Town 3-1 West Ham
Saturday, 4th Aug 2012 16:57
Goals from Michael Chopra (pen), Luke Chambers and Jason Scotland saw Town to a confidence-boosting 3-1 victory over Premier League new boys West Ham at Portman Road. The Blues were two goals in front at the break after dominating the first half, but the visitors hit back through Matt Taylor before Jason Scotland sealed it late on.
Blues boss Paul Jewell named his strongest available side with only Andy Drury sidelined due to a calf injury.
Scott Loach was in goal with skipper Carlos Edwards at right-back, Aaron Cresswell at left-back and Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith, just back from the Olympics, at centre-half.
In midfield, Massimo Luongo and Luke Hyam were in the centre with Josh Carson on the left and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas on the right. Lee Martin was behind lone striker Michael Chopra. There was no place in the squad for Jimmy Bullard.
West Ham also named a strong team including new signings Jussi Jaaskelainen, James Collins and Modigo Maiga, as well as former Blues loanee Mark Noble.
The Blues started brightly and in the fourth minute Edwards whipped over a low cross from the right which Chopra diverted wide at the near post. Soon after, Collins blocked a Luongo strike from the edge of the area.
Emmanuel-Thomas curled a seventh minute freekick over after Martin had been fouled with Town continuing to make most of the running. Moments later, Edwards caused momentary panic in the Hammers’ area with a low cross which Collins cleared at the second attempt.
Town went ahead from the penalty spot on the quarter hour. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas played the ball into Martin’s feet just inside the area and as the midfielder turned away from Gary O’Neil, the West Ham man tripped him. Chopra stepped up and slammed the ball to Jaaskelainen’s left to notch his fourth goal of pre-season.
Four minutes later it was 2-0. Chopra was fouled on the right and Martin sent in a freekick which an unmarked Luke Chambers nodded past Jaaskelainen.
The Blues fully deserved to be in front with Scott Loach, making his first appearance at Portman Road as a Town player, having had little to do. On 22 Emmanuel-Thomas hit a scuffed effort from 20 yards which trickled just past Jaaskelainen’s left post.
As the game moved towards the half hour mark Edwards hit a well-struck shot which deflected wide with the Blues still very much on top.
Maiga shot well wide for the visitors on 32, then six minutes later another Emmanuel-Thomas blast was deflected past the post.
Neither side particularly threatened in the final seven minutes and the Blues went in deservedly 2-0 up at the break.
It had been a much-improved display throughout with Town on the front foot from the off, keeping the ball and creating opportunities. Martin was the stand-out performer, again excelling in the role behind Chopra, who took his penalty confidently.
Manager Paul Jewell will have been heartened to see a goal from a set piece going in at the right end when Chambers latched on to Martin’s freekick from the right.
Jewell switched Chopra and Martin, who had missed all but a few minutes of pre-season prior to the match, for Jason Scotland and Ryan Stevenson.
Despite the changes, the second half began in much the manner that the second half had ended and on 52 Edwards shot over.
West Ham began to have more of the ball but all too often gave it away cheaply. On 55 Cresswell sent a dangerous ball into the box which Jaaskelainen claimed.
A minute later, Stevenson shot over from the edge of the box, then Loach stopped Ricardo Vaz Te’s shot low to his left, the Hammers’ first shot on target of the afternoon.
After Jack Ainsley and Damien Delaney had taken over from Edwards and Smith just after the hour mark, Carson cut in from the right and hit a low shot just wide. Soon after, Byron Lawrence took over from Emmanuel-Thomas.
Cheick Kourouma, whose move to the Blues is still held up by red tape, took over from the again excellent Luongo as the game moved into its final 20 minutes.
On 73 the Hammers pulled a goal back. Matt Taylor was given too much time 20 yards out and the former Portsmouth man hit a low shot which struck Loach’s left post before crossing the line.
O’Neil hit a low shot through to Loach in the 76th minute before being replaced with the changes having come thick and fast throughout the second period. On 80 West Ham swapped keeper Jaaskelainen for one-time Blues target Stephen Henderson and Hyam made way for Ronan Murray.
The Hammers were looking the stronger side since the changes and on 82 Joey O’Brien headed across the face of goal when he probably should have put his side on terms.
Moments later, the Blues were 3-1 on front. Scotland was played into space on the left by Murray, the Trinidadian taking the ball on before cutting inside and lashing a shot beyond Henderson and into the net.
In the 85th minute Carson saw a shot deflect wide, then Kourouma went well over after the corner had been cleared.
In injury time Nicky Maynard set up Vaz Te but Loach did well to get across to his left to block. Moments later the whistle went to seal Town’s win.
Town fully deserved their victory, having been much the better side in the first half. West Ham only really got on top once the usual plethora of pre-season subs had been made but never really did enough to warrant getting on terms, even if O’Brien really ought to have equalised moments before Scotland’s third for the Blues.
A heartening win for Town against Premier League opposition after two disappointing results against Luton and Southend earlier in the week.
Town: Loach, Edwards (Ainsley 61), Cresswell (Whight 86), Chambers, Smith (Delaney 61), Hyam (Murray 80), Carson, Luongo (Kourouma 71), Emmanuel-Thomas (Lawrence 68), Martin (Stevenson 46), Chopra (Scotland 46). Unused: Lee-Barrett.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen (Henderson 80), Demel (O'Brien, 46), Reid, Collins, Potts, O'Neil (Moncur 76), Noble, Taylor, Vaz Te, Maiga (Maynard 61), Cole (Fanimo 73). Unused: Lletget. Referee: Pat Miller. Att: 7,682 (West Ham: 2,075).
Photo: Action Images
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