Hammers hit Rovers for four
Bellamy volley pick of the goals in Ince's first defeat as Rovers boss
By Laura Slatcher. Last Updated: 31/08/08 10:27am
Davenport: Opened Hammers scoring
West Ham cruised to a 4-1 win over Blackburn at Upton Park on Saturday with Craig Bellamy coming on to score their final goal.
The Hammers took the lead after 12 minutes when Calum Davenport rose to fire a precise header past an indecisive Paul Robinson.
Their lead was doubled ten minutes later thanks to an own goal from Christopher Samba. The Rovers defender tussled with Dean Ashton only to send the ball past his own keeper.
Blackburn immediately hit back when Steven Reid played a neat ball through to Jason Roberts who turned past Davenport to fire it into the right hand corner.
Just minutes after the break Rovers had the chance to equalise when Carlton Cole handled Reid's free kick inside the box. Roberts stepped up to take the penalty only for Robert Green to easily save.
West Ham sealed the win thanks to a Craig Bellamy volley and a Carlton Cole strike, leaving Paul Ince with his first defeat as Blackburn boss.
Paul Ince suffered his first Premier League defeat as Blackburn manager against former club West Ham in a frantic finish at Upton Park.
Substitute Craig Bellamy and striker Carlton Cole both scored stoppage-time goals to shatter luckless Blackburn.
The Hammers were hanging on to a precarious 2-1 advantage thanks to goals from Calum Davenport and a Christopher Samba own goal early in the first half, with Jason Roberts replying in the 22nd minute.
But the late show gave the scoreline a convincing look.
Predictably, Ince's appearance at Upton Park produced more of the same verbal abuse he has become used to after a perceived disloyalty as a West Ham player nearly 20 years ago, when he left for Manchester United.
But it could not have hurt as much as the result. His star striker Roque Santa Cruz could have silenced the crowd inside three minutes, but his low shot following a run and cross from the left by Stephen Warnock was blocked by Davenport inside the area.
Home fans then turned on Rovers new boy, Australian Vince Grella. His crunching challenge left Scott Parker in a heap near the half-way line and referee Mike Riley had to calm down several West Ham players before showing the former Torino man a yellow card.
The Hammers applied some pressure and Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson did not look too secure when electing to punch away Julien Faubert's corner - for another flag kick.
Centre back Davenport's goal came when he outjumped Samba and Ryan Nelson to head in Faubert's superbly delivered corner.
West Ham made it 2-0 eight minutes later with a controversial goal that was at first credited to Dean Ashton but was later proved on television replays to have gone in off Samba.
Noble had started the move with a fine ball through to Faubert and he made ground to meet the Frenchman's low cross with a scuffed first-time effort which ended up trickling in off Samba.
Two minutes later, though, Jason Roberts was allowed a free passage through the West Ham penalty area and pulled a goal back with a neat finish just inside the far post.
But Blackburn's relief was short-lived. Roberts was soon booked for disputing an offside call and then Santa Cruz limped off to be replaced by Matt Derbyshire.
The Hammers had been two up early on against Wigan in their first home game of the season and ended up hanging on for a 2-1 win. So their fans were not exactly sitting comfortably.
And when Derbyshire's effort was ruled offside in the 33rd minute they knew they had been given a lucky escape.
Straight after the interval came an even bigger one. Cole, back in defence, handled a free kick by Reid but Green plunged to his left to keep out Roberts' penalty.
Green excelled once more, saving with a foot when Brett Emerton's close-range header looked a certain equaliser in the 71st minute after Derbyshire's cross sailed over the head of substitute George McCartney at the far post.
But Robinson was equally heroic for Rovers, bravely keeping out Bellamy's shot after the Wales star made his comeback from injury as a second half substitute for Ashton - and then pushing Cole's fierce drive around a post as the Hammers looked to make sure of the points.
There was no stopping Bellamy, though, as he raced onto former Rovers skipper Lucas Neill's through-ball at the start of five minutes stoppage-time. And just for good measure Cole blasted a fourth with almost the last kick.
|West Ham United||Team Statistics||Blackburn Rovers|
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||5|
|7||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Ham United||28||31|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||28||25|