Football: Hammers need a new panacea: Norwich scramble first win

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The Independent Online
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WITH no six-point adjustment to complicate the calculations, West Ham's plight is clear. Unlike Tottenham they are where they are; the first meaningful table of the season showing them anchored three off the bottom, one point gained, no goals scored.

Their manager, Harry Redknapp, will have harboured few misconceptions about the task he has inherited from his predecessor, Billy Bonds, and two Saturdays into the season he is already talking about desperate measures to 'get us out of trouble'.

Last year the panacea was to bring in three players in exchange for Julian Dicks. It was a smart piece of business which improved a perilous position of 19th after seven games into a ninth spot 13 games later, but the medicine seems to have run its course.

Of those introduced Lee Chapman is out of the side and booed by the fans when he is in, while Mike Marsh yearns for a return north. Not even David Burrows is secure. As the one player who would prompt a transfer scramble he might have to be sacrificed to mend deficiencies elsewhere.

'The players asked me to stay on after Billy left but they have a funny way of showing they want me,' commented Redknapp. 'We need new faces to liven things up and I will listen to offers for all my players.'

Like the Canaries, West Ham showed a refined touch in midfield yet it all tended to collapse at the sharp end and it was no surprise when half-time arrived with both still searching for the season's first goal.

Mark Robins had a 'goal' rubbed out for offside but his celebrations were legitimate soon after when the 19-year-old substitute, Ade Akinbiyi, showed good control and awareness to part the Hammers defence.

The Norwich manager, John Deehan, was pleased with his own back four, particularly the summer signings, Carl Bradshaw and Jon Newsome, though John Polston was also crucially involved. With Mike Sheron, the latest acquisition, available for Wednesday's visit to Hillsborough, they appear to be constructing another useful side with Blackburn's pounds 5m cheque even if Chris Sutton is well ahead of them in the goals count.

At Upton Park on Wednesday luckless West Ham will take on Newcastle who so far have struck a scoring sequence of 3-4-5. . .

Goal: Robins (65).

Norwich City (4-4-2): Gunn; Bradshaw, Newsome, Polston, Bowen; Adams, Crook, Goss, Ullathorne; Ekoku (Akinbiyi, 62), Robins (Newman, 82). Substitute not used: Marshall (gk)

West Ham United (4-5-1): Miklosko; Breacker, Potts, Martin, Burrows; Allen, Moncur, Marsh (Whitbread, 74), Bishop, Rowland (Chapman, 64); Jones. Substitute not used: Feuer (gk).

Referee: P Jones (Quorn).

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