Hammers Move Up To Eighth

Last updated : 02 April 2002 By Vinny Ryan
It was dismal. It was crap. Both teams were dire. But we won so cares?

It was amazing that there was a team worse than us - we are such a different team away from home. But today we rode our luck, defended well and got our break. The goal came from a certain Mr Kanouté (the only notable thing he did all game).

As we only had about 1,600 tickets the club only gave tickets to the fans that have been the most this season. This whittled out all the fair weather supporters and gave us from fans to be proud of! There was a great atmosphere from our fans only to be spoiled a little by police steaming into us for very little.

Oh yes onto the match...

The main talking point I guess will be about Paolo di Canio's strop as he was taken off midway through the first half.

Yes it was a strange substitution but di Canio (being the captain) should deal with it and accept Roeder's decision. But no, no in typical Paolo fashion he got in a raging mood and went straight back to the changing room. My only defence of di Canio is that Kanouté was abysmal throughout and di Canio had probably been having a better game. But you cannot react like Paolo did - deal with it di Canio.

We made one change to the team at the start with Labant coming in for Winterburn. But with only about 20 minutes gone, Labant was taken off (due to a back injury following a collision with Louis Saha) and was replaced with Ian Pearce. Pearce went to right back and Schemmel switched to the left. This could of proved fatal but in the end we got away with it.

Sinclair was on the left but he seemed to be in the same position as Joe Cole. No one was on the right.

Barry Hayles had the best chance (and only chance) for Fulham in the first half, but it was saved by the legs of David James.

In terms of chances, we had none. But just before half time Sinclair crossed for Freddie Kanouté to meet the ball with a looping header and send the fans into madness. So we went in at half time 1-0 up and we didn't deserve it but that's football.

The second half was even more dismal. But Fulham just couldn't get past our defence. We had no chances only a few long-range efforts. Then mid-way through the half Roeder decided that he wanted to just hang onto the result and he took off one of the strikers. To everyone's surprise Di Canio was taken off, after it was clear than Kanouté was just having a nightmare. Di Canio as I've said got into a strop and went straight back down the tunnel to the changing rooms.

But us winning today was much more important than Di Canio having a tantrum. Moncur came on for Paolo and went into midfield with Kanouté the lone man up front.

Freddie was replaced with just under 10 minutes to go with Jermain Defoe. Unfortunately Defoe never got a chance so no goals for him today.

We hung on, even though Fulham had lots of possession and pressure. We defended really well and if it weren't for the defence we would have been beaten badly.

It was great to be on the terraces. The atmosphere was great and I found it more comfortable.

We are now 8th. Only a point behind Tottenham. And this is where we should be. We cannot get any higher than 7th anyway. Let's all be realistic. We are not a top 6 side. So we are where we should be.

So to sum up - a great 3 points. We must be looking to finish as high as we possibly can. We won another game with the PDC/Kanouté partnership. And until that starts to change dramatically Defoe will have to stay on the bench.

James 7 - Didn't have to do a thing today. Made one save in the first half but had enough time to fall asleep in the second half.
Schemmel 8 MOTM- There weren't many great players out there today but "Archie" was my man of the match. He had to go over to the left when Labant came off and he adapted well.
Repka 7 - Very solid at the back, very important to us today. Never put a foot wrong.
Dailly 7 - Won everything in the air. Distribution was poor but he was solid at the back. Got booked and I think that means suspension.
Labant - Came off very early on.
Sinclair 7 - made the goal with a great cross. Worked very hard today and in the second half he was our main source of attack.
Cole 7 - Like Sinclair worked hard. Didn't get forward much but defended well.
Carrick 7 - Lost the ball as he gave it away poorly. But looked calm and won possession for us a lot.
Lomas 7 - As always he worked hard and gave his all. He was overrun a little in midfield and found it a little hard to get to grips with the physical presence in the Fulham side.
Kanouté 6 - He was woeful. I've been trying to praise him since the Ipswich game but he was poor today. He scored though and that's what we want him to do. He won us the match and that good enough for me.
Di Canio 6 - Anytime in the first half we went forward he was at the heart of it. Went missing in the second half and was taken off much to his disgust.


Pearce 7 (on for Labant) - Came on and did an excellent job at right back.
Moncur 6 (on for Di Canio) - Worked hard and put some decent passes about.
Defoe (on for Kanouté) - Didn't have much time to shine.