Football: Ince is left in the shade

West Ham United 2 Hartson 16, Berkovitch 65 Liverpool 1 Fowler 52 Attendance: 25,908

They came to boo Paul Ince and they did. After all, what else could the West Ham supporters hope for on an afternoon when their side seemed destined for a fourth successive defeat. "I didn't think I could face it today, after what happened at Arsenal," confessed one forlorn fan on the Tube. "But I had to come and have a go at Incey," he added.

Ince was making his third return to Upton Park - and still has not been on the winning side - since leaving for Manchester United in less than friendly circumstances eight years ago. The feelings still run high.

But "the morons", as Ince called the West Ham regulars, went home cheering new heroes in the end as Eyal Berkovitch broke their losing run with the winning goal to cast more doubts over Liverpool's ability to compete with any level of consistency over the course of the season.

Liverpool manager Roy Evans admitted that it was shades of last season - and this. "Like last year," he said, "we are taking the initiative but are failing to take it on from there. We're too inconsistent and although we are only seven points off the top, we have to work hard to put these things right."

Evans did not have the answer just now though and nor did Ince. In patches, as Evans rightly pointed out, Liverpool were breathtaking. Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen threatened to run the West Ham defence into the ground at the start of the second half.

But they showed tremendous resilience for a side humbled by four first- half goals at Highbury just four days prior to this game and deserved their win for effort alone. But they also had quality in the form of Berkovitch. The Israeli international had played a key role in West Ham taking the lead through John Hartson in the 14th minute. When Liverpool hit back through Fowler soon after the break, it appeared that his efforts would be wasted.

But Liverpool failed to press home their advantage and Berkovitch regained the momentum for the home side when he drove a low shot in from the edge of the penalty area in the 64th minute. "We deserved that and Berkovitch showed what an outstanding talent he is," Harry Redknapp, the West Ham manager, said. "Arsenal gave us a pasting but they will do that to anyone this season and we have played well enough to win every other game. This time we dug in, rode our luck and pulled it off."

West Ham could have crumbled again and, had Robbie Fowler not squandered an early headed chance, their frailties may have emerged. But after surviving Liverpool's opening 10-minute blitz, in which Patrik Berger twice shot within inches of the woodwork, Redknapp's side showed their fighting spirit.

A couple of hard-earned corners relieved the pressure and it was Hartson, with his fifth goal of the season, who gave West Ham an unexpected lead in the 14th minute. Berkovitch started the move in his own half and set Hartson on his way. The ball broke back to Berkovitch and he struck a low shot against a post before Hartson gleefully side-footed in the rebound.

Now we had a game on our hands and Liverpool responded in style. This time they made West Ham pay. It was Fowler, however, making only his second start of the season, whose skill was required to get the equaliser in the 53rd minute. A Stig Inge Bjornebye cross was knocked back on the edge of the area by Owen and Fowler arched his body to score with a left-foot volley. Fowler went close again soon after when he chipped against the bar.

Four minutes later and Berkovitch ended all arguments with his well taken winner after Phil Babb had failed to clear a Hartson cross. Some West Ham fans stayed on for a last blast at Ince, but this time they were drowned out by the cheers.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant in secondary school Manchester

£11280 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Teaching a...

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits