|match review copied from the WHU v Nottingham Forest programme dated 05 December 1959|
It can be rarely, if ever, that a First Division team has defeated the League champions to hold its place at the top of the table one week, and then suffered a 7—0 reverse seven days later at the hands of a side holding a midway position. However, whatever previous records show, the fact remains that this most unhappy experience came our way last Saturday, and the surprise of the Hammers' supporters among the 38,367 attendance which watched the debacle at Hillsborough was perhaps exceeded only by those who heard the news back in London.
A tremendous opening eight minutes brought Sheffield Wednesday three goals and another nine-minute onslaught in the second half had similar results. Briefly the scoring went: Fantham (4 mins.), Fantham (7), Wilkinson (8), Finney (27), Craig (67), Ellis (72), Finncy (76) ; a recitation of the bare facts, but a reflection of an occasion when a team rises above its normal level of play and puts on a superb show that crushes the opposition.
Such was last Saturday's "fall of the mighty," and it amply proves that at no time can a prospective championship side look upon any game as likely to provide a comfortable point or two. We certainly did not expect easy spoils at Sheffield, but most definitely did not expect to sustain such a heavy setback. However, we extend our congratulations to the Wednesday and take consolation in the fact that such reverses come the way of every club sooner or later.
There need not be despondency because of one defeat; after all, our fellow-Londoners from Fulham have sustained a 9—0 defeat this season, yet are still in fifth position ; the Cottagers have recovered from that defeat to keep in the race for honours, and we can do the same.
Sheffield Wednesday: Springett; Johnson, Megson; McAnearney (T.), Swan, Kay; Wilkinson, Craig, Ellis, Fantham, Finney.
West Ham United: Dwyer; Bond, Cantwell; Malcolm, Brown, Smith; Grice, Woosnam, Obeney, Dick, Musgrove.
There were many comments made about our reverse at Sheffield, but we feel that the following extract from last Monday's Daily Telegraph is an admirable summary:
"Sheffield Wednesday were magnificent. They gave us a jolly good whacking and that's all there is to it. We have no complaints — give Them all the credit." That was how West Ham manager Mr. Ted Fenton answered the question: "What went wrong ?" following the 7—0 defeat at Hillsborough.
After so much recent back-biting and public slanging among managers and players this was indeed a welcome bouquet by a club whose defeat had just equalled the worst in their history.
So, though West Ham lost their First Division lead, their attitude will have won them admiration. The spirit in which they accepted defeat extended to the train journey home, on which they entertained to dinner Sheffield Wednesday and England goalkeeper Ron Springett, who still lives in London.
Our Record League Defeat
Last Saturday's 0—7 reverse at Hillsborough actually equalled our previous record Football League defeat, as we went under by similar scores to Barnsley (1919-20) and Everton (1927-28) — both being away from home.
Sheffield Wednesday also hold the record of being the team to gain the biggest Football League win at Upton Park — by 6—0 in December 1951.