but also lifted it over the bar.
Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen tried his luck with a late free-kick,
which also went over.
• Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce: "We're building well, but the results
are not reflecting that. "We're creating chances but not taking them. At
least we have got the defensive side sorted and we got stronger as the game
went on and could have won it. "We played the way we did because of the
players we had available - and we played it very well. All you punters and
supporters out there, leave it to me. I'm the expert, not you."
• West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola: "It was difficult because this was our
third game in six days and the other day against Millwall we played for 120
minutes, and it was a very exhausting game. "We found that in the second
half our performance dropped a bit, but we defended well and deserved a
draw, and I'm happy with that. "In the first half we played quite well and
Carlton Cole had a clear chance for us. But in the second half they also had
a clear chance, so it's a good point for us."
West Ham United iFC 3 Millwall iFC 0
Filed: Saturday, 29th August 2009
By: Vincent White
Vinnie White reports on today's supporters' match at the Flanders...
Many thanks to Ian Toal and the guys from Millwall for coming over to
Flanders this morning to play us. After the stupidity of the minority on
Tuesday night, this iFA league match had the potential to follow suit and
further condemn the reputations of Millwall and West Ham fans. Fortunately,
what we got was what we always have when these sides meet. A competitive,
but fair match between two local rivals, both wanting to win. To spice
things up, Mike Staniforth of SkySports turned up with a camera crew to
record the game and get a positive story on the back of the negative week
both clubs have had. West Ham lined up with a strong looking XI with three
new players making their debuts after being recruited in the summer.
Heywood; Coates, Wells, Grey, North C; Day, Lester, Miles, Clancey; Gurney,
Bush (Sub: Wilder).
The game started in a quick fashion with both sides looking to work the ball
through the channels with neither side in particular creating any clear cut
chances. The breakthrough came for West Ham after around 30 minutes with the
ball being worked down the right hand side; Liam Clancey connected with a
looping cross to head home across the keeper.
1-0 to West Ham
West Ham saw the half out with relative comfort, but lost Adam Gurney to his
re-occuring back injury that has kept him out for so long. A change of
formation saw Andy Wilder replace Gurney and swap positions with Luke Day.
Half time saw the West Ham managerial duo empthasise the importance of
playing football the West Ham way, to keep the ball on the floor in the heat
and other opportunities will come along. We got our second within 10 minutes
of the second half. A surging run by Wilder saw him brought down wide on the
edge of the box. Up stepped Will Bush who sent in his free kick which evaded
everyone and ended up sailing into the top corner. New signing Tom Lester
swears blind he got a touch; I wasn't so sure.
2-0 to West Ham
After that, the game became a little stretched with both sides feeling the
heat and lack of fitness that comes with the first game of the season. West
Ham got their third with a long ball being sent forward that the Millwall
defence failed to deal with. Liam Clancey followed the ball through and got
a touch before the keeper into an empty net.
3-0 to West Ham
After that, the game was over. To be fair to the Millwall lads, the
scoreline somewhat flatters us. There were probably six shots in the entire
game, three each. We just happened to take all of ours.
Without wishing to spout clichés, the real winner in this game was football.
There were no nasty tackles, no fights, no idiots running on the pitch.
Every player on the pitch today has a season ticket with his respective
club. That's what real support is about. SkySports tell us the story will
run on Sunday. Keep a look out for this. I look forward to the return
fixture at Millwall in a month's time.
West Ham goalscorers: Bush, Clancey (2).
Fiorentina bid for Upson
Serie A club want West Ham defender
Last updated: 30th August 2009
Sky Sports News understands Fiorentina have made a bid for West Ham defender
Matthew Upson. The Serie A club are believed to have tabled a formal offer
for the former Manchester City and Everton target. West Ham have yet to
confirm or deny the bid and Sky Sports News' chief news reporter Bryan
Swanson has been told, by sources in Italy, that the Italians believe they
can persuade Upson to adapt to a new life in Serie A. Swanson says West Ham
must now decide whether to take the money and use it to buy other players
because Upson will no longer be a threat in the Premier League.Gianfranco
Zola has previously said that he would be happy for Upson to stay with the
club and had hoped the England international would not leave. However,
Fiorentina can offer Upson the chance to play in the UEFA Champions League
after the Viola were drawn in the same group as Liverpool. If the Hammers
decide to sell Upson, it could also impact on the future of his central
defensive partner James Collins, who is a target for Aston Villa. Zola has
confirmed there has been interest from Villa, but the Hammers boss is
unlikely to want to lose two defenders before the close of the transfer
Zola confirms Collins interest
Villa step up pursuit of Hammers defender
Last updated: 30th August 2009
West Ham United boss Gianfranco Zola has confirmed Aston Villa have shown an
interest in signing James Collins. The Wales international has been tracked
by Stoke City in recent weeks, with Tony Pulis having been hopeful of luring
the defender to the Britannia Stadium. However, Villa have now emerged as
favourites to sign Collins in a £5million deal before the close of the
transfer window on Tuesday. Collins' performance in Saturday's 0-0 draw at
Blackburn Rovers was praised by Zola, who also admitted the centre-half
could be leaving West Ham. "James was really good, to be honest," said Zola.
"He played a good game. "Considering the rumours around him, his
concentration is 100 per cent spot on. "Villa have said they are interested
in him, so we'll see what happens." Villa manager Martin O'Neill has been
looking to improve his defensive options over the summer after losing Martin
Laursen to retirement and selling Zat Knight to Bolton. A £6million deal has
been agreed with Manchester City for Richard Dunne and Collins could join
the Irishman in heading to Villa Park.
Solid Hammers thwart Blackburn
Rovers dominate but cannot make breakthrough
Last updated: 29th August 2009
Man of the Match: David Dunn. The 29-year-old was influential on his return
to the Premier League as virtually all of Blackburn's attacks were
channelled through him.
Miss of the Match: Carlton Cole. The England striker evaded the Blackburn
defence with a fantastic run in the first-half but, after doing the hard
part, failed to apply the easy finish.
Moment of the Match: Substitute Junior Hoilett had a fantastic opportunity
to win the match but after being played clean through, his chip was
agonisingly over the bar.
Talking Point: David Dunn seemed to slip over innocuously in the area but
later replays showed that his standing leg may have been taken away by Scott
Blackburn dominated possession but could not make a breakthrough against a
stern West Ham defence as the Ewood Park clash ended goalless. Rovers had
the better of the play during the first-half but it was the visitors who had
the best chance to break the deadlock during the first 45 minutes. Carlton
Cole muscled his way into the box and looked certain to finish off a
fantastic run but his shot sailed over the crossbar. Blackburn continued to
dominate the second-half but did not create the chances to match their
possession. Substitute Junior Hoilett almost snatched victory for the hosts
when he was played clean through by David Dunn but his delicate chip was
just off-target. The game began brightly with debutant Pascal Chimbonda's
surging run down the left touchline resulting in James Collins being booked
for a foul on Morten Gamst Pedersen. Chances
Dunn, making his first league appearance since April, lofted over the
ninth-minute free-kick which Chris Samba headed back across goal but the
stretching Jason R oberts could not divert the ball in. Samba was then
involved at the other end as some neat interplay between Junior Stanislas
and Luis Jimenez set up Cole, only for his shot to be blocked by the big
Rovers defender. The England striker was being kept on a tight rein by the
centre-back but when he burst into the penalty area Samba slipped to leave
Cole clear. He had a narrow angle from which to shoot but curled his
right-footed effort wide of the far post without drawing Paul Robinson into
a save. Chimbonda twice denied Jimenez with sliding blocks in the penalty
area before Samba, who was proving to be major player at both ends of the
field, fired over from the edge of the West Ham box. Three minutes into the
second half Cole lashed a 20-yard shot over Robinson's crossbar with
Collins' shot from Mark Noble's left-wing corner also too high.
Roberts was becoming increasingly isolated up front and in an attempt to
counter that manager Sam Allardyce replaced holding midfielder Steven
N'Zonzi with Hoilett. Gianfranco Zola's first change was to replace Jimenez
with Kieron Dyer, who made only his 10th appearance for the Hammers since
August 2007. Hoilett's first involvement was to shoot into the side-netting
from Dunn's reverse pass in the 68th minute before returning the favour only
for the midfielder to shoot straight at Green from 25 yards. Summer signing
Nikola Kalinic made his home debut when he replaced Roberts with 16 minutes
remaining. But it was fellow substitute Hoilett who should have broken the
deadlock in the 77th minute when Dunn picked him out during a swift
counter-attack with an incisive outside-of-the-foot pass. Green raced out to
meet the youngster who tried an audacious 20-yard chip which landed on the
roof of the net. It was the closest either side came to scoring on a
Zola rues heavy schedule
Players feeling effects of three-game week, says Hammers boss
Last updated: 29th August 2009
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola blamed burn-out for his side's lacklustre
display against Blackburn. The Hammers were fortunate to escape with a point
after coming under intense pressure from the hosts, who could not find a way
to get the ball in the net. The match was their third in six days, after a
tough defeat against Spurs last Sunday and draining extra-time victory over
rivals Millwall in the Carling Cup two days later. Zola claims his team paid
for their efforts in that match during the second half at Ewood Park.
"We certainly played better in the first half but in the second half we
couldn't maintain the same level of performance," he told Sky Sports after
the match. "This is the third game we've played in one week and many of them
played 120 minutes on Tuesday so we couldn't give any more than that. "But
it is a good point against a tough pitch and a tough team so I'm pleased
The Italian manager also dismissed suggestions that West Ham did not deserve
to emerge from the match with a point, saying a draw was a fair result. "We
had a couple of chances but to be fair they also had a couple of chances so
I think the result is the right one and just a pity that we couldn't play
this game in a better condition," he added.
West Ham had to cope with a lot of negative publicity in the run-up to the
match, with crowd trouble during their midweek clash making national
headlines. However, Zola claims that his side have faced down adversity
before and will have no problems giving their full concentration to on-field
matters. He said: "We've had a lot of things going on, it's been like that
since last year so, no problem, we're going to go through all these
Spence to stay with Iron
Hammers youngster to extend loan until the New Year
Last updated: 29th August 2009
Scunthorpe United have agreed a deal to keep West Ham United youngster
Jordan Spence on loan until January. Spence has yet to make his first-team
debut for the Hammers, but enjoyed a loan spell in League One with Leyton
Orient last season. He linked up with the Iron on an initial month-long loan
a fortnight ago and will now stay at Glanford Park until 1st January. The
England Under 19 international can play at centre-half and right-back, and
has quickly established himself in Nigel Adkins' side. Spence has started
four matches since joining the Championship club and featured in Saturday's
1-0 home defeat by Queens Park Rangers.
Allardyce - Luck will change
Blackburn boss admits finishing needs work
Last updated: 29th August 2009
Sam Allardyce insists that he is not concerned by Blackburn's stuttering
start to the Premier League season. Rovers played out a goalless draw with
West Ham at Ewood Park on Saturday, being unable to find the back of the net
despite outplaying their opponents. Substitute Junior Hoilett came closest
to breaking the deadlock but his chip was slightly misjudged and did not hit
the target. Allardyce admitted that he was frustrated by his side's
inability to find a goal but said that any suggestions Blackburn are
struggling would be wide of the mark. "If people looked at the table and saw
one point in three and thought: 'What a struggle Blackburn are having'," he
told Sky Sports after the match. "But if you look at the performances
overall then you have to stick by that performance and in the end that will
turn into good results for us. "I'm a little disappointed that Junior didn't
win it for us, he'd have been a hero today and probably would have deserved
to be the hero. "On two occasions, not just the one where he got through,
but he turned very well in the box and just pulled it wide but it wasn't to
be, but a good clean sheet and something to build on."
Blackburn lost 2-0 to Manchester City on the opening day and followed that
with a 2-1 defeat by Sunderland after squandering numerous chances to take
at least a point from the match. Although Allardyce admits that his players
need to work on creating more chances, he is confident luck will eventually
turn in Blackburn's favour. "It should have been more than a point on
reflection of the opportunities that we had today," he added. "We have been
a little shy in front of goal all season in terms of chances created and not
converted so when we got some half-chances we wanted to convert them if we
could. "In the first half I think Chris Samba's shot was going in and it
just touches Julien Faubert's head and goes over the bar. "When things are
going for you those sort of chances go in and at the moment they are not.
When it did come with Junior he didn't quite get it down under the bar but
it was a terrific show of technique and quality. "Those are the small
differences that make all the difference in the Premier League - it is all
about inches and at the moment we are the wrong side of those inches."
Vinny's Blackburn Report
Vinny - Sun Aug 30 2009
West Ham Online
Blackburn Rovers 0 West Ham United 0
After all the events that have taken place in the last week it was typical
that West Ham would take part in such a dire footballing spectacle.
The game saw very few goal scoring opportunities and despite some neat
football we never really looked like forcing a goal. With a little bit more
desire especially in the second half I think we could have won the game and
I was very disappointed that Gianfranco Zola decided to play for the point
with his tactics in the second period making sure no risk was taken in
search of a winner.
In the second half we were crying out for another striker to help Carlton
Cole and with Zavon Hines showing once again what he can do earlier in the
week against Millwall the last fifteen minutes was a perfect time for his
introduction but instead Radoslav Kovac was the one to come on.
Blackburn (or should that be Boltburn) played exactly as we thought they
might but with a lack of attackers it was an easy day for our defence who
were on top form especially James Collins who put in a very good
Zola made a number of changes to the side who defeated Millwall last Tuesday
evening. In defence, Collins and Upson were back in the side in place of
Tomkins and Gabbidon who both dropped to the bench.
In midfield, Mark Noble returned in place of Josh Payne with Junior
Stanislas keeping his place in the team despite Kieron Dyer returning from
injury. Dyer had to make do with a place on the bench.
Jimenez was back in the side in place of Kovac to support Carlton Cole who
was again up front on his own.
It was a lot colder in Blackburn than it has looked as the 1500 or so West
Ham fans took their place in the upper tier of the Darwan Stand. A few of
the fans were wearing T-Shirts celebrating the victory over Millwall with
'We 8 Pikeys' on the back. Needless to say I did not purchase one.
The first half saw us play some very neat football and when you do this
against a team like Blackburn you can't help but feel a bit of pride knowing
that the Blackburn faithful rarely get a chance to see the ball kept on the
The first chance of the game fell to the hosts when Pedersen and Collins
bumped into each other only for the ref to give Blackburn a free kick. The
ball was swung in by Dunn and eventually found it's way to the back post but
Jason Roberts was unable to convert as his outstretched leg only prodded the
Carlton Cole showed some wonderful skill when he got the ball and kicked the
ball forward losing three Blackburn players in the process. He used his
power and pace to get past Samba but his shot from a difficult angle when
It was around this time where we started to take control of the half with
Scott Parker seeing a lot of the ball and dictating where it would go. The
keep ball short passing game was pretty but it was clear that we lacked that
cutting edge to really hurt Blackburn although I was hopeful that Jimenez
was going to do something creative as he had looked sharp throughout.
More good work from Cole saw a shot blocked and the it came out to Jimenez
who looked poised to score but a quite magnificent block from Samba in the
Blackburn defence saved the home side from going a goal down.
The best chance of the half came for Blackburn when the ball was not cleared
by the defence and it was played out to the edge of the area to Samba but
his goal bound shot deflected off the head of Faubert and over the bar for a
corner. Without this deflection the ball would have flew past Green.
Blackburn seemed to be spurred on by this and had a view half chances with
Collins standing firm time and time again to make those last ditch blocks.
If this was to be Collins' last game for the club he was certainly showing
us what we would be missing as he put his body on the line.
I felt we had put in a decent performance in the first half although at
times we were wasteful in possession especially with that final ball. Noble
and Collison had not really got involved in the game but I think everyone
knew that if we just upped our game a little we could get the result here.
It was a shame that the second half was so poor because Blackburn were not
exactly all over us and there were chances for us to break but we never
looked as though we really wanted the game and too many players put in
average performances and were not performing to the level that they can.
Our only real shot came early on in the second period when Carlton Cole hit
a left foot effort which whistled just over the bar.
Like us, Blackburn had started the game with just one up front but made the
change to try and win the game by bringing on Dave Hoilett and the forward
who had probably the best chance of the game when Blackburn caught us on the
break and Dunn spotted the on running Hoilett who raced towards goal and
with Green way off his line he chipped him but the ball went over the bar.
From where I was sitting I was convinced that it was going in and breathed a
sign of relief when it didn't.
It was around this time where we simply had to try and although Dyer came on
he replaced Jimenez which did not really help matters in supporting Carlton
The change that was needed was Hines for Stanislas or even Noble but instead
Jack Collison came off for Radoslav Kovac in an obvious attempt to see out
the game and make sure we secure that point.
Maybe I am not looking at things in the correct way and that this was the
most sensible thing to do, after all how many times have we seen a West Ham
side losing by the odd goal away in some god forsaken place such as
Blackburn. But still, the attack minded impulse in me was desperate to see
us really up the tempo and beat a very average side.
If anyone was going to win the game it was Blackburn but their few half
chances were wasted and the game drifted away fizzling out with most people
glad of the final whistle.
A very poor game but of course that is two clean sheets in three games for
us and just shows from this time last year how far we have come as a
I do not actually recall him making a save which required much effort. Was
excellent once again at coming for crosses and his ability to get the
attacks going with his quick throws continued to be helpful.
Blackburn did not really have a decent left winger to really trouble and
with this Faubert saw his day revolve around getting forward which he did
well as we had nothing else on the right wing. This though was one of those
days when Faubert couldn't cross as road.
Superb. This was a really top performance from Collins who has been subject
to much transfer speculation. If he does go he would have gone out on a high
as he showed all his qualities. Last ditch tackles, countless blocks and
read everything Blackburn tried to do.
Looked very comfortable and his distribution was excellent.He can Collins
were far too strong for anything Blackburn had to offer.
Like Faubert he wasn't really troubled and for me it shows that we have
played three games and two of those had no decent wingers hence the clean
sheets. Any decent player will slaughter Spector and even in this
comfortable game he still managed to sky a few clearances.
Poor, and this was very disappointing as away from home Noble is usually the
one to shine. He never got in the game, he bottled a couple of tackles and
when he did get the ball he was too slow to release it. Noble was out on the
right today and maybe this is why he was ineffective.
With what has happened to him recently with regards to his father it is
difficult to write anything that will criticize the boy. He drifted in and
out of this game and never really got hold of the ball.
Another good performance from Parker who worked hard (as he always does) and
was the player dictating the play in the first half. Nearly gave away a
penalty in the second period when he appeared to clip Dunn but overall this
was another efficient performance.
Not once did he beat his man. I wouldn't have even minded if he had have
attempted it just once but there was no occasion when he saw fit to try and
take on the right back because he didn't want to go outside as this would
have meant crossing with his left foot. Instead he always came inside and
most of the time gave the ball away.
Looking better and better as the games go on. His off the ball movement in
the first half was fantastic and he was frustrated at times with the lack of
a pass through to him. Is obviously getting his match fitness to a good
level and I would expect to see him a big impact in the coming weeks.
The ball seemed to bounce off him a lot but he still showed some great
strength and skill to cause Blackburn a few problems. My main criticism of
him was the poor decisions he made when in possession. There was a moment in
the first half when he beat two Blackburn players with an easy pass to the
left to Stanislas available but he wanted to try and take on more players
and ended up losing the ball. He needs to release the ball much quicker.
Kieron Dyer (on for Jimenez 66 mins)
Struggled to get into the game and despite having a healthy amount of time
on the pitch he did not have the significant impact one would have hoped
Radoslav Kovac (on for Collison 87 mins)
No need for his introduction. If Collison had taken a knock there was still
no need as we could have brought on Hines or Nouble for the last few minutes
to actually try to win the game. Kovac again looked poor and this a bit of a
Subs Not Used: Gabbidon, Hines, Nouble, Tomkins, Kurucz
Bookings: Collins, Parker (2nd), Noble
Man Of The Match: James Collins
A point away from home is never a bad thing and a clean sheet to go with it
is always welcome but I think for anyone who saw the game they will know
what I mean when I say that I think with a bit more desire and belief we
could have won this game.
We were the better footballing side but did not create enough chances
especially in the second half where we seemed happy to keep the ball and
secure the draw.
Hopefully with the signing of Diamanti this will give us some more options
in the final third which is where we are lacking. We cannot count on scoring
fantastic goals from outside the area in every game.
Next Game - Wigan Athletic (a)
Away at Wigan is usually a game where we do well and pick up results but
like every game in the Premiership it will not be easy.
With the signing of Diamanti you would expect to start the game with two up
front. Stanislas will surely be dropped in favor of Dyer which the would
mean one of Parker, Noble, Jimenez or Collison will find themselves on the
Hopefully in that Wigan game we will be a little more braver than we were
away at Blackburn and I would like to see us really try and go for the win
instead of just settling for the point.
Watmore calls for perspective
FA official believes cup violence a 'one-off' which will not affect World
Last updated: 30th August 2009
FA chief executive Ian Watmore believes the violence at West Ham this week
was a 'one-off' and it will not affect England's bid to host the 2018 World
Cup. The Hammers' Carling Cup victory over Millwall on Tuesday was marred by
violence outside Upton Park while inside the stadium there were repeated
pitch invasions and reports of racist chants. While the unsavoury images
were beamed around the world, Watmore insists the incident must be put in
perspective and it does not herald a return to the bad old days of football
hooliganism in England. He said: "We have to get the perspective right. "It
doesn't help anybody to see those scenes being beamed around the world but,
at the same time, it is a one-off and we have to keep it that way.
"Fifa and Uefa and many of the associations around the world do come to us
for a lead on combating violence and hooliganism, racism and other forms of
chanting, and we have to remain the best in the world at combating that and
remain at the top of our game. "I think if we do it won't hurt the bid at
all." Watmore added: "We have to condemn what happened last week at West Ham
outright and make sure that it is a one-off. "We have done a huge amount
over the last decade or so to put our house in order on both the violence
and the racist chanting. "Indeed, the rest of the world probably looked to
us for a lead on it. As we had a problem first, we solved it first. "So we
mustn't be complacent, we have to clamp down when it happens in this
country, but I think we also have to have perspective. "This isn't now
endemic in all of our games. It was, at the moment, a one-off and we need to
make sure it remains so."
Both clubs have vowed to ban any individuals found to be involved, but
Watmore said there could be further punishments. He said: "We've got to do
the investigation and ascertain the facts. In our rules the clubs have the
ability to ban their fans and both clubs have come out and said they will do
so. "From our point of view, we have to look at whether the clubs acted with
all due care and attention and, if they did, then we have to work with the
clubs and with the leagues to make sure that we clamp down. "If they didn't
then they can come into our disciplinary system."
Cole burns bright at end of Hammers' dark week
Blackburn Rovers 0 West Ham United 0
By George Murray at Ewood Park
Sunday, 30 August 2009
There were no goals, or bizarre back passes for that matter, but Carlton
Cole once again underlined his growing reputation ahead of another spell of
England duty with a display that was one of few high points in a dour match.
Cole's selection under Fabio Capello has been mockingly used as an
indication of how far Michael Owen's career has fallen away but his new
status as an international looks more assured by the week.
As well as the pace and skill in evidence yesterday, as he made all of his
own chances and showed Blackburn's Jason Roberts just how to play up front
on your own, he joins an exclusive band of footballers that can claim to
have swatted Chris Samba aside like he was Luka Modric. Gianfranco Zola can
at least console himself with that after West Ham wilted under the pressure
Blackburn were finally able to put on them in the closing stages, thanks to
the prompting of David Dunn.
After the fall-out of the violence that marred his team's 3-1 Carling Cup
win over Millwall, Zola was satisfied with his side's efforts and not
troubled by Martin O'Neill being at Ewood Park, to watch James Collins.
He said: "Considering everything that's happened, it's a good result. I know
my team can do better but I have to be pleased. I can't help it if Martin
O'Neill is here – my two centre backs were vital because of the way they
played we defended very well."
Cole threatened for the first time, powering past Lars Jacobsen and Samba to
create a chance that never looked likely only to clip his shot high and wide
from a narrow angle. Morten Gamst Pedersen and Samba each had efforts
deflected and after the restart, Cole received the ball with his back to
goal and tore towards goal only for his drive to fly just over Paul
Blackburn continued to do what they could but a Samba header again fell
easily for Robert Green before Dunn created two fine chances for David
Hoilett. First, he lifted the ball over the top only for the youngster to
hit the side netting, and then he guided the ball through the West Ham
defence for Hoilett to chip over Green and on to the roof of the net.
Sam Allardyce, the Blackburn manager, said of his team's problems in front
of goal: "When things are going for you and in your favour, those chances go
in and they're not. Those are the small differences that make all the
difference in the Premier League. It's all about inches and at the moment
we're the wrong side of those inches."
Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the match: Dunn
Match rating: 3/10
Blackburn Rovers 0 - 0 West Ham United
Hoilett spurns chance
Blackburn teenager Junior Hoilett spurned the best chance of a fairly
tedious goalless draw against West Ham at Ewood Park. The 19-year-old
substitute's 20-yard chip over Robert Green in a one-on-one with the
goalkeeper dropped onto the top of the net in the 77th minute. Prior to that
Carlton Cole had the visitors' best effort, curling wide a 20th-minute shot
from a narrow angle while Rovers defender Chris Samba fired over from the
edge of the penalty area in the first half.
Hoilett's 30-minute cameo was one of the few positives on a frustrating
afternoon for Blackburn. The other was securing their first point of the
season - after defeats to Manchester City and Sunderland - which meant they
avoided equalling their worst start to a season since 1947/48.
West Ham were not much better, with Cole - starved of service and support -
having little chance of showing the form of an England international.
The game began brightly with debutant Pascal Chimbonda's surging run down
the left touchline resulting in James Collins, on his 100th league start,
being booked for a foul on Morten Gamst Pedersen. David Dunn, on his first
league appearance since April, lofted over the ninth-minute free-kick which
Chris Samba headed back across goal but the stretching Jason Roberts could
not divert the ball in.
Samba was then involved at the other end as some neat interplay between
Junior Stanislas and Luis Jimenez set up Cole only for his shot to be
blocked by the big Rovers defender.
The England striker was being kept on a tight rein by the centre-back but
when he burst into the left of the penalty Samba slipped to leave Cole
clear. He had a narrow angle from which to shoot but curled his right-footed
effort wide of the far post without drawing Paul Robinson into a save.
Chimbonda twice denied Jimenez with sliding blocks in the penalty area
before Samba, who seemed to be the major player at both ends of the field,
fired over from the edge of the West Ham box after the visitors had failed
to clear Roberts' pull-back.
Three minutes into the second half Cole lashed a 20-yard shot over
Robinson's crossbar with Collins' shot from Mark Noble's left-wing corner
also too high.
Roberts was becoming increasingly isolated up front and in an attempt to
counter that manager Sam Allardyce replaced holding midfielder Steven Nzonzi
with Hoilett. Andrews dropped back to allow the 19-year-old Canadian to
occupy the wide right slot in midfield. Gianfranco Zola's change was to
replace Jimenez with Kieron Dyer, making only his 10th appearance for the
Hammers since August 2007.
Hoilett's first involvement was to shoot into the side-netting from Dunn's
reverse pass in the 68th minute before returning the favour only for the
midfielder to shoot straight at Green from 25 yards.
Summer signing Nikola Kalinic replaced Roberts for his home debut with 16
minutes remaining. But it was Hoilett who should have broken the deadlock in
the 77th minute when Dunn picked him out on a swift counter-attack with an
incisive outside-of-the-foot pass. Green raced out to meet the youngster who
tried an audacious 20-yard chip which landed on the roof of the net.
It was the closest either side came to scoring on a disappointing afternoon.
Big Sam rues toothless display
Allardyce was left to rue his side's form in front of goal once again after
a goalless draw at home to West Ham, stating: "It should have been more than
a point on reflection of the opportunities that we had today.
"We have been a little shy in front of goal all season in terms of chances
created and not converted so when we got some half-chances we wanted to
convert them if we could. In the first half I think Chris Samba's shot was
going in and it just touches Julian Faubert's head and goes over the bar.
"When things are going for you those sort of chances go in and at the moment
they are not. When it did come with Junior he didn't quite get it down under
the bar but it was a terrific show of technique and quality.
"Those are the small differences that make all the difference in the Premier
League - it is all about inches and at the moment we are the wrong side of
Allardyce felt his side should have had a penalty late in the second half
when midfielder David Dunn went down under a challenge from Scott Parker.
"We had a big shout for a penalty. I've had a look at it and he had his
standing leg taken away from him by Parker, there is no doubt about that,"
he added. "Nothing is going our way at the moment both with what we can
control and what we can't - we just hope that turns in our favour when we
play Wolves in two weeks' time."
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola was satisfied with a point after three
tough games in a week, praising James Collins and captain Matthew Upson.
"Today the two centre-backs were vital because of the kind of play they
have," said the Italian. "I think the whole team in the first half was quite
bright but I knew as the game became longer and longer the team
physically-wise would drop something because of the game we played on
Tuesday (the controversial Carling Cup win over Millwall).
"But once again we defended very well and that is something that is very
important. Considering all the circumstances I am pleased with the team. It
is the third game in six days so I have to admit it was quite difficult."
Blackburn Rovers 0 West Ham United 0: match report
Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Blackburn and
West Ham United at Ewood Park on Saturday Aug 29, 2009.
By Graham Chase at Ewood Park
Published: 9:00AM BST 30 Aug 2009
Ray Clemence came to watch goalkeepers Paul Robinson and Robert Green ahead
of England's matches against Slovenia and Croatia but, such was the nature
of this dire game, there will be little he can tell Fabio Capello other than
that both take decent goal kicks and that you still get a reasonable cup of
tea at Ewood Park.
Neither was forced into a save of note as Blackburn Rovers, with one goal in
three league matches, struggled to support lone striker Jason Roberts or
cope with the back bone Gianfranco Zola has given West Ham.
Blackburn appoint Sam AllardyceAt least Clemence could inform the Italian
that West Ham's striker Carlton Cole once again lived up to his new-found
status as a regular in the England squad with an impressive performance,
which saw him create each of his chances on goal.
After the violence at their 3-1 win over Millwall in midweek, Zola was
unconcerned about Martin O'Neill's presence in the stand to watch James
He said: "Considering everything that's happened, it's a good result. I know
my team can do better, but I have to be pleased. I can't help it if Martin
O'Neill is here, my two centre backs were vital because of the way they
played we defended very well."
Roberts had already shot wide when Cole started to make his presence felt.
He picked the ball up with his back to goal and played it around Lars
Jacobsen and Christopher Samba, outpacing the former and shrugging off the
latter, before shooting high and wide from a narrow angle.
Morten Gamst Pedersen, Samba and Keith Andrews all failed to take chances
they were given and after the restart, David Dunn played through for David
Hoilett, only for the youngster to hit the side netting and the forward also
lobbed over after he was played through again by Dunn.
"When things are going for you and in your favour, those chances go in and
at the moment, they're not," Sam Allardyce said. "Those are the small
differences that make all the difference in the Premier League. It's all
about inches and at the moment we're the wrong side of those inches."
Bordeaux's Marouane Chamakh Admits West Ham United May Be Too Late
The Moroccan hitman has admitted that he is unlikely to join the east London
Aug 29, 2009 2:15:53 PM
Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh has explained that the interest in signing
him from Premier League club West Ham United may have come too late to tempt
him away from the Stade Chaban-Delmat. The Moroccan international has long
been linked with a host of Premier League clubs including Arsenal and
Sunderland, although the Hammers were seemingly leading the race for his
signature. Gianfranco Zola's side were rumoured to have bid up to £18
million for Chamakh's services, although the player himself has now stated
that the interest may have come a little too late. "Yes, indeed, my
representatives were in London," he said in L'Equipe. "Maybe the offer has
come too late. "I am focused on Bordeaux, but you never know what can
happen. Let us say there is a 90 per cent chance that I will stay and a 10
per cent chance that I will leave."
The 25-year-old striker has already scored three goals in as many games for
Bordeaux in Ligue 1 this season and chairman Jean-Louis Triaud is confident
the French club will be able to retain the highly sought-after attacker. "I
have not received any new offer from West Ham. Moreover, Marouane stated he
will stay. I cannot see him changing his mind now," said Triaud.
Stephen Darwin, Goal.com