Wednesday, December 11, 2019

West Ham rout Rovers to ease pressure on Curbishley

SoccerNews in English Premier League 30 Aug 2008

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West Ham eased the pressure on Alan Curbishley with a 4-1 rout of Blackburn at Upton Park on Saturday.

Curbishley was under pressure from fans and pundits who claimed he should be sacked after a poor League Cup performance against Macclesfield in midweek followed hot on the heels of a lacklustre defeat at Manchester City.

But the Hammers manager could breathe a sigh of relief as his team made the critics eat their words and moved into third place in the table in the process.

It was a great day for West Ham supporters. As well as celebrating the victory, they took great delight in taunting Blackburn manager Paul Ince for the way he left the club to join Manchester United 20 years ago.

Jason Roberts' goal had given Blackburn hope before half-time after West Ham led through a Callum Davenport header and Christopher Samba's own goal.

But Robert Green then produced a full stretch save from a Roberts spot kick two minutes into the second half.

And substitute Craig Bellamy and Carlton Cole found the net late on to ensure there was no late comeback for the visitors.

West Ham opted for the same side that were beaten by Manchester City last Sunday, while Blackburn handed a debut to new signing Vincenzo Grella.

The Australian midfielder took seven minutes to make his mark in English football, as he took out Scott Parker with a mistimed tackle and was promptly shown the first yellow card of the game.

West Ham dominated the early stages, and it came as no surprise when they opened the scoring. On 12 minutes Cole worked well to earn a corner, and from the resulting set-piece Davenport rose to head home a perfectly weighted Julien Faubert cross.

It was his first goal in a West Ham shirt, and set the tone for his side to really take the game to their visitors.

Eight minutes later the lead was doubled. Blackburn were furious after a Mark Noble cross from the right deflected into the net off Rovers defender Samba.

Curbishley's side were in control and, it seemed, a weight was being lifted from his shoulders.

However, Parker allowed Blackburn back into the game almost immediately. He tried to be too clever midway inside his own half with an outside of the boot flick. Grella read the move, headed the ball into the path of Roberts, and the Blackburn striker spun Davenport before poking beneath Green to make it 2-1.

Before half-time Roque Santa Cruz was forced out of the game for Blackburn through injury, and his replacement Matt Derbyshire had a goal ruled out for offside. The decision was debatable.

Keith Andrews was introduced in place of Grella at the break, and then came Blackburn's penalty award after Cole handled a Steven Reid free kick.

Roberts stepped forward to the spot, but West Ham's Green made a fantastic save as he sprung to his left to push the sidefooted effort away.

Bellamy made his first appearance of the season as he came on for the final 22 minutes, but Blackburn almost levelled soon after his introduction as Green kept Brett Emerton's header from crossing the line.

Bellamy sealed the points in injury-time as he raced in behind Blackburn's defence and thumped home his first goal of the season.

And striker Cole added more late woe for Ince as he tapped home number four from close range, after good work by Parker.

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