West Bromwich Albion 1 West Ham 0 match report: Sam Allardyce accepts blame as fans vent anger again
Hammers fans unveil a banner in protest of Allardyce's reign while Baggies move five points clear of the drop zone
Saturday 26 April 2014
Sam Allardyce may have led West Ham United clear of relegation but that does not equate to safety. As Pepe Mel celebrated his first home win in English football to take West Bromwich Albion to the brink of securing their Premier League status, the visiting supporters turned on their manager Allardyce again.
The Hammers fans chanted “Fuck off Sam Allardyce” and flew a flag pleading for his dismissal as their team lost for the seventh time in nine matches. It is a good job they reached 37 points last month – and that Fulham let slip their winning position yesterday – because West Ham are in the kind of tailspin that costs middling teams their place in a division and managers their jobs.
Allardyce’s future may come into question if this sequence continues because his stock is empty with supporters. Booed after victory over Hull last month, he was jeered after last week’s home defeat by Crystal Palace and again throughout this match, after Saido Berahino claimed the Baggies’ customary early goal.
This result ended West Brom’s habit of flying into early leads only to end up with single points. After the thrills of 3-3 draws with Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City, Albion fans celebrated this more prosaic match as if they had just won promotion. With three games left, one more point should suffice to keep them up.
“I am extremely happy for the fans,” Mel said. “They have shown again today they are the best in the Premier League.”
Allardyce accepts that West Ham may already be safe from relegation and had no problem with supporters directing their frustration at him, even though he was not disappointed with his players’ performance.
“You don’t want to take abuse but it’s something you’re aware of,” he said. “But you know what’s going to turn it around, and that’s winning. Until we turn it around, it’s going to continue. I accept that criticism because it’s my responsibility.
“My responsibility is to build a better team than this one. That’s my responsibility, and that of the owners, making sure that everything’s in place once we get safe because this season we haven’t been as good as we should have been, we haven’t produced enough results. So we have to improve.”
West Brom’s goal came in the 11th minute. Stéphane Sessègnon led the break and nipped ball out to Morgan Amalfitano who was allowed an age before drilling the ball in past Adrian, for Berahino to claim the last touch ahead of Guy Demel.
Berahino was the subject of an alleged dressing-room bust-up with James Morrison after going for goal rather than heading for the corner flag when West Brom led Cardiff with moments to go last month. “It’s a long time ago and now it’s been totally forgotten,” Mel said.
But despite that customary early goal, West Ham continued to make chances as if at will. Andy Caroll angled one volley against defender Craig Dawson, and saw Ben Foster produce a brilliant save in the first half before heading against the crossbar in the second half.
The home side did play with some semblance of control in the second half, intent on carving out their chances carefully and maintaining possession better.
WBA (4-2-3-1): Foster; S Reid (Morrison, h-t), Dawson, Olsson, Jones; Mulumbu, Dorrans; Amalfitano, Sessègnon (Anichebe, 81), Brunt; Berahino (Yacob, 90).
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Demel, Tomkins (Collins, 33), W Reid, McCartney; Noble, Diamé; Downing (sub: J Cole, 67), Nolan, Jarvis (C Cole, 79); Carroll.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Man of the match: Foster (WBA).
Match rating: 7/10
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