Wise Didn't Have The Bottle To Watch Newcastle!

Last updated : 21 September 2008 By Footy Mad - Editor
In the end Wise decide to give it a miss.

Instead he ended up at Watford's Vicarage Road.

And I think that just about says it all!


WEST HAM: Green, Behrami, Upson, Neill, Ilunga, Faubert, Noble,Parker (Mullins 72), Etherington (Boa Morte 73), Di Michele,Cole (Sears 87).

Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Davenport, Reid.

NEWCASTLE: Given, Edgar (Bassong 59), Taylor, Coloccini,N'Zogbia, Geremi, Cacapa (Gonzalez 81), Butt, Duff, Owen, Xisco.

Subs Not Used: Harper, Ameobi, Tozer, Doninger, Donaldson.

Given the club sponsor, holiday company XL, had gone bust, the Hammers had squad numbers on both the back and front of their shirts, while Newcastle have recently looked about as safe a bet as the Northern Rock.

It was a positive start by the hosts, who had won both of their opening home games under Alan Curbishley - the former boss quitting after a row with the board over player transfers.

Di Michele skipped clear off the offside trap and into the left side of the penalty area. However, Shay Given stood up at his near post to make the save.

The Italian then got lucky after eight minutes when he cut inside from the right and shot from 20 yards - then wheeled away in celebration as the ball ricocheted off Steven Taylor and up over the keeper into the net.

West Ham continued to press forwards and in the 23rd minute, Matthew Etherington's surging run and cross down the left flank just failed to pick out Carlton Cole who was arriving at pace in the middle.

Mark Noble shot wide again - this time driving an angled effort well wide from the left side of the penalty box.

Di Michele showed him how it should be done with nine minutes left to half-time.

The chance looked to have been spurned after the Italian was played in by Noble and Given had come out to make a reaction save with his head.
However, the ball dropped back to the striker.

Given far too much time and space, he simply turned inside Taylor before slamming home his second from six yards.

Newcastle faced an uphill battle now to get anything out of the match.
When the ball dropped to Charles N'Zogbia 25 yards from goal, he blazed it high into the stands - just about summing up the visitor's afternoon so far.

However, Newcastle made a bright start to the second half, and Geremi's deep cross was just too far ahead of Spanish striker Xisco.

Australian defender Lucas Neill, the Hammers captain, was cautioned in the 51st minute following a late challenge on Owen.

Geremi's free-kick found its way through to the six-yard box, where Taylor flicked it goalwards, but Owen could not get any power on his close-range header.

It proved a costly miss as, after 53 minutes, the hosts went up the other end and scored.

Cole played Di Michele away down the right channel, and he sprinted into the area.

Unselfishly, the Italian, on a hat-trick, laid the ball back across goal for Etherington to sweep it into the net.

Di Michele was then teed up by Ilunga's left-wing cross - but crashed a left-foot effort over the bar from 15 yards.

Xisco, signed from Deportivo de La Coruna just before the transfer window closed, felt he should have had a penalty when Valon Behrami looked to deflect his chip into the box with a hand - but referee Phil Dowd was unimpressed.

Newcastle, though, did get a lifeline after 67 minutes.

Claudio Cacapa slipped in Owen at the edge of the penalty area and the England striker dropped his shoulder to pass Neill before bending a superb effort into the top right corner.

The visitors' spirits were raised and Cacapa almost stabbed in another, but Robert Green was behind his close-range effort before then keeping out a low drive from Damien Duff.

Newcastle continued to press and Cacapa was furious with himself after heading over from 10 yards.

While West Ham looked far from comfortable during the closing stages - something which their new manager will undoubtedly work on - they managed to close the match out without any further scares.

Indeed, they should have netted a fourth in stoppage time, but substitute Luis Boa Morte shot wide when clean through - with Di Michele screaming for a square pass and a certain hat-trick.