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West Ham 3 Bolton 0 By John Oakley, PA Sport
West Ham collected three valued points through two second half goals from John
Hartson and one from Eyal Berkovic.
But the game will mainly be remembered for
its bad tempered exchanges.
Four West Ham players - David Unsworth, Rio Ferdinand, Iain Dowie and Frank
Lampard - were booked and Bolton substitute Michael Johansen, Dean Holdsworth
and Scott Sellars were also cautioned.
To cap the lot, Jerry Taggart was sent off for a senseless foul on West Ham
goalkeeper Craig Forrest in the 69th minute.
It was unusually violent for a match at Upton Park though there was little
doubt that West Ham deserved their victory.
Yet it took the London club 66 minutes before they opened the scoring through
Berkovic after which Bolton lost most of their poise and their determination.
The first goal came when Lampard crossed from the right, Hartson headed the
ball down, Dowie shielded it and the ball ran to Berkovic who scored from close
Three minutes later Taggart hammered keeper Forrest into a post and was given
a red card.
From this point, Bolton's defence, which had looked most secure, began to lose
much of its edge and began to allow gaps to appear.
Hartson made it 2-0 after 75 minutes with a superb volley after Berkovic, a
constant menace, had crossed from the right.
Then, in injury time, Hartson gained a fortunate third goal when he sent in a
hard shot but straight at Keith Brannigan only to see the ball hit the keeper on
the shoulder and be deflected into the net.
It was a bad mistake by Brannigan but by this time it made little difference.
West Ham had made the running from the start and Berkovic struck the bar with
a free kick after only two minutes and Hartson had a shot saved by Brannigan at
the second attempt after nine.
Bolton had two good first half chances.
The came when Sellars had a shot narrowly
deflected and then Thompson struck a free kick through the West Ham wall which
hit Forrest on the chest rebounded to Gudni Bergsson who hammered the ball
against the keeper.
Then, in the second half West Ham were becoming frustrated at their inability
to break through before Berkovic brought them relief with his goall and they
finished as comfortable winners.
West Ham: Forrest, Potts, Unsworth, Hartson, Lomas, Rowland,
Dowie, Ferdinand, Moncur, Lampard, Berkovic.
Subs Not Used: Bishop, Sealey, Hodges, Moore, Coyne.
Booked: Unsworth, Dowie, Lampard, Ferdinand.
Goals: Berkovic 67, Hartson 77, 90.
Bolton: Branagan, Frandsen, Taggart, Pollock, Sellars,
Thompson (Johansen 60), Bergsson, Beardsley (McGinlay 78),
Phillips, Whitlow, Holdsworth.
Subs Not Used: Ward, Coleman, Gunnlaugsson.
Sent Off: Taggart (70).
Booked: Taggart, Sellars, Johansen, Holdsworth.
Ref: G R Ashby (Worcester).