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  • Diamanti (45), Cole (67)
  • Date:2010-02-10
  • Kick-off:19:45
  • Venue:Upton Park
  • Attendance:34458
  • Referee:Dean, M

Live Commentary

90mins

FULL TIME: WEST HAM 2-0 BIRMINGHAM. The referee brings the game to a close and Upton Park erupts. It is a much-needed win against a disappointing Birmingham for Gianfranco Zola's side who will climb out of the relegation zone.

90mins

Birmingham make a mess of a free-kick in a dangerous position and Gardner resorts to taking a strike that sails over the crossbar.

88mins

The visitors are pushing forward in numbers now but are still struggling to find a way through the West Ham back-line.

86mins

Noble is straight into the action and gets a shot away from inside the box but it does not beat Ferguson who hacks the ball to safety.

85mins

Scott Parker has lead the line for West Ham but has run himself into the ground and is replaced by Mark Noble.

84mins

Phillips is caught offside again after making a late run into the box and striking a half volley over Green's bar.

82mins

The ball drops to Ferguson on the edge of the box but it is a frustrated strike more than anything and he blazes his effort over the bar.

81mins

Diamanti looks for Spector on the overlap and bursting into the box but Hart is quick off his line to smother the loose ball.

80mins

Birmingham try to work something in the final third but Kevin Phillips is ruled offside.

79mins

The hosts will be eager to see this one out and pick up three points now after picking up just one win in their last eleven league games.

77mins

Miguel Marcos Michel enters the fray in place of Lee Bowyer.

75mins

Parker is on the break now for West Ham and has options ahead of him before running into a crowd of bodies on the edge of the box.

73mins

Bowyer makes a darting run to the near post and gets a shot away. Upson puts the block in and the ball appears to be stopped by his arm but the referee waves play on.

72mins

Behrami surges forward and gets a shot away from 20-yards that forces a decent save out of Hart.

69mins

The visitors are yet to respond to going another goal down and Cole, who thoroughly deserved his goal, is wreaking havoc.

67mins

Alex McLeish makes an immediate change as James McFadden comes on for Keith Fahey.

67mins

WEST HAM 2-0 BIRMINGHAM: Faubert cuts a cross back from the byline and finds COLE whose diving header creeps in at the far post.

65mins

That is Mido's last action of the game as he makes way for Araujo Ilan who came off the bench to score at Turf Moor.

64mins

Mido dispossesses Ferguson and sends a strike straight down the throat of Hart from 25 yards.

62mins

Gardner's set-piece finds Johnson at the far post but his cushioned header into the danger area is cleared by Tomkins.

61mins

Matthew Upson, playing against his former club, is cautioned for a rash challenge on Gardner right on the edge of the box.

60mins

Faubert's delivery from the right flank has been top drawer this evening but this time his inviting cross does not find his target Mido.

59mins

Cole does superbly well to shrug off two defenders and hold the ball up for Diamanti whose wild effort flies into the stand behind the goal.

57mins

The hosts still look in control of this game and are keeping hold of the ball well, though there is a nervy edge to the game in this second-half.

55mins

Tomkins picks up a knock and looks to be struggling for the home side but looks set to continue for now.

53mins

Diamanti skips past two Birmingham players before hitting a speculative effort from 25 yards that grazes Hart's post.

52mins

Gardner does well down the right wing but cannot find Jerome with a low cross.

50mins

Green's punch finds Gardner who tries his luck from 25-yards and drives a strike wide of the target.

49mins

Behrami moves in from the right and slices open the Birmingham defence with a pass but Mido is nowhere near it and the ball runs out for a goal-kick.

47mins

Diamanti seeks Cole with a long ball which is intercepted by Johnson.

46mins

Herita Ilunga has not returned from the dressing room and Jonathan Spector fills in at left-back.

46mins

The sides return for the second-half and Gianfranco Zola has been forced to make a change in his line-up.

45mins

HALF TIME: WEST HAM 1-0 BIRMINGHAM. That was a great time to score for the hosts who take a deserved lead in at the break.

45mins

WEST HAM 1-0 BIRMINGHAM: DIAMANTI bends a sublime free-kick over the wall and into the top corner of Hart's goal.

44mins

Dann is booked for a foul on Parker 20 yards from goal.

44mins

Jerome is inches away from getting a toe on the end of a Gardner cross inside the six-yard box.

42mins

Bowyer picks up the first booking of the game following a slight kick on Diamanti.

41mins

Julien Faubert swings a high cross to the far post looking for Mido who cannot latch on to the loose ball.

39mins

The visitors get bodies forward and Gardner moves up the right flank before floating a poor cross into the arms of Green.

37mins

Phillips lets fly from 20-yards and forces Green into his first save of the game, turning the ball over the bar.

35mins

Kevin Phillips is seeing a lot more of the ball now and is the centre of all the moves.

33mins

Cole gets a sight of goal again but this time his effort is superbly blocked by Johnson.

32mins

Cole turns his marker in the box and blasts a strike wide of the far post.

30mins

It is end-to-end stuff now as the hosts push forward but Cole bundles over Roger Johnson in a race for the loose ball.

28mins

A great passing move from Birmingham as Bowyer slides a pass through to Jerome who drags his shot wide from inside the box.

26mins

Cole holds the ball up for Diamanti who works Hart with a fizzing left-footed strike.

25mins

Frantic defending from West Ham as Green is caught off his line and Cameron Jerome's cross bounces across the face of goal.

24mins

Mido reaches the byline but cannot find Cole with a low cross.

22mins

Green scrambles off his goal-line to palm an in-swinging Gardner corner to safety.

20mins

Birmingham are trying to get back into this game and are enjoying a spell of possession in their opponent's half.

18mins

Mido is in the thick of things again and cuts back onto his left foot before his curling left-footed effort is saved by Hart.

15mins

The West Ham winger gets another dangerous ball into the box but this time it is cleared by a blue shirt.

13mins

Diamanti is causing all the problems for Birmingham in these opening stages.

11mins

James Tomkins forces a save out of Hart with a low drive from the edge of a box.

10mins

Scott Parker puts a cross into the corridor of uncertainty but his team-mates are not on the same wavelength.

9mins

It is all West Ham at the moment and the hosts look sharp, passing the ball around with zip.

7mins

Mido looks sharp in the opening stages as his glancing header bounces wide of the post.

5mins

Liam Ridgewell picks out Craig Gardner at the far post and his header is saved by Rob Green.

4mins

An early Birmingham corner finds former Hammer Lee Bowyer on the edge of the box but he cannot direct his header goal-wards.

3mins

Carlton Cole is one-on-one with Hart but a dubious offside decision brings the move to an end.

2mins

It is a high tempo start from West Ham and a swirling Alessandro Diamanti comes to Mido whose header is taken at the near post by Joe Hart.

1mins

Referee Mike Dean gets the game underway.

0mins

Kevin Phillips earns himself a starting place after coming off the bench to score two late goals against Wolves on Sunday. Elsewhere Keith Fahey and Craig Gardner are drafted into Alex McLeish's eleven.

0mins

Benni McCarthy is ruled out of tonight's fixture with a knee injury so Mido makes his first start for West Ham. Herita Ilunga, Radoslav Kovac and Alessandro Diamanti also make starts following West Ham's 2-1 defeat to Burnley at the weekend.

Match Preview

Gianfranco Zola's West Ham United side face Birmingham City at Upton Park just four days after their predicament towards the foot of the Premier League table took another battering.

The Hammers lost 2-1 at Burnley on Saturday and have found a way back into the bottom three after their latest downturn in form.

To make matters worse, Burnley secured their first win in 12 matches in a run stretching back to the end of October by beating the Hammers at Turf Moor.

Zola's side have won just once in ten games as their problems mount but, with new owners David Sullivan and David Gold at the helm, their fans should be confident of forcing a way out of their current malaise.

New signing Benni McCarthy will add some much-needed striking flair and fellow new boy Ilan, who joined the club from St Etienne, scored against Burnley after coming off the bench and could have forced his way into the starting line-up.

On the injury front, Zola still has several first-team players unavailable. Guillermo Franco, Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer (all hamstring) are nearing fitness but the midweek showdown may come too soon for all of them.

Zavon Hines and Luis Boa Morte (both knee) are out for the rest of the season with central defender Calum Davenport still missing after a domestic incident that left him with a serious thigh injury.

Birmingham City are in fantastic form and demonstrated their battling capabilities on Sunday after turning over Wolverhampton Wanderers at St Andrew's.

Kevin Doyle had opened the scoring for Wolves but a late double from veteran forward Kevin Phillips further extended the Blues' fine record of just one defeat in 15 Premier League fixtures.

They sit in eighth position and, with Alex McLeish's main aim at the start of the season to stay in the top-flight, he will be pinching himself following the success of his Midlands outfit so far this term.


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Match Report

West Ham United eased their relegation fears with a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 victory against a disappointing Birmingham City side at Upton Park.

All the pre-match talk had centred around former Blues owners David Gold and David Sullivan who had suggested that a 25 per cent salary cut was needed to be taken down Upton Park way.

But following this vital victory, the Hammers' new co-owners should be thinking about giving Gianfranco Zola's boys a pay-rise after goals by Alessandro Diamanti and Carlton Cole sent West Ham into the safety zone.

Languishing precariously in 18th spot, the cash-strapped Hammers had made four changes from the side that had lost at Burnley on Saturday as Diamanti, Mido, Herita Ilunga and Radoslav Kovac came in for the injured Benni McCarthy (knee) plus substitutes Jack Collison, Jonathan Spector and Mark Noble.

Certainly no quarter was given by Zola's men in the opening exchanges, as the determined Mido twice threatened, before Joe Hart saved stinging long-rangers from James Tomkins and Diamanti.

Kicking off ten places above the Hammers, the Blues had kept the same 11 that finished Sunday's 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

That meant there were starting places for two-goal hero Kevin Phillips plus Keith Fahey and Craig Gardner as Christian Benitez missed out, while James McFadden took his place on the bench alongside Sebastian Larsson.

Despite being on the back foot, the Midlanders saw Stephen Carr's clever byline cross cause mayhem in the Hammers defence and then Phillips played in Cameron Jerome, who slid inches wide to the relief of West Ham's frost-bitten fans amongst the crowd of 34,458.

On the half-hour mark, Cole powerfully turned his markers before agonisingly curling his angled shot across the face of Hart and beyond the far post, while moments later, the Hammers' top-scorer saw his point-blank shot bravely blocked by Scott Dann.

In first-half stoppage time, the Blues defender was in the thick of things once more, when he joined Lee Bowyer in referee Mike Dean's book for ending steam-rollering Scott Parker's penetrating run with a crude trip.

And Dann's punishment was compounded when the left foot of Diamanti curled the consequent 20-yard free-kick over the Birmingham wall and under Hart's left-hand angle to give West Ham a richly-deserved interval lead with his sixth goal of the season.

Just after the restart, the Italian went looking for a second but, after leaving a trail of defenders in his wake, he saw the well-placed Hart hold his 25-yarder and, on the hour mark, he blasted Cole's cut-back high onto the frozen wastes of the Bobby Moore Stand.

Midway through the second half, Zola brought on Ilan for the tiring Mido, while Alex McLeish replaced Fahey with McFadden but, within seconds of those switches, West Ham doubled their advantage.

This time, the patient Valon Behrami played in the overlapping Julien Faubert and the Frenchman's knee-high cross into the six-yard box was met by the diving Cole, whose eighth goal of the season cemented the three precious points that lifted West Ham into 14th spot.

West Ham United

Birmingham City

Corners

36

Fouls

149

Goal attempts

129

Shots off target

47

Offsides

34

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