A great win for Gianfaranco Zola and his men and it really was a proffesional win as well. The start of the game was confident and the passes along the ground were tight and controlled. A few chances at both ends but West Ham did look the most confident out of the two teams. However at the start of the match Carlton Cole’ lunge on the Hartlepool goalkeeper was possibly quite harsh on the in form West Ham striker. He was shown a yellow card but he was pushed from behind which caused him to plunge his studs in to the midrift of the Hartlepool goalkeeper. After this though the efforts came and when Mark Noble shot just wide you could sense that a goal was coming. With Julien Faubert and Herita Ilunga in acres of space on either side of the pitch you felt that the goals would come from the wide positions but the first goal came deep in the first half stoppage time with a great run from the youngster Jack Collison and the clinical finsh from Valon Behrami from about 15 yards out was deserved by the Hammers. Yet there was more to come. Hartlepool’s captain Nelson was judged to have handled inside the box when he was actually a couple of yards outside the box but no one complained from the Hammers, not least Mark Noble who slotted home the resultant penalty.
In the second half the proffesionalism from West Ham really started to show. Hartlepool created a few chances most notably a close range header that Robert Green managed to pull off a great reaction save to deny Hartlepool a goal. At the full time whistle I think most people will agree that the result was fair and although Hartlepool created a few opportunities, West Ham were the superior team and they showed it with two goals and Carlton Cole going extremely close at the end.
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