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West Ham United
Posted by Billy Blagg on 01/31/2011

A Victor Obinna hat-trick earned West Ham a home draw against Burnley in the 5th round and helped, very slightly, to banish the memories of Wednesday night's sem-final Carling Cup defeat.

It was an excellent game with Nottingham Forest showing why they are pushing hard for promotion from the Championship but, it has to be said, also proving that there is a big gap between the two divisions, West Ham resting nine of the players who performed at Birmingham in mid-week and still looking comfortable after a first-half scare.

It may have been different if Obinna's 42nd minute cross-cum-shot hadn't cancelled David McGoldrick's goal just two minutes earlier, the Forest striker's jump on the line after Rob Green could only parry a defensive header amongst a sea of bodies had put Forest 2-1 up, and had the visitor's gone in at half-time with the lead then things might have been different. As it was Obinna's 30-yard shot flew over Lee Camp although it seemed pretty clear that the Hammer's forward had hoped to pick out Piquionne. No-one was complaining though, level at half-time West Ham upped the pace and become the dominant side in the second half.

The Hammer's had gone ahead in the 4th minute after a corner - given after Freddie Sears had a shot blocked - had been struck hard by Noble and diverted in at the far post by Obinna. Forest appealed for off-side but the Nigerian had clearly been played on. After that though, Forest looked the better side and constantly worried the home defence - no surprise I hear you cry! - and deserved to be on level terms after 18 minutes when Adebola struck home from well inside the area from a good low cross by McGoldrick.

Nottingham continued to take the game to the home side and, following a free-kick for a clumsy tackle by Ilunga, the ball was played into the near post where a number of heads rose to clear, unsighting Green who could only parry a Piquionne back-header into the air for McGoldrick to nod in. Obinna then scored his 30 yarder.

After half-time, West Ham improved and it was Obinna with his third goal who put the Hammer's ahead when Winston Reid was clearly manhandled when turning to meet a Freddie Sears flick into the penalty area. The Nigerian's celebration of flips after completing his hat-trick may well have alerted any visiting Gymnastic coaches checking out the facilities in nearby Stratford

Freddie Sear's involvement in the winner and the game in general was quite interesting. Quite why the lad wasn't thought able to fit somewhere into the play against Birmingham is something of a mystery as the player has been playing well since being brought back from his loan period and, in this match, could have put West Ham further ahead with a shot from distance that Camp did well to save.

So, a good win after disappointment earlier in the week while the other encouraging news concerned the confirmation of the signing of Robbie Keane. This could well give West Ham just the type of goal-scoring boost they need in the remaning games in the Premiership. Perhaps there is a little bit more left to this season, after all?

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About
Billy Blagg Born at an early age a mere defenders' spit from the Boleyn ground, Billy Blagg has seen every West Ham game from 1898 onwards. Blagg was mentioned by Kenneth Wolstenholme in 1966 as one of the people on the pitch during the famous Hammers win over West Germany that lifted the World Cup and he returned to the pitch again for the 1975 FA Cup Final but stayed on the terrace for 1980 FA Cup victory. Blagg, 26, now lives with his eighth wife and innumerable children in a small semi-detached with chintz curtains in Dagenham, Essex and still attends every Hammers match and training session.

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