Thursday, 5 March 2009

Wigan Athletic 0 West Ham United 1

Carlton Cole Keeps West Ham’s European Ambitions Burning by Gary Jacob
Carlton Cole’s sumptuous finish at the end of a brilliant move, 11 minutes before half-time, should have been the main topic of this match, but instead the West Ham United forward’s dismissal less than three minutes later led to a debate about the referee. Wigan Athletic were also reduced to ten men, after the interval, with Stuart Attwell, not shy of controversy this season, awarding seven yellow cards as the battle for a European spot spilled over into acrimony and anger... Times
Carlton Cole Sees Red After Scoring Winner At Wigan by Phil Shaw
Bruce’s comments were not simply a case of sour grapes. His complaint was that 26-year-old Attwell should not have dismissed Cole for what was a high but, according to Bruce, “petty” challenge on Emerson Boyce. The former Birmingham manager also magnanimously hailed the new England striker’s decisive finish, which came only three minutes before his dismissal, as “probably the goal of the season”... Telegraph
It's GBH At The JJB by Jeremy Butler
A brief moment of artistry settled this vicious battle of a match as Carlton Cole and Lee Cattermole saw red on a night that shamed the Barclays Premier League. Cole scored the 34th-minute winner at the JJB before being dismissed three minutes later in an incident that raised the blood pressure of both sides to boiling point. Cattermole followed shortly after the interval for an appalling tackle on Scott Parker, who had been one of the protagonists as this match gathered a sadistic edge... Mail
Cole Fires Hammers Before Burning Out by Jon Culley
If Steve Bruce is right and Wigan have reached the defining point in their season, their prospects are not as good as he had probably hoped. Last night, in a bad-tempered contest of two red cards, his side failed to score for the sixth time in eight games and surrendered an unbeaten home run that began in October. "Uefa Cup?" Bruce responded, with a bemused look when asked where the result left Wigan's ambitions. "Ask a silly question..."... Independent
Cole The Poacher Is Sent Packing by Richard Jolly
The skirmish for seventh place may have promised a mild-mannered meeting of two quiet overachievers. It became the battle of the JJB Stadium, with rivalries rapidly established, feuds escalating throughout the game and each side depleted by a dismissal. West Ham, courtesy of Carlton Cole, cemented their place as the leading challengers to the top six, though the match-winner was confined to a cameo by the referee Stuart Attwell. Cole, whose contribution only spanned an eventful 37 minutes, and Lee Cattermole made premature exits, a second sending-off of the season for each... Guardian
Two See Red As Fiery Cole Sinks Wigan by Michael Johns
Carlton Cole’s superb matchwinner kept West Ham on course for a possible place in Europe next season before the striker conspired with Wigan’s Lee Cattermole to drag the game towards chaos. The pair were correctly sent off for dangerous challenges but a number of their colleagues – notably Hammers’ pair Lucas Neill and Scott Parker – may count themselves lucky not to suffer the same fate in an ill-tempered game... Express


Gianfranco Zola spoke of his pride at his players' battling performance after they ground out a second 1-0 win in four days and consolidated their hold on seventh place. "It's an important win and a very well-deserved win," said Zola, who had nine players under 23 in his squad. "I think that until we got the goal and until Carlton Cole got sent off the team played a fantastic match. More than just to get the three points, to see the players play like this makes me feel very pleased and very proud. The build-up to the goal was magnificent. One or two touches and pass-and-move, it was very, very good."

On the Cole dismissal, which prompted him to visit referee Stuart Attwell's room straight after the match, Zola said: "For me it was not a reckless challenge. Carlton Cole didn't even look at the defender. He just went for the ball. I have seen him do it so many times. He is so good at controlling the ball in those situations. He didn't want to cause any damage. For me it was too much. Understand me, I don't want to be too critical of the referee. We are here to help the referees because they are human beings like us and they can make mistakes. We need to support them because they are a very important part of the game. Until the red card] it was a game where both of the teams were trying to play. It was a magnificent game of football up to that moment. Then it got a little bit more spicy but that's it, as simple as that."

A typically combative performance from Scott Parker earned yet more plaudits from Zola, with the midfielder driving the team on before making way to a standing ovation late on from the terrific travelling support that braved snowy conditions. The manager said: "Scott Parker is a player who gives everything, He gives his soul when he is on the pitch. He never goes back on a challenge, it is as simple as that. Players like that are committed and involved in every situation."

Such individual displays - set alongside the likes of Cole and the maturing James Tomkins - contributed to a team triumph that left the manager in no doubt his team can push for a seventh-place finish - especially with the next two games against teams in the bottom three in West Bromwich Albion at home and Blackburn Rovers away. "Why not? We are there. We are ambitious and we know that it is not an easy achievement but the players are enthusiastic and enjoying what they are doing so why not? We want to improve day-by-day and take it from there."

1 comment:

Jamie Penfold said...

It had the makings of a really good match until the pointless dismissal. You could see that the ref had lost it.

More annoying is it will detract from what could arguably be one of West Ham's finest goals. Goal of the Season contender???

 

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