Peterborough 0 West Ham 2: A win that closes in on Reading, but Big Sam's under the Hammer
22:36 GMT, 27 March 2012
Sam Allardyce labelled West Ham’s fans ‘deluded’ after his side closed the gap on second-placed Reading to just one point.
Goals from Ricardo Vaz Te and Gary O’Neil made it 11 matches unbeaten for West Ham, who also equalled a club record 11 away victories, yet still the 5,000 travelling fans chanted Paolo di Canio’s name.
The songs were barely audible just before kick-off, but grew in intensity after an uninspiring first 15 minutes from West Ham.
Breaking the deadlock: Ricardo Vaz Te nods the Hammers ahead
Peterborough: Jones, Alcock, Zakuani (Little 62), Brisley, Rowe, Frecklington (Kearns 88), McCann, Boyd, Tomlin (Sinclair 62), Taylor, Barnett. Subs not used: Lewis, Ball.
West Ham: Green, O'Brien (Faubert 46), Tomkins, Faye (Collins 46), McCartney, O'Neil (Maynard 88), Noble, Nolan, Taylor, Cole, Vaz Te. Subs not used: Baldock, Carew.
Scorers: Vaz Te 51, O'Neil 57.
Allardyce’s response was to stand in the technical area with his hands in his pockets.
The win, after all, means West Ham can overtake Reading if they beat Brian McDermott’s side at Upton Park on Saturday.
But Hammers fans were not happy. ‘We
play on the floor,’ they sang, upset that their team were limited to
long-range shots from Taylor and Noble, but it was justified in the
final half an hour, when the visitors passed the ball around quite
beautifully after taking the lead.
‘I’m sick of all that rubbish,’ said Allardyce. ‘It just keeps rearing its head.
‘The facts speak for themselves and the perception of people that it is anything other than that are deluded.
‘It started off from other managers
because they got jealous I kept beating them. Whoever says we play that
way are deluded because we don‘t.
‘The fans get frustrated because we don’t win so they want to win something.
Dance of delight: Gary O'Neil's goal was well-received by the visitors
‘I know how to win football matches and I know what’s good for West Ham. I can’t get away from the tag and that’s life.’
West Ham, though, were laboured in
the first 20 minutes. Peterborough, by contrast, were lively straight
from the start. Lee Tomlin had the first shot on target after just 28
seconds and Paul Taylor also tested Robert Green 10 minutes later,
forcing the goalkeeper to tip his shot onto the bar.
Precious three points: Sam Allardyce
Darren Ferguson was incensed
Peterborough did not get a penalty just before half-time when Tommy Rowe
went down in the box, but George Boyd had an great chance to make
amends seconds later only for James Tomkins to block his shot.
‘The chance Boyd’s got right on
half-time was the key point,’ said the Peterborough manager. ‘If the
penalty was in the other box he gives it. But West Ham went 2-0 up and
they looked very professional.’
Whatever Allardyce said at half-time,
it worked. Vaz Te, back in the side after injury, scored his second
goal at London Road this season for his second club. The 25-year-old,
who also scored in a 4-3 win for Barnsley in December, headed home
After Nolan had sent a left-foot shot
whistling wide of the upright, Gary O’Neil tried the same tactic and
found the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the area to make it
Carlton Cole, who has scored only one
goal this calendar year, missed two excellent chances, as did George
McCartney and Matthew Taylor.