The game that made me a Hammer


My very first West Ham match I attended was nearly 12 years ago. It was on the 12th February 2000 when I was eight years of age. The match was at Upton Park, with West Ham beating Bradford City 5-4 in a Premier League thriller.

It was such an amazing first game to watch, and still ranks as one of my favourite matches I’ve attended.

The game had everything. There was nine goals, Shaka Hislop broke his leg after five minutes, Paolo Di Canio had a sit-down protest, Di Canio and Frank Lampard had a scuffle fight over a penalty and Joe Cole scored his first ever Premier League goal.

Goalkeeper Steven Bywater made his debut for West Ham, coming on for Shaka Hislop after only five minutes, after breaking his leg after a clearance outside the box.

Bradford took the lead after 30 minutes when Dean Windass headed in from a routine scorer. The lead only lasted for five minutes through Trevor Sinclair who converted a cross from Steve Lomas from six yards out.   Cult hero John Moncur scored with a brilliant strike from outside the box, even though he slipped on contact. However Moncur gave away a penalty only seconds later, with Peter Beagrie slotting home.   Bywater suffered a nightmare start to the second half and was at fault for Jamie Lawrence’s two goals. First, he let slip a speculative shot from Gunnar Halle straight to Lawrence who netted from six yards. He then failed to keep out a chip from Lawrence which slowly sailed over his head in the 51st minute.   With the score at 4-2, it was a real end to end battle with both teams trying to score. The fastest growing Hammers website is now on Facebook, click the link to be entered into our up and coming competitions Midway through the second half, West Ham had a penalty with the chance to reduce Bradford’s lead. Cue Di Canio and Frank Lampard scuffling for the ball, both wanting the take the kick. Di Canio eventually won that battle and dispatched the penalty easily into the bottom corner. In the 70th minute Joe Cole scored his first Premier League goal for the club to set up a grandstand finish.   Lampard completed the comeback with a terrific curling shot which landed in the top corner, with the crowd going wild. 

It was a fantastic game. After this, I was definitely hooked.

West Ham: Hislop, Charles, Ferdinand, Stimac, Lomas, Moncur, Lampard, Cole, Minto, Di Canio, Sinclair.

Subs: Bywater, Keller, Carrick, Potts, Kitson.

Bradford: Davison, Halle, Wetherall, O’Brien, Jacobs, Lawrence, McCall, Whalley, Beagrie, Windass, Saunders.

Subs: Southall, Blake, Sharpe, Redfearn, Dreyer.

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