since 1878

Ipswich Town (0) 0 - 2 (1) West Ham United

Coca-Cola Championship 2004-05

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Referee: P Taylor

Manager: Joe Royle

Portman Road 13:00

Attendance: 30,003

Manager: Alan Pardew

Match Number: 3088


 Harewood (1)
 Etherington (90)


ZamoraRebrov (72)
Reo-CokerFerdinand (85)
EtheringtonMcClenahan (90)























Match Report

Hammers nail Town

Ipswich suffered a stunning New Year's Day defeat at Portman Road as they surrendered their unbeaten home record in the Championship to West Ham.

The Tractor Boys had ended 2004 in style, clear at the top of the table and playing like a team destined for promotion to the Barclays Premiership.

But today the effects of the packed festive programme were clear for all to see as Joe Royle's tired-looking side turned in a performance more akin to a team scrapping against relegation.

Barely a minute had elapsed when the home defence collapsed to allow Marlon Harewood the easiest of goals before Nigel Reo-Coker had a volley disallowed.

And despite an improved second-half display, Town's fate was sealed when Matthew Etherington tapped home with a minute left.

Ipswich were unchanged from the team which beat Stoke 1-0 last time out, but it was soon clear they would not be able to match that performance.

With just 55 seconds on the clock, Matthew Richards miscued his clearance to put the Town defence under pressure and from there a comedy of errors unfolded.

Covering defender Richard Naylor opted to leave the ball for Kelvin Davis, but the goalkeeper tried to dribble his way out of trouble, allowing Harewood to nip in, take the ball of his toes and slide home.

Town were stunned into life and four minutes later Ian Westlake almost restored parity with a looping header which Stephen Bywater did well to gather.

But that was as much as they had to offer and as the half progressed the Hammers began picking apart the home defence with ease.

After 15 minutes they were harshly denied a second goal by the assistant referee when Reo-Coker swivelled to volley home a ball dropping over his shoulder from Etherington's free-kick - only to see the flag raised for a debatable offside.

Then, with 21 minutes gone, Gavin Williams missed a sitter as three Hammers players queued up to convert Bobby Zamora's cross at the back post.

Fatigue looked to be catching up with Ipswich and a weak Darren Currie effort on 30 minutes summed up their woeful first half.

West Ham, however, were attacking at will and 10 minutes before the interval Reo-Coker was unlucky again as Davis tipped over his instinctive snap-shot.

Just a minute after the restart it was almost a case of deja vu for Town when Tommy Miller gave the ball away outside the box before getting back to atone for his error by hooking away from Etherington.

Gradually, though, Ipswich began to find their feet and five minutes later they carved out their best opportunity of the match when Westlake worked space in the area before slipping a pass to Shefki Kuqi, but his touch let him down at the vital moment.

Darren Bent was replaced by Dean Bowditch with 25 minutes left as Joe Royle sought to shake things up.

To some extent it worked and as Currie began to stamp his authority on the game, he teed up Bowditch with 11 minutes left to blast against the legs of Chris Powell.

But Ipswich did not deserve a leveller and with a minute left the game was wrapped up when substitute Sergei Rebrov's shot was blocked on the line and Etherington followed up for the simplest of finishes.

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