Stimac sent off as Eadie's strike sinks Hammers

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The Independent Football

London's unwanted reputation as the capital of indiscipline continued to grow last night at Upton Park, where West Ham had Igor Stimac sent off just before the interval. Harsh or not, the decision changed the complexion of a game they had dominated until then. The home side, who received seven red cards in the Premiership last season - more than anyone except Everton - soon went a goal down to Darren Eadie, which led to Leicester's first victory at the ground since the year Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters won the World Cup.

London's unwanted reputation as the capital of indiscipline continued to grow last night at Upton Park, where West Ham had Igor Stimac sent off just before the interval. Harsh or not, the decision changed the complexion of a game they had dominated until then. The home side, who received seven red cards in the Premiership last season - more than anyone except Everton - soon went a goal down to Darren Eadie, which led to Leicester's first victory at the ground since the year Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore and Martin Peters won the World Cup.

Stimac was dismissed right at the end of the first half for a second bookable offence, a body-check on Robbie Savage. His first had been a silly piece of dissent, which also caused the 10-yard rule to be invoked. Paolo Di Canio led the protests in histrionic fashion and might later have been sent off for prolonged dissent. Meanwhile, Savage, well known for winding up gullible opponents, was waving in triumph to the Leicester supporters, which did not help.

The sending-off transformed the mood as well as the pattern of what had been a thoroughly enjoyable game. On a baize-like pitch of a quality that Upton Park has rarely seen, West Ham had quickly confirmed that they will again be among the most watchable teams in the Premiership, if they can keep their discipline, with Di Canio in particular running through his full repertoire of tricks. In the first half-an-hour Tim Flowers saved well from the Italian, Davor Suker and Rio Ferdinand, who was playing in an unusual role as a right wing-back.

Ferdinand was just getting the hang of it when the sending-off caused Harry Redknapp to revise his strategy, sending Gary Charles on for Suker.

Ferdinand moved into the middle of defence and in the 55th minute found himself on the line but unable to prevent Leicester - who were without the injured Stan Collymore - going ahead. Shaka Hislop should have done better with Gary Rowett's long cross, which Gerry Taggart was allowed to nudge down for Eadie to whack in. Dogged defending and numerical superiority preserved Leicester's lead, which Stuart Pearce came closest to eliminating, swerving a free-kick of frightening power against the top of the bar with 10 minutes left.

Leicester's new manager, Peter Taylor, sympathised with Redknapp, who claimed: "It's nothing incidents that they're sending people off for now. You're going to take all the passion out of people."

West Ham United (3-4-1-2): Hislop; Stimac, Margas (Cole, 60), Pearce; Ferdinand, Lomas, Carrick, Winterburn; Di Canio; Suker (Charles, h-t), Kanouté (Kitson, 57). Substitutes not used: Bywater (gk), Potts.

Leicester City (3-5-2): Flowers; Rowett, Elliott, Taggart; Impey, Savage, Izzet, Lennon, Guppy; Akinbiyi, Eadie (Cottee, 80). Substitutes not used: Royce (gk), Gilchrist, Walsh, Oakes.

Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville).

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