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18:26 1th January 2011

Unhappy Start To New Year

West Ham 2 (Zubar-og 53, Sears 79) Wolves 0 Missed chances, a performance from England keeper Robert Green that earned him the Man of the Match award and an unfortunate own goal from Ronald Zubar combined to help make it an unhappy start to the New Year for Wolves and their supporters. Unsurprisingly, Mick McCarthy named an unchanged team for the visit to Upton Park with West Ham kicking-off attacking the end of the ground that housed the travelling support. Wayne Hennessey collected a first minute corner from Scott Parker and it was the Hammers midfielder that turned behind a Matt Jarvis cross for Wolves first corner five minutes later. Stephen Hunt's inswinging corner looked like it was going to drift in until Frederic Piquionne headed behind. From Hunt's second flag kick there was a brief scramble in the six-yard box before Carlton Cole conceded a third corner as he cleared from Christophe Berra. Play was swinging from end to end and after Piquionne had fired high over the bar from the edge of the D, Robert Green dived at his near post to take a low drive from Stephen Ward. Hunt's corners were causing problems for the home defence and in the 19th minute his kick bounced around in the heart of the area before Sylvan Ebanks-Blake headed into the arms of Green. There was a chance for Freddie Sears after Hunt had slipped on the greasy surface but he shot straight at Hennessey from the edge of the box. Richard Stearman had to race across to boot clear after Junior Stanislas had broken into the left side of the area, but West Ham could have moved into the lead in the 29th minute. A slip by George Elokobi left Cole with just Hennessey to beat but the tall striker shot wide of the far post as the keeper quickly closed him down. Hennessey had to race from his area to clear from Parker but he was beaten in the 41st minutes and he had Stearman to thank for a goalline clearance after Sears had run in unopposed to lash he ball goalwards. Half-Time: West Ham 0 Wolves 0 Green was at his best to thwart Wanderers as they made a strong start to the new half. A shot from Ebanks-Blake struck Matthew Upson and bounced behind for a corner that was taken by Jarvis. It took an excellent save by Green to turn away a header from Cole who had deflected the ball goalwards as he attempted to clear the flag kick. The ball was played out to Jarvis and from his cross Green made another fine save from Berra's header to deny the Scot his first goal for the club. Then the keeper palmed away a shot from Ward before Milijaš fired over the bar from eight-yards out. Totally against the run of play, West Ham took a 53rd minute lead thanks to an own goal from Zubar. Cole swung and missed as he tried to connect with Piquionne's centre and the ball struck the French defender rebounding into the net beyond the reach of Hennessey. Stearman's momentum saw him collide with Parker after he had won the ball quite fairly in a tackle. The crowd and home players were clearly intent on the referee showing a red card but after a brief flare up the official showed the yellow - and even that was harsh. Hennessey did brilliantly to touch a Upson header onto the bar before collecting the rebound. The keeper was incandescent with rage when the referee failed to spot Cole dragging down Kevin Foley as Parker's corner was on its way over. Milijaš was fouled near the left hand corner of the West Ham box and, after Jarvis's free-kick had hit the wall, the ball bounced to the Serb whose teasing cross forced Green to backpeddle and tip it over the bar. Wolves made a double switch in the 75th minute with David Edwards and Steven Fletcher coming on for Hunt and Elokobi. The afternoon for Wolves was summed up just a minute later as Ebanks-Blake met Foley's cross and beat Green only for his header to smack against the crossbar before being cleared. Piquionne was narrowly wide of the far post with a low drive after he had cut in from the left before Sears gave The Hammers some breathing space as he netted from eight-yards after Tal Ben Haim had delivered a cross from the right. Radoslav Kovac was booked for delaying the restart. In the closing minutes, Marcus Bent was sent on for Milijaš and Ben Haim cleared a dangerous cross from Fletcher. It's easy to say that Wolves didn't have any luck in their first game of 2011. But, in truth, the simple fact is that they didn't. West Ham: Green, Ben Haim, Gabbidon, Tomkins, Parker, Cole, Kovac, Upson (capt), Sears, Stanislas (Noble 70), Piquionne. Unused subs: Boffin, Reid, Barrera, Boa Morte, Hines, Obinna. Booking: Kovac (80 - time wasting). Wolves: Hennessey, Zubar, Elokobi (Edwards 75), Jarvis, Berra, Stearman, Foley (capt), Milijaš (Bent 87), Ebanks-Blake, Ward, Hunt (Fletcher 75). Unused subs: Hahnemann, Jones, Mujangi-Bia, Batth. Booking: Stearman (55 - foul). Referee: L. Probert. Attendance: 33,500.
    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.