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MATCH REPORT

Posted on 4 March 2007  - 12:00

Paul Stalteri's goal in injury time secured maximum points as Sunday's amazing Premiership clash ended 4-3 in our favour at Upton Park.

Paul Stalteri's goal in injury time secured maximum points as Sunday's amazing Premiership clash ended 4-3 in our favour at Upton Park.

Having climbed a considerable mountain to recover from 2-0 down to 2-2 in the second half, we looked set for defeat when ex-Spur Bobby Zamora headed home for 3-2 to the Hammers with only five minutes remaining.

However, a substitution just after that goal sparked a late turn around. Adel Taarabt, just 17, came on for his debut and his first touch led to the equaliser as a driving run from half-way was ended by a foul on the edge of the box. Dimitar Berbatov stepped up to curl the equaliser into the top corner.

But that wasn't all. As the game ticked into injury time, Lee Young-Pyo won a key tackle on the edge of our box from a West Ham corner and suddenly, incredibly, we were on a five on one break. Paul Stalteri took over, released Jermain Defoe and crucially continued his run, Defoe took on Paul Konchesky and shot across Robert Green, who parried the ball out to - who else - Stalteri, who tapped in the winner.

We kicked-off with three changes from the win against Bolton - Anthony Gardner, Hossam Ghaly and Defoe came in for Ricardo Rocha, Didier Zokora and suspended Robbie Keane.

Paul Robinson got his hands warmed up early when Carlos Tevez embarked on a darting run and teed the ball up for Mark Noble to smash goalwards. Robbo's reactions were in fine working order as the Upton Park noise levels cranked up considerably.

Lee Bowyer marked his return from injury with a nasty chopping challenge on Hossam Ghaly, for which he was booked, before Niged Quashie did similar on Teemu Tainio and escaped unpunished.
West Ham's Matthew Upson did not last long on his home debut, just ten minutes before Calum Davenport was summoned from the bench to take on his former teammates, who nearly feel behind a few minutes later when Ghaly dinked forward for Berbatov to home in on goal only to be thwarted by Robert Green.

Berbatov was given another passage through and was again foiled by Green, but then misfortune struck at the other end on 16 minutes. Paul Konchesky galloped forward down the left and drove the ball into the direction of Tevez, who chested down perfectly in the path of Mark Noble. The young midfielder drilled a low, well executed shot beyond Robinson and into the net.

We should have been level during a spot of penalty area mayhem after 22 minutes. Jermain Defoe charged down a clearance, couldn't get his shot away, but Bowyer did make the next most significant connection and it took a fine save from Green to deny an own goal. The ball then ran loose for Berbatov to strike, but again Green was in heroic mode.

Berbatov could have had a hat-trick by this point, while West Ham could have doubled their advantage from a corner on 35 minutes, when Robinson launched out and didn't clear and Marlon Harewood could not convert from close range.

They did make it 2-0 on 41 minutes when Dawson was adjudged to have felled Tevez and the Argentine striker took the free-kick himself from just outside the area and flighted past the reach of Robinson before sprinting off and planting himself in the crowd.

There was a half-time change in Tom Huddlestone coming on for Ghaly and the deficit was reduced on 51 minutes when Aaron Lennon was felled in the penalty area by Bowyer. Defoe slotted home the penalty cool as you like.

Game on.

Jermaine Jenas was withdrawn after 56 minutes, with his place taken by Paul Stalteri. Pascal Chimbonda advanced to the right midfield position from where, on 64 minutes, he dispossessed Tevez and fed the advancing Berbatov. The Bulgarian crossed to Lennon who proceeded flick back to where Tainio was waiting to fire past Green to make it 2-2.

The game then fizzled out a little as nerves set in among the home support, while from our side the momentum from the leveller was lost.

Zamora then rose to head home with five minutes left and the fun began. Taarabt was fouled for Berbatov to level with 89 minutes on the clock before Stalteri started and finished the move to win it - it was that sort of game.




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