Writer: Peter Simcox
Date:Sunday November 11 2007
Rams Hammered by Irons
Many Rams fans left Pride Park early after seeing West Ham completely rip their team apart in a four goal second half blitz, with Lee Bowyer scoring twice as West Ham thrashed Derby 0-5.
It was the worst home defeat since Sunderland won by the same score line in September 1999.
Rams boss Billy Davies made five changes to the starting line up that lost 0-2 at Aston villa last week with Kenny Miller, Tyrone Mears, Gary Teale, Eddie Lewis and Mark Edworthy, who was the surprise choice in the side making his premier League debut.
They replaced the injured Claude Davis and Dean Leacock, while Jay McEveley, Steve Howard and Craig Fagan dropped to the bench.
The Rams hoped to kick start their season with a victory and the game being the only Premier League clash on Saturday afternoon they were under the scrutiny of the rest of the league, and they began hesitantly and in the opening minutes the challenges were flying in keeping referee Mark Clattenburg very busy.
Miller looked isolated up front and the Rams were playing the long ball up to the Scottish International and it was the visitors who had the better of the chances.
The first fell to luis Boa Morte, he got the better of Marc Edworthy down the right and his shot was superbly blocked by Darren Moore, the follow-up from Cole was well kept out by Stephen Bywater's legs.
Then on 29 minutes Andy Griffin was penalised for handball on the edge of the box, and Nolberto Solano came within inches of the opener, curling his free-kick over the wall and against the woodwork with Bywater nowhere.
The Rams were struggling again in the final third and hadn`t really tested keeper Robert Green, it was a disjointed performance and the Rams faithful were getting a little disgruntled, and five minutes before half time West Ham got the breakthrough.
Carlton Cole headed into the path of Bowyer, who controlled the ball in the box and fired past Bywater. The Rams complained vigorously that Bowyer had used a hand to control the ball, but Clattenburg waved away their protests.
At the break the Rams left the field to boo`s from the crowd, but what they didn`t now was what was too happen in the second half.
West Ham opened brightly in the second half and went close when Cole crossed from the right and found Boa Morte, but his shot was saved low by Bywater and cleared.
From the resulting corner, poor marking in the box by the Rams allowed Matthew Upton a free shot at goal, which cannoned off the crossbar.
The Rams first threat on goal came on 49 minutes and they should have levelled, Lewis was sent clear down the left and his pin point cross found Miller unmarked at the back post, but the former Celtic striker headed well wide.
That miss came back to haunt the Rams moments later when Matthew Etherington doubled the visitors lead, John Pantsil played the ball into the box and, after a one-two with Bowyer, Etherington drove home.
It was a huge blow for the Rams and their heads dropped which wouldn`t have pleased Rams boss Davies, he brought on Steven Howard to partner Miller, but the Hammers made it 3-0 on 53 minutes.
Solano`s corner was nodded back by Australian International Lucas Neil and Jonathan Spector shot was blocked on the line by Lewis but it deflected of the Rams midfielder and rolled over the line.
Former West Ham defender Mears almost pulled a goal back for the Rams moments later his run and shot flew inches wide.
With the Rams chasing the game the Hammers looked dangerous every time they went forward and on 61 minutes they made it four, Solano played in Cole down the right and his ball into the box was finished clinically by Bowyer.
Could it get any worse for the Rams, the answer was yes and on 68 minutes it was 5-0, Solano put the seal on a comprehensive win when he curled a free-kick into the far corner of the net to send some of the home fans heading towards the exits.
Craig Fagan came on late and had a couple of chances, while Oakley and Robert Earnshaw tried their luck from long-range but they couldn`t find the target and at the final whistle it was a game they would like to forget in hurry. But they will have to wait for two weeks for the next game when Chelsea visit Pride Park after the international break.
Derby: GK Bywater, Mears, Moore, Edworthy, Griffin, Barnes, Oakley, Pearson, Teale (Howard 52), Miller (Fagan 75), Lewis (Earnshaw 58).
Subs Not Used: McEveley, Jones.
West Ham: GK Green, Neill, Gabbidon, Upson, McCartney (Pantsil 14), Solano, Spector, Bowyer (Collins 72), Etherington, Cole, Boa Morte.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Ljungberg, Camara.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
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Date:Sunday November 11 2007
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