West Ham 1 Manchester City 0: Bellamy is upstaged by superb Savio
02 March 2009 05:08
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Having spent only 18 months at Upton Park, much of which was on the treatment table, Craig Bellamy was never likely to enter into West Ham
It was a fact reflected in the somewhat lukewarm abuse the Welshman received on his return with Manchester City
There was no Paul Ince or Frank Lampard treatment for Bellamy; the level of vitriol did not go beyond being told to go forth and multiply.
Craig Bellamy suffered a miserable return to Upton Park
West Ham fans will, however, be hoping that they will be chanting the names of Savio Nsereko and Jack Collison for many years to come.
Savio, introduced for the injured Valon Behrami before the break, helped swing the gamein West Ham's favour.
Upton spark: Impressive Hammers youngster Savio bends in a fearsome shot on goal under pressure from Citry midfielder Nigel De Jong
After turning Nedum Onuoha inside out, his shot from the edge of the box was too hot for Shay Given to handle and allowed Collison to loop the ball over the stranded City keeper.
A nice way for the Welsh international to celebrate St David's Day, not so clever for Bellamy or his manager Mark Hughes, however.
That Savio was involved in the goal will have been all the sweeter for Hammers fans given £5million of the £14m they received from City for Bellamy went as a down payment to Italian side Brescia for his services.
And the fact that 20-year-old Collison has come through West Ham's youth ranks will also be pleasing.
'It was a close game but I think in the end we deserved it a bit more than them,' said Zola
Robinho (centre), who endured a frustrating afternoon, is stopped by Scott Parker (left)
'Savio came on and did really well and I am pleased for him.
'As for Jack Collison, he showed that if you have passion, heart and belief you can be successful and I think he has all three of those qualities.'
In fairness to Bellamy - who got the second biggest cheer of the day when he was replaced by Elano after feeling a problem in his knee - he has been decent business for City.
Collison clebreates his winner with David DiMichele and Carlton Cole
He was also one of City's players prepared to put himself about, despite being shifted to the right after Scott Parker's challenge saw Micah Richards withdrawn after 15 minutes.
The same cannot be said of Robinho, who once again turned in a shockingly disinterested performance for his team-mates, manager and fans. Those who watched his career unfold at Real Madrid will not be surprised.
Combative Parker gets the better of Micah Richards (top)
'The least we deserved was a draw if not a win,' said a defiant Hughes.
Asked whether Bellamy had been affected by the barracking from the terraces, Hughes replied with a broad grin: 'No, not at all.'
At least somebody had given him reason to smile.
WEST HAM UNITED: (4-4-2): Green 7; Neill 7, Tomkins 6, Upson 7, Ilunga 7; Behrami 6 (Savio 43min, 7), Parker 7, Kovac 6 (Spector 83), Collison 7; Cole 7, Di Michele 6 (Lopez 87). Booked: Parker, Kovac.
MANCHESTER CITY: (4-3-2-1): Given 7; Richards 6 (Caicedo 15, 6), Dunne 6, Onuoha 6, Bridge 6; Kompany 6, De Jong 5 (Bojinov 89), Zabaleta 6; Ireland 6, Robinho 4; Bellamy 6 (Elano 66, 6). Booked: Kompany, Ireland.
Man of the match: Savio Nsereko. Referee: Mike Dean.