Leicester 1 West Ham 2: Jack's the lad and Big Sam's still dreaming after fightback
22:54 GMT, 23 April 2012
Jack Collison set up a dramatic final day in the Championship after a gritty West Ham fightback on Monday night.
The Wales midfielder struck a winner from 25 yards to crank up the pressure on second-placed Southampton as their manager Nigel Adkins once more saw automatic promotion slip through his fingers.
Defeat for the visitors and he would have been uncorking the bubbly. As it was, the only fizz last night was from Collison's 58th-minute shot which flew into the bottom corner and set the nerves jangling before the Saints' match on Saturday against relegated Coventry.
All smiles: Collison kept West Ham's hopes alive with his second-half strike
Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Morgan, Bamba, Konchesky, Marshall, Wellens (Dyer 22), Drinkwater, King (St. Ledger 46), Beckford, Nugent (Waghorn 65). Subs Not Used: Howard, Vassell.
Goals: Beckford 34.
West Ham: Green, Demel (Faubert 76), Reid, Tomkins,Taylor, Collison (Lansbury 88), Noble, Nolan, O'Neil, Cole (Collins 81), Vaz Te. Subs Not Used: Baldock, Diop. Booked: O'Neil.
Goals: Reid 39, Collison 58.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).
Last night it was all about reducing a
five-point gap for West Ham. After Jermaine Beckford headed Leicester
in front 11 minutes before the interval, it looked as though the plans
of manager Sam Allardyce had been scuppered.
But Winston Reid bundled home within a
few minutes and Collison pounced after Leicester substitute Sean St
Ledger blocked Gary O'Neil's drive.
But West Ham were wasteful and may yet rue a four-goal difference, should Southampton draw against Coventry.
Jack's the lad: Collison scores the winner against Leicester
The Hammers will need to kick into
overdrive against Hull. But Allardyce was canny enough to realise the
burden of pressure had now been transferred.
'It's a well-deserved victory and should have been by more,' he said.
'But we got exactly what we wanted
tonight, which was the three points. It was a good performance,
especially having to come back from a goal down. And a terrific goal
from Jack Collison made it a good night.
'So, we have stayed in the race
until the very end. We have to do our job and then wait and see if
Coventry can do a bit at Southampton.
Hammer time: Kevin Nolan celebrates Collison's second-half strike
'It certainly gives us a better
chance than we had at the start. We had to win it to stay in it. If
Southampton get the jitters or Coventry play with no fear because they
have been relegated, who knows They will be under enormous pressure
after the fantastic season that they have had.
'But we need to do our job against
Hull. Whatever happens after that, it's been a great season whether we
go up or go into the play-offs.'
It had appeared to be one of those evenings for West Ham when, against the run of play, Beckford netted his 15th of the season.
Ben Marshall skipped clear of a
challenge from Matt Taylor near the touchline and sent a delightful
cross to the far post which simply begged to be converted. The former
Leeds striker was not about to miss.
Head boy: Beckford gives Leicester the lead
But four minutes later Taylor made
amends as he created an overlap from Mark Noble's pass and slammed the
ball across goal for Reid to force home from two yards.
That was the pivotal moment as
Leicester, forced to swap their central midfielders through injury,
struggled in the second-half.
Kevin Nolan spooned over a shot with a clear sight of goal, but that didn't matter when, 60 seconds later, Collison scored.
West Ham were then spared the agony
of a late penalty when Reid totally misjudged a ball, hooking his leg
into Wes Morgan's shoulder after the Leicester defender had nodded on
Kasper Schmeichel's long punt. It has given Allardyce 'a slim chance'.
'Who would have thought that Everton would draw 4-4 with Manchester United' he said.
'And who would have thought West Brom would go to Anfield and win And who fancied Wigan to beat Arsenal
'We need to concentrate on ourselves. Like I said: Who knows'