Hammers Dent City Title Hopes
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 26 Oct 2014 13:26:00
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West Ham United certainly wanted revenge after Manchester City beat them on four occasions last season and they did it in style as they beat Manuel Pellegrini's side 2-1 at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon, meaning they made it three consecutive wins.

Sam Allardyce has always said if you are in a winning team, then you deserve to hold the shirt. With that in mind he named an unchanged side and although Cheikou Kouyate had returned from an ankle injury, he was only included on the bench.

Although both teams started the match brightly, the visitors had the best of the opening exchanges. Enner Valencia tried his luck for the home side in the first minute but he didn't get a clean connection and the chance had gone.

A minute later, the visitors went close when Sergio Aguero's effort from 25 yards out took a deflection off the back of James Collins and Adrian made the save.

City had another chance on six minutes after a freekick was awarded their way following a foul by Stewart Downing. David Silva curled the effort over the wall and although it wasn't too far away, the Hammers could breathe a sigh of relief.

As the game went on, the home side started to settle and could have gone in front on 19 minutes, as Diafra Sakho did well to release Valencia and he used his phenomenal pace to run into the box but Joe Hart blocked superbly and injured himself in the process. The home crowd were even calling for the physio to "wash his hair".

Two minutes later, Valencia was at the heart of the action again as the striker crossed for Morgan Amalfitano who finished a great move by slotting the ball into the net to spark jubilation amongst three quarters of the ground.

The hosts should have increased their advantage, on 28 minutes, when the ball luckily dropped to Downing after Pablo Zabaleta was able to beat Valencia to the ball but unfortunately for the former Liverpool midfielder, his header went over the top.

Just before the break, referee Martin Atkinson gave the Citizens skipper Vincent Kompany a yellow card for a wild challenge on Valencia.

Right on the 45 minute mark, the Hammers had a great chance to make the scoreline more comfortable but neither Collins or Amalfitano could get a telling touch.

In first-half stoppage time Pellegrini's men went close but at half-time, the home side still held onto the lead.

Although both teams had chances when the action recommenced, it was the visitors who went closest to grabbing an equaliser on the hour mark, as Aguero was nearly in but Adrian and Collins again produced great defensive work to thwart him.

The home side were really riding their luck and on 64 minutes, Aguero unleashed a rocket of a shot that smacked the crossbar, then Adrian saved the follow-up from Yaya Toure.

On 66 minutes, Big Sam decided to make his first change, as Kouyate returned to action in place of Amalfitano.

Two minutes later, Valencia and Kompany came together again and rather than reducing City to ten men, referee Martin Atkinson decided to let play go on.

It was end to end staff as the game entered its final 20 minutes, as first on 72 minutes, a great move involving Kouyate and Alex Song set up Diafra Sakho whose effort hit the angle of post and crossbar.

Soon after, the visitors were close again as Aguero raced into the box but was blocked by Collins. Silva was also denied before the ball finally fell to Toure who clipped the crossbar with his effort.

After all that, the Irons clinched the points as they scored a second thanks to Sakho's sixth goal in as many starts. He headed the ball into the corner of the net and, despite Hart's best efforts to keep it out, the goal-line technology system confirmed that the ball had crossed the line before the goalkeeper could get a hand to it.

With the home side further in front, Allardyce made his second change, as Carlton Cole replaced Valencia on 76 minutes.

Playing a team with as much quality as City, you know that you're never quite safe and this was proved just a minute after Cole had been introduced; Silva found a way through the home sides'defence to break their resistance with enough time to search for a leveller.

In the last minute of normal time, Sakho, who was clearly struggling after a clash with Hart five minutes earlier, was replaced by Kevin Nolan. It remains to be seen whether the Senegalese striker will be fit for next weekend's trip to Stoke City after a reported issue with his collar bone.

After five minutes of stoppage time were signalled, City were still trying desperately to find an equaliser on two occasions. First, substitute Stevan Jovetic hit a shot which was blocked, then Aleksandar Kolarov, who had also come off the bench earlier in the game, sent an effort in from 35 yards that went inches wide of the post.

When the final whistle sounded, the roar from three sides of the stadium was something to behold as they continued their winning run. Confidence is high amongst the squad as they head to the Britannia Stadium next Saturday when the Hammers will hope to climb further up the league table.

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