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West Ham Game 1 2013

The West Ham Utd 2013 Game 1 took place at the sun drenched Boleyn Ground on the morning of Mon 27th May. The perfect conditions made for an excellent game of football and the watching fans were treated to plenty of goal, unfortunately they all went for the one side. The determined Home side were simply unable to handle the attacking threat of their opponents and could do nothing to prevent the Away team putting 11 past them without reply. The Away side putting in an outstanding all-round performance which blew the Home team out of the water.

Date: Monday 27th May
Venue: The Boleyn Ground
West Ham Home vs West Ham Away
Game 1
Kick off: 10am
Match Officials: Gordon Manning, Peter Cruise, Andreas Anastasiou & Peter Nagy

As the players walked out of the tunnel onto the pitch they were bathed in warm sunshine and this undoubtedly helped the number of players who had made the trip from Italy to play for the Hammers feel right at home! It was the Away side who got the game underway in the Dark Blue Away strip while the Home team wore the famous Claret and Blue colours. It took a while for the game to get going but when the first real chance arrived for the Away team it ended in a cracking goal. With 10mins on the clock the No 9 Emanuele Fratini picked the ball up out on the right wing, cut inside his man and unleashed a thunderous, low strike that found the bottom right corner of the net (0-1).

Mins later and the Away side thought they had doubled their lead when their No 9 Fratini chipped Keeper Gianluca Olivieri, however the Assistant's flag went up, signalling for an offside. The chance came about after a lung-bursting run from Centre Half James Embley down the middle of the pitch ended in him trying to find Fratini out on the left, but the Centre Forward was seen to have jumped the gun just too early.

Unfortunately, just after the Home side got their first look on goal they managed to concede down the other end. A free kick from the left side by Nick Medlicott was cleared downfield and played the Centre Forward Fabrizio Galasso in on goal, the man from Rome then masterfully rounded the keeper, before finishing neatly doubling his team’s lead (0-2).

Numerous chances then followed for the Away side, one of them came after the Left Mid Andrew Fox made an amazing run that saw him get past three men before whipping the ball in for his fellow winger Marco Pignotta. The No 7's initial effort was blocked before the rebound fell to Fox who volleyed it at goal only to see Keeper Gianluca Olivieri make a fine save, the ball bounced back to Pignotta but his sliding effort went high and wide.

The game was lacking chances, certainly for the Home side and again it was the Away team that were causing the most danger. A neat one-two down the right side between Pignotta and Galasso resulted in the Centre Forward attempting a cross which hit the Home Centre Half on the arm as he jumped to block it. The Referee automatically pointed to the spot and the Away side had a chance to go three up. Up stepped No 6 Matthew Gibbs, but his penalty down the middle was well saved by the legs of Olivieri and the ball went safely away.

The Home side continued to defend their hearts out, hoping not to concede again before half time. A blazing run down the right side by the full back Francesco Guenzi ended in a low cross which the No 7 Pignotta struck well, but his effort was blocked on the line by Centre Half Alan Asbury and rebounded onto Andrew Fox’s chest, however the Away No 8 couldn’t get a shot away and in the end a wild shot by Francesco Guenzi went out for a goal kick.

As half time approached the Away side managed to get the goal their efforts of the last 20mins deserved. A clearance from a cross by the Home side fell straight to Centre Mid Matthew Gibbs on the edge of the box, and Gibbs made up for his earlier missed penalty by smashing the ball along the ground into the bottom right corner, leaving Keeper Olivieri rooted to the spot (0-3).

Yet again the Away side were on the attack and with seconds to go until half time they managed to extend their lead. And it was a goal that was a contender for the best of the day, coming after some great team play. The No 7 Marco Pignotta pinched the ball off his opponent down the right side before exchanging a one-two and neatly cutting it back to an open Matthew Gibbs. The No 6 easily stroked the ball Home, much to the annoyance of Keeper Olivieri who was again left rooted to the spot (0-4).

Almost immediately afterwards the Referee brought to a close the first half, with the Away side in total control of the game. Despite putting a huge effort into the game the Home side hadn't been able to create much in the way of clear-cut chances on the Away goal and had suffered in Defence from an impressive Italian Away attack. Some great finishing and interplay from the Away side had led to a deserved lead and they will have been hoping to add to their tally in the 2nd half.

Half Time: West Ham United Home 0 - 4 West Ham United Away

The game was re-started by the team who were trailing and unfortunately it didn’t take long for the Home side to concede again. Some beautiful link up play between the two Italians, Fabrizio Galasso and Marco Pignotta led to the latter getting a deserved first goal of the game. Galasso picked the ball up just inside the opposition’s half and played it into the run of Pignotta on the right side of the box; the No 7 just reached it before the out-rushing Olivieri and nudged it past the despairing Keeper into the empty net (0-5).

Unfortunately for the Home side every chance their opposition created ended in a goal. A whipped in corner was flicked on at the near post and flashed across the box, and the Away No 9 Emanuele Fratini was in the right place at the right time to smash a volley into the net from close range for his 2nd of the game (0-6).

A rare opportunity then fell for the Home side and it almost led to an outstanding goal. A free-kick was given just outside the box for hand ball and Home side No 14 Mark Embley stepped up to send in a great effort which cleared the wall but just went wide of the left hand post. Shortly after another good chance for the Home side came about after they were awarded another free-kick. This time it was the No 6 Medlicott who whipped the ball into the box with his left foot from out on the right. The No 11 Daniel Hartley flicked the ball on with his head and No 17 Scott Harris came running in at the back post to try to force it in, but he couldn't quite meet the ball with his head and it went flying past him and out for a corner.

However, the Home team's pressure was short lived and the Away side reminded them why they were so far in front. A long ball from his own box by Away Centre Back Steven Thompson found Emanuele Fratini and the No 9 surged towards the box before showing great skill to beat No 15 Mark Feehan all ends up, before rounding Keeper Olivieri and walking the ball into the empty net for his hat-trick (0-7).

The Home team nearly broke their duck when a long ball on the counter caught the Away team's defence out of position, however just when the Home attacker's shot looked like sending Away Keeper Paul Whitlock the wrong way, he was alert enough to save with his feet and divert the ball for a corner. 

With the warm conditions taking their toll the Home side's defence started to deteriorate towards the end of the game and the clinical Away team were to take advantage of the extra space they were afforded. When the ball was given away at the back by Nick Medlicott the Away No 14 James Purnell pounced on the loose ball before passing it across the box to Fratini at the back post, just when it looked like he might score his 4th of the game Fratini instead unselfishly laid the ball back across goal for No 7 Marco Pignotta to smash home his 2nd of the game (0-8).

Two mins later and the Away side were almost in again. No 15 Steven Thompson picked the ball up just outside his opponent’s box and decided to run at the Home defence, the Centre Back managed to jump through two tackles before rounding the Keeper neatly, however when he tried to slide the ball into the goal, the Home No 50 Alan Asbury came out of nowhere to clear it off the line. A great display of last ditch defending from the Centre Back!

But the Away side weren’t going to stop there and with 15 mins to go they breached the Home defence again. Some composed passing play at the edge of the box ended in a simple as you like, through ball from No 7 Pignotta to his Captain Michail Retsinas, the No 10 took a touch to steady himself and smashed the ball into the bottom corner of the net (0-9).

The Away side's thirst for goals wasn't quenched by their 9th though and it begin to look like everyone in a Dark Blue shirt was keen to can get on the score-sheet. An unbelievable, lung-bursting run from the Right Back Francesco Guenzi from his own box to the opponent’s box ended in him squaring to his teammate James Purnell and the Centre Mid composed himself before scoring into the empty net with ease (0-10).

With just 5 mins remaining the Away side started to have a bit of fun. The young No 16 Sean Overy picked the ball up on the right wing after a goal kick and decided to attempt a 35-yard shot. The ball looped up into the air, over Keeper Olivieri and into the bottom left corner of the goal. It was an absolute peach of a strike from Overy, which left Keeper Olivieri rooted to the spot watching as the ball went over him and into the back of then net (0-11).

It was a fitting goal to end an excellent contest and the Referee's whistle blew shortly after to end the goal fest. Unfortunately for the Home side, their Defence simply couldn’t handle the attacking threat from the Away team on the day and they weren't able to demonstrate the same clinical manner when chances fell for them at the other end. Nevertheless, the game was certainly thrilling for those Hammers fans watching, as they were treated to some fine football and some cracking goals.

There was still time for an extra special surprise for the Game 1 players, with former club hero and World Cup Winner Martin Peters MBE making a rare appearance to meet the players as they came off the pitch.

Full Time: West Ham United Home 0 - 11 West Ham United Away

Man of the Match Home: Gianluca Olivieri
Man of the Match Away: Emanuele Fratini
Moment of the Match: Alan Asbury

Home Team: Gianluca Olivieri, Stuart Long, Alan Asbury, Nick Medlicott, Tom Green, Chris Ludlow, Tyler Wilkins, Matthew Salter (C), Daniel Hartley, Mark Embley, Mark Feehan, Stuart Long, Scott Harris
Home Mascot: Callum Ludlow

Away Team: Paul Whitlock, Francesco Guenzi, Tommy Broughton, James Embley, Matthew Gibbs, Marco Pignotta, Andrew Fox, Emanuele Fratini, Michail Retsinas (C), Fabrizio Galasso, James Purnell, Steven Thompson, Sean Overy, Giorgio D'Agostino
Away Mascot: Anthony Embley