Hammers produce five star show
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 29 Nov 2009 13:41:00
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Life is never dull being a West Ham supporter, and it was no different on Saturday afternoon as Burnley arrived at Upton Park.

Gianfranco Zola made three changes from the side that drew at Hull City seven days ago, with Herita Ilunga and Jonathan Spector returning in the back four while Radoslav Kovac replaced the injured Valon Behrami in the middle of the park.

However it was Owen Coyle's side who started the brightest, with Clarke Carlisle having a header cleared off the line by Scott Parker in just the ninth minute. Parker was having an influential effect on the game as ten minutes later he released Jack Collison from a quick free-kick and the Welsh international, who beat the offside trap, clipped the ball past Brian Jensen.

Midway through the first half, the keeper was again returning the ball to the centre circle after Junior Stanislas ran onto a through ball by Franco, and after seeing his initial effort saved by the big Danish keeper, he then finished the opportunity, sliding the ball into the corner of the net from a seemingly difficult angle.

Moments before the interval, the Hammers completed a successful first half by making it three without reply. Carlton Cole bagged his seventh goal of the season from the spot after Spector had been pulled down in the area by Robbie Blake after a ramapaging run. Cole slotted the ball straight down the middle from 12 yards to carry on his impressive goalscoring run.

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In the second half, West Ham carried on where they left off, and continued to exert huge pressure on a struggling Burnley side. Just six minutes after the restart, the Hammers effectively made the game safe when the impressive Franco swept home, despite appeals for handball by the visitors, after a vicious Stanislas set-piece.

Burnley started to create chances, despite their disadvantage, with on-loan striker David Nugent missing two decent chances. It was the hosts, however, who put the game to bed in the 64th minute after another penalty. Substitute Luis Jimenez was felled by Jensen and the Chilean dusted himself off to net his first goal for the club.

This, however, was far from the end of the scoring as the Lancastrians mounted an amazing comeback, but still ended up falling short. Summer signing Steven Fletcher helped himself to a brace, and ex-Manchester Unied man Chris Eagles netted cooly from 12 yards following a centre from former Hammers full back Tyrone Mears. Burnley's miserable afternoon was capped by captain Steven Caldwell being shown his marching orders after being beaten for pace by Hammers' substitute Zavon Hines as he raced clean through.

Manager Gianfranco Zola would have been pleased with his side's attacking poise, but less so with the manner of the defending which allowed the visitors back into the game. West Ham must now take this momentum into a massive home game against the champions Manchester United on Saturday.

 

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