West Ham walk it in a Winter wonderland

17:20 01 December 2010



The Hammers are just two games away from the Carling Cup Final after thumping Manchester United at Upton Park.

IF YOU weren’t there, you would not have believed this incredible result. For those that were there, they couldn’t believe it either.

It was not just the fact that West Ham booked their place in the Carling Cup semi-finals by inflicting the first defeat of the season on holders Manchester United - no, it was the manner of the victory.

This was simply sensational, unbelievable, magnificent and any other superlative that you could think of.

Jonathan Spector played more like Lionel Messi in the first half of this game; Victor Obinna was everywhere, claiming the assist for all four goals and deserving one for himself; Carlton Cole became a hero again with his first double in eight years of football.

It was a night to remember; a night when the freezing, biting wind meant nothing to the incredulous Hammers fans as they watched their supposedly under-strength side sweep aside Manchester United in a blizzard of high tempo, committed attacking football.

“Yes, it was not bad,” said an understated Avram Grant after the game. “It was a good win, good football, we continue our progress.

“I thought we could win, but that was an unbelievable result.”

It was. When the West Ham fans glanced at the team line-up, they must have feared the worst. Spector in central midfield with Radoslav Kovac did not give much confidence; Julien Faubert and Tal Ben Haim as the full backs further underlined it.

But this was a night when magical things happened. Two corners in the opening couple of minutes set the tone, but then Manchester United almost grabbed the lead on seven minutes when Gabriel Obertan’s shot was superbly pushed on to the post by Robert Green and magnificently cleared by James Tomkins.

On 16 minutes, West Ham were convinced they had taken the lead. Spector played in Obinna and his shot seemed to deflect off a defender before flying into the net.

The Hammers celebrated for an age, before it became apparent that the goal had been disallowed. The shot had not hit a defender, it had cannoned off the onrushing Spector who stood in an offside position.

It was the correct decision, though a little tardy, but the ensuing chaos and row between Grant and re-feree Mark Clattenburg seemed to galvanise West Ham and leave Manchester United quaking in their boots.

Seven minutes later it was 1-0 for real. Cole fed Obinna and the Nigerian’s delicate cross saw Spector, yes Spector, bend his back and plant a superb header past Tomasz Kuszczak and into the net.

The visitors had plenty of possession for a while without really threatening, before West Ham incredibly made it 2-0 on 37 minutes.

Spector, yes, Spector, came forward, played a ball into Obinna and then kept running into the box. This time it worked perfectly as the ball hit the heel of the striker before falling nicely for Spector to finish with aplomb.

It was a winter wonderland for the Hammers as Alex Ferguson sat forlornly on the sidelines unable to believe what he was seeing - worse was to come.

United had a couple of half chances to get back into the game with Green tipping over Fabio Da Silva’s teasing cross and then the goalkeeper making up for planting a clearance into the back of Federico Macheda by saving at the feet of Javier Hernandez.

On 56 minutes the game was all over bar the shouting as West Ham made it three.

Obinna terrorised the defence down the left and then picked out the clever run of Cole, who buried his header from close range for only his second goal of the season.

Just 11 minutes later it was 4-0. Once more it was Obinna at the heart of things, teasing his way down the flank before feeding Cole with a low ball. The striker swivelled, got a yard on his marker and calmly slotted the ball into the corner.

Zavon Hines came on for his first game in over a year and should have won a penalty when he was barged over by John O’Shea, but the referee turned down the appeal.

From there it was just a matter of singing about going to Wembley and braving the cold as the fans waited for the final whistle.

When it came there was still a feeling of disbelief. Many had predicted a 4-0 result, it was just that the Hammers were going to be on the wrong end of it.

So was it a fluke? Was it a terrible United team? How can a team bottom of the league hammer Manchester United?

Grant was having none of it: “United play always with the same team in the Carling Cup, even when they won it last season.

“They have a good squad, a big squad and I think each player who played today, if you want to buy him, would cost more than £10million.”

What price Spector then? What price Ben Haim or Cole?

So what about a trip to Wembley? What would that do to the club?

“I think first of all to reach the semi-finals is very good,” said Grant. “We are trying to build something at this club step by step.”

Savour this result; remember it during the dark times, because, in truth, things do not get any better than this freezing, magnificent, unbelievable night at Upton Park – or do they?

West Ham: Green, Faubert, Ben Haim, Upson, Tomkins (Reid 74), Boa Morte, Kovac, Spector, Barrera (Hines 76), Obinna, Cole (Stanislas 89). Unused: Boffin, Parker, McCarthy, Piquionne.

Attendance: 33,551.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg 5.


Latest Romford Sports News

Yesterday, 18:29
Dagenham & Redbridge centre back Luke Pennell (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Daggers manager down to bare bones at back after defender ruled out for much of season

Yesterday, 16:51
Dagenham & Redbridge manager John Still (pic: David Simpson/TGS Photo)

Friendly: Bishop’s Stortford 1 Dagenham & Redbridge 5

Fri, 17:00
Roy Smith of Hornchurch (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Big week ahead for the Harrow Lodge Park club and Roy Smith is looking forward to playing in two important matches

Fri, 16:00
Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane. Pics: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Urchins manager discusses recent matches with Met Police, Southend Manor and Redbridge plus looks ahead to Hythe Town

Fri, 15:00
Harold Wood skipper Richard Brabner (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Wood skipper believes promotion race could come down to the wire

Fri, 14:00
Gidea Park captain Jamal Francis in bowling action (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Rogers likely to stand in for promotion chasers once again

Fri, 13:00
Shahbaz Butt in batting action for Upminster at Woodford Wells (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Wicket-keeper missed last weekend, but is available again and has already struck one century against Southend this season

Fri, 12:00
Havering-atte-Bower in batting action during Saturday's derby with Noak Hill Taverners. Pic: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTO

Broxhill Road club visit Purleigh this weekend hoping to close the gap between themselves and the top two in the division

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read sport


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All entrants can get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now