West Ham United. . .1
ALONGSIDE his new-found pursuits of column-writing and wine-collecting, Lee Chapman has retained one familiar habit: the art of finishing. After a stuttering start at Portman Road yesterday, the 34- year-old's eighth goal in 18 games since leaving Portsmouth for West Ham proved a perfect - and deserved - riposte to David Linighan's opener for Ipswich.
The enterprise and expertise of Chapman and Co should have earned Billy Bonds's unceasingly positive side the full quota of points, but at least a draw helped dilute the memory of last week's humiliation at Hillsborough.
Such ignominy for a team who had been rising since Chapman's arrival drove Bonds to organise a screening of the Hammer Horror. Suitably mortified and motivated, the visitors exerted the pervading influence on a match that felt like a derby, playing by far the better football against opposition moulded by West Ham's former mentors, John Lyall and Mick McGiven.
At the Hammers' hub was Ian Bishop, an unquenchable source of good ideas which, through his colleagues' astute support, developed into promising moves until Town's rigid rearguard came into view.
Fielding six defenders in a counter-attacking formation, Ipswich occasionally looked dangerous, particularly when the ball was carried upfield by the former Upton Park favourite, Stuart Slater, who has failed to score in England since the penultimate stop on the Londoners' 1991 promotion campaign.
His former club-mates' admirable commitment to pushing forward left them vulnerable at times, a predicament that created the setting for Ipswich's 36th-minute goal. Bishop, whose gypsy-style looks brought chants of 'Where's Your Caravan?', blemished a sound display by holding back Chris Kiwomya on the right. The unattended Linighan exacted full punishment by heading in Neil Thompson's fierce, swerving free-kick.
Down, but not disheartened, the Hammers kept their composure and shape, and could have turned round ahead. All those in claret and blue - and a legion of neutrals too - expected a spot-kick when Chapman was used by Phil Whelan as a climbing frame. Much to Chapman's disgust the referee did not agree, but the Hammers' striker had only himself to blame moments later when he paused too long, allowing Linighan to cover.
Kiwomya then proved even more profligate, the Ipswich forward wasting a brace of straightforward chances to kill the contest off. Reprieved, West Ham secured a point when Craig Forrest dropped David Burrows' cross at the feet of a delighted Chapman. Town extended their unbeaten run to eight - but Bonds' men won the plaudits.
Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Forrest; Youds, Linighan, Whelan, Thompson; Palmer, Wark (Marshall, 69), Williams, Slater; Kiwomya, Stockwell. Substitutes not used: Whitton, Baker (gk).
West Ham United (4-4-2): Miklosko; Breacker, Potts, Gale, Burrows; Marsh, Bishop, Butler, Holmes (Rowland, 71); Chapman, Morley. Substitutes not used: M Allen, Peyton (gk).
Referee: G Poll (Berkhamsted).Reuse content