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Match Report: Peterborough United 0-2 West Ham United (Posh Fan's Perspective)

Wednesday 28th March 2012
Peterborough United were handed a lesson in how to play football as West Ham won 2-0 to put their promotion push back on track.

A near capacity crowd flocked to London Road in hope to see a great contest between one of the best attacking sides in the league up against a team chasing promotion. At least for the first half that's what they got, as West Ham really turned on the style in the second half to win their first match in six, after five successive draws.

Posh had started the brighter team, putting West Ham under early pressure. Paul Taylor got a shot away in the opening seconds as Posh got forward directly from the kick-off. Piling more pressure on, in the ninth minute, Taylor had another chance from the edge of the box and saw his powerful effort cannon off the bar. Posh hadn't come just to make up the numbers and give West Ham three points.

Throughout the first half, Tommy Rowe put in a series of good challenges at left-back, many of which were on West Ham's danger man Ricardo Vaz Te, keeping him as quiet as possible. However, when the chance arose, Vaz Te put Posh under real pressure with his neat footwork and putting crosses into the box.

Under Sam Allardyce much has been made of West Ham's tactics, and an obvious dig by their fans from the away end was the chant of “West Ham United, we play on the ground”. West Ham started the match playing exceedingly deep with Carlton Cole, who was quieter than a mute, up front on his own. That allowed Posh time on the ball in the attacking half, it was easy for Posh to take charge of the game, but that wasn't to last for too long.

Around the 20 minute mark, West Ham started to find their feet and take grasp of the game with some good build-up play and made some half-decent chances for themselves. Not any clear-cut opportunities, but enough to let Posh know that they were potent in attack.

West Ham's best chance of the opening 45 minutes came through Matthew Taylor on 35 minutes. The winger dribbled in the box, showing good footwork to step around captain Grant McCann and open up space for the shot which was fired over the crossbar.

In injury time Posh had two glorious opportunities to hit the Hammers with a sucker punch. A break upfield lead to Lee Tomlin having a shot cleared off the line by James Tomkins, and then George Boyd had a shot blocked off a defender. There was sheer amazement around the ground that Posh had not taken the lead, with home fans more than halfway out of their seats in anticipation of a goal.

At the start of the second-half West Ham made two changes; Abdoulaye Faye off for Danny Collins and Joey O'Brien replaced by Julien Faubert. And the visitors put the hosts under immense pressure shooting towards the London Road End, which Posh would normally have attacked in the second half had they not lost the toss before kick-off.

On 51 minutes West Ham's pressure paid off as Vaz Te, who was outstanding for the visitors, connected with a cross from the left to give West Ham a 1-0 lead.

After Kevin Nolan had missed a shot on the turn midway inside the box, West Ham soon doubled their advantage. Just five minutes after the first goal, Gary O'Neil took advantage of a slip by McCann and had time and space to hit the target from 25-yards. It was a goal which Paul Jones, who once again never looked a safe figure in goal, should have dealt with better.

A few minutes later there was a worrying sight for Posh fans. Gabriel Zakuani looked in bad shape as he was replaced by Mark Little, and after the match it was announced Zakuani had suffered from back spasms and is a doubt for Saturday's clash with Leicester City. Lee Tomlin also made way for Emile Sinclair.

Sinclair nearly set up Lee Frecklington after 65 minutes, playing the ball into his path allowing the midfielder to hit a shot aimed towards Green's far post, only for the former England goalkeeper to make a fine save. A minute later, Nolan hit the crossbar.

Ironically with all the talk of Sam Allardyce's ‘hoof ball' tactics, West Ham had played the second half through attractive football played on the floor. Their easy on the eye flowing football wouldn't look out of place in the Premier League. West Ham kept hold of the majority of possession for the next 20 minutes, minimizing Posh's chances of forcing themselves back into the game.

On 84 minutes the first meaningful attack for a good period of the game went to West Ham; Ricardo Vaz Te ran clean through the middle of the pitch and played the ball through to Carlton Cole whose shot was saved by Jones. In added time, Vaz Te had another couple of shots saved but the star man was not able to add to his tally and the match finished a deserved 2-0 win for West Ham, who were brilliant to watch in the second half.

Posh were beaten soundly in the end by a better team who are challenging for promotion and there's absolutely no shame in that. Posh now look to come off the back of two defeats without a single goal, with a result against Leicester City at the weekend.

Attendance: 13,517

Posh:  Jones, Alcock, Rowe, Brisley, Zakuani (Little 62), Frecklington (Kearns 86), McCann, Boyd, Tomlin (Sinclair 62), Taylor, Barnett. Unused subs: Lewis, Ball.

West Ham:  Green, McCartney, Tomkins, Vaz Te, Cole, Taylor, Nolan, Faye (Collins 46), Noble, O'Brien (Faubert 46), O'Neil (Maynard 86). Unused subs: Baldock, Carew.
Aaron Gratton

Total articles: 16

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