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West Ham 3-0 Fulham (result)
12.44 – Hello and welcome to this afternoon’s game between West Ham and Fulham.
As you’ll see from the teams below, Andy Carroll starts, while Dimitar Berbatov is on the bench:
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Reid, Collins, O’Brien, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Vaz Te, Taylor, Carroll. Subs: Henderson, Tomkins, Diarra, O’Neil, Maiga, Hall, Cole
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise, Diarra, Sidwell, Richardson, Duff, Rodallega, Petric. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Baird, Kasami, Berbatov, Briggs, Kacaniklic
12.45 – And we’re underway…
12.47 – GOAL FOR WEST HAM!
12.50 – Andy Carroll makes an immediate impact for West Ham.
The big striker’s header falls to Vaz Te, who plays it to Kevin Nolan, and the ex-Newcastle man finishes with aplomb, leaving Fulham goalkeeper Schwarzer with no chance.
12.54 – It’s been a lively opening at Upton Park.
One of the less high-profile recent signings on show, Kieran Richardson, drills a low shot that Jaaskelainen gets down well to save, as Fulham threaten an immediate response.
12.56 – Andy Carroll is giving the Fulham defence a torrid time at the moment.
Another excellent knockdown from the big man falls to Diame, whose powerful half-volley is touched onto the bar by Schwarzer.
13.00 – Irish fans will be interested to hear that Joey O’Brien is playing quite well at the moment.
The Irishman has just created an assist for a Vaz Te half chance, as West Ham continue to dominate the opening stages.
13.02 – I really can’t over-emphasise Carroll’s influence in the first 15 minutes.
His header has again set up Nolan, whose lobbed attempt goes just over the bar.
13.06 – Legitimate penalty claims from the omnipresent Carroll, as he’s pushed by the Fulham defender when attempting to reach a header in the box.
In fairness to Brendan Rodgers, West Ham’s more direct type of football is far more suited to Carroll’s style.
13.09 – Fulham are currently ahead in the possession stats with 53%, but make no mistake, West Ham have been far superior so far.
And I’ll spare you the cliché about the only statistic that counts being the one on the scoreboard.
13.13 – Steve Sidwell registers a shot on target, which Jaaskelainen saves with relative ease.
It’s something – albeit not much – for Fulham fans to draw positives from.
13.14 – GOAL FOR WEST HAM!
13.18 – It’s a simple goal, befitting of Sam Allardyce’s style of play, as West Ham double their advantage.
Winston Reid makes a purposeful run and meets a pinpoint corner with a powerful header to make it 2-0. Questions will be asked of Schwarzer, who came for the ball in from the corner, but was ultimately nowhere near it.
13.22 – Vaz Te plays in Nolan, who unfortunately scuffs his shot from just outside the box.
Fulham presumably can’t wait for half-time, as they look totally out of sorts.
Meanwhile, it’s early days yet, but signing Andy Carroll is currently looking like an extremely astute move by West Ham.
13.25 – West Ham have actually been passing it around a bit, such is their confidence at the moment.
They’re not exclusively a long-ball team, evidently.
13.26 – GOAL FOR WEST HAM!
13.30 – A deep free-kick is lofted into the Fulham box, and Hangeland can only head the ball into the path of the onrunning Matthew Taylor, who finishes consummately, smashing it into the corner from the edge of the area.
What a half it’s been for West Ham, who thoroughly deserve their 3-0 lead.
13.32 – HALF-TIME: WEST HAM 3-0 FULHAM
13.43 – So it’s half-time, and West Ham are running riot.
Andy Carroll has had an immediate effect, fitting in perfectly to West Ham’s long-ball strategy, with the Fulham defence having no answer – the normally excellent Hangeland, for instance, has been uncharacteristically poor, with his header unwittingly setting up Taylor’s goal.
Moreover, Fulham simply haven’t got started. Even the potential introduction of Dimitar Berbatov is unlikely to inspire them now, as their opponents hold a seemingly insurmountable lead.
13.47 – Thanks to my colleague Sean Farrell for drawing my attention to this tweet.
13.48 – Fulham have made the expected change at half-time, with Berbatov replacing Petric.
They’ve consequently reverted to a 4-4-2 formation, as the second half gets underway.
13.52 – If you haven’t heard yet, the big football-related news so far today is that Darron Gibson has withdrawn from the Ireland squad to face Kazakhstan.
You can read the full story here.
13.56 – Lovely skill from Vaz Te who lifts the ball over one player and turns exquisitely, before being taken down cynically by Diarra.
Taylor’s subsequent powerful free-kick is saved in an unconvincing fashion by the nervy-looking Schwarzer, as the ball loops up in front of him and goes out of play.
14.03 – As far as new signing Dimitar Berbatov is concerned, he’s had a few nice touches since coming on at half-time, but nothing substantial enough to get his side back into this game.
Meanwhile, Fulham have made another substitution – Kacaniklic has replaced Richardson.
14.05 – According to Sky, the Carroll deal will become a permanent one provided West Ham aren’t relegated at the end of the season.
14.08 – This game has gone rather quiet in the last few minutes, in contrast with the decidedly frantic opening 50 minutes or so.
Still no real signs of a Fulham revival happening at the moment.
14.14 – Andy Carroll has taken a knock, and Sam Allardyce makes what appears to be a precautionary substitution, with Carlton Cole coming on in his stead.
The big man departs the field to the sound of rapturous applause from the home support.
Meanwhile, Berbatov shows signs of life, with a mazy run, before a shot is deflected away for a corner.
14.18 – Berbatov pulls the strings once again, as he plays a one-two with Rodallega, allowing the latter to test Jaaskelainen with a powerful drive that the goalkeeper does well to stop.
It’s a case of too little, too late, for the Londoners though.
14.21 – More news from an Irish football fans perspective – Andy Keogh has scored for Millwall, who are currently beating Middlesbrough 2-1.
14.25 – Just under ten minutes to go now…
The game is ending on a whimper to be frank, in comparison with the all-action manner in which it began.
14.30 – Two Carroll-related tweets for your amusement:
14.32 – Amazing statistic below, which enhances Fulham’s reputation for fair play:
There hasn’t been one yellow card in this game as of yet.
14.34 – Duff and Rodallega have both forced good saves from Jaaskelainen, as Fulham threaten to score a consolation for the visitors, as we enter into injury time.
14.36 – FULL TIME: WEST HAM 3-0 FULHAM
14.45 – So a comfortable victory for West Ham, who essentially won it in the first half.
There was a very promising debut from Andy Carroll, while substitute Dimitar Berbatov impressed sporadically too for Fulham, without ever threatening to match Carroll’s significant impact on proceedings.
Overall, West Ham will be satisfied with what has been a confidence-boosting win and performance, while Fulham will be concerned at the manner in which players such as Carroll were able to dominate their defence.
The visitors clearly suffered from the absence of Dempsey and Dembele, and if they consistently perform in a similar manner for the remainder of the season, they have no hope of replicating or improving upon last year’s ninth-place finish.
14.48 – Man of the match Kevin Nolan calls it a “fantastic afternoon” for West Ham and jokes that Andy Carroll doesn’t deserve an assist for his goal, given that it was Vaz Te who played it to Nolan following the striker’s initial header.
It was a debut to remember for Andy Carroll (Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport).
14.54 – That’s it from me for the moment. Thanks, as always, for reading.
Stay tuned, as we’ll be back shortly to liveblog the Premier League 3pm kick-offs.