|match review copied from |
West Ham 3 Huddersfield 0 (Agg 3-1) By Martin Lipton, PA Sport
John Hartson claimed the first hat-trick of his West Ham career to ease the Hammers through to a Coca-Cola Cup third-round meeting with Aston Villa tonight.
But the big, bad Welshman left Upton Park knowing he could easily have had
seven or eight - and that was not counting the half-chances.
The former Arsenal man showed an ice-cool touch in front of goal in the 31st
minute, coolly clipping home after another sublime pass from Eyal Berkovic had
sliced the Huddersfield defence to pieces.
Hartson then claimed his seventh of the season before the break, taking
advantage of rampaging work down the flank by Andy Impey to squeeze a shot
through Steve Francis and into the net.
Before and after that goal Hartson went from hero to villain with a string of
misses that left the player and the crowd frustrated and amazed.
But with 13 minutes left Hartson finally claimed that elusive third, dribbling
his way through before finding the corner of the net from 12 yards.
Hartson was not the only one to blame for West Ham failing to score more. Even
so, though, they did more than enough against a lightweight Huddersfield side
who showed exactly why they have yet to record a Nationwide League division one
win this season.
It was backs to the wall from the start, as the Terriers tried to defend Alex
Dyer's first-leg goal. But, while Andy Morrison did his best to block things up,
Darren Edmondson's attempts to man-mark Berkovic flopped after just five
The signs were that a flood would follow the first goal, although for a turgid
half-hour the Hammers rarely looked like getting that breakthrough.
But when Iain Dowie caught Lee Makel idling on the ball in the centre circle
for Berkovic to put Hartson in to slide home, it became a question of how many.
Even before he claimed his second on the stroke of half-time, Hartson had
squandered three other openings, toe-poking wide, side-footing at Francis and
then heading over.
His second, though, gave the Hammers an advantage they were never going to
relinquish, even if Town manager Brian Horton swapped things around to move to a
4-3-3 system, with Dyer pushed on.
It worked for a time, Andy Payton and Kevin Gray getting into positions to
worry Ludek Miklosko, but then not really doing so.
When the Hammers hit them on the break, they always looked like adding to
Hartson in particular was wasteful again, shrugging aside Sam Collins but not
finding the shot, mis-timing his header from Impey's cross and then wildly
slicing a sitter wide, after more good work from the £1.2million winger.
Francis saved from Steve Lomas and Impey, and even Berkovic's poise deserted
him when a quick throw from Miklosko set him free.
Hartson held his head in his hands again as he stretched to reach Tim
Breacker's cross but once more failed to hit the target.
Eventually it had to come, the third being reward for Hartson's persistence on
the night, although he nearly spoiled everything by getting involved in a silly
tussle with Morrison.
Fortunately referee Martin Bodenham decided a lecture was enough; the already
booked Hartson stayed on, and West Ham had done all they needed.
West Ham: Miklosko, Breacker, Unsworth, Hartson, Lomas, Dowie,
Ferdinand, Lampard, Pearce, Impey (Potts 78), Berkovic.
Subs Not Used: Bishop, Forrest.
Goals: Hartson 31, 45, 77.
Huddersfield: Francis, Jenkins, Edmondson, Collins, Morrison,
Gray, Edwards (Lawson 61), Makel (Burnett 53), Stewart, Payton,
Subs Not Used: O'Connor.
Ref: M J Bodenham (East Looe).