Top TEN Upton Park Classics


Upton Park, at times it’s been a fortress that has given us Hammers some great entertainment. Bill West gives his opinion on the ten greatest games played at West Ham’s Mecca.

18th May 2004

Division 1 play-off semi-final second leg

West Ham United 2-0 Ipswich Town 0 (West Ham United win 2-1 on aggregate)

This is one of my favourite West Ham matches I have attended. It was the one of the best atmospheres I have experienced while watching a football match.

West Ham lost the first leg 1-0 at Portman Road thanks to a Darren Bent header. West Ham flew out of the traps with Bobby Zamora forcing a wonder save from Kelvin Davis. But the sides went in at the break goalless.

Then, Michael Carrick took a short corner quickly to Matthew Etherington who hit a fantastic shot into the top corner. West Ham now had their tails up and it wasn’t long before skipper Christian Dailly put them within touching distance of the Millennium Stadium, stabbing the ball in from inside the box.

The Hammers survived an Ipswich onslaught, with the visitors hitting the post in the final minute and were on their way to Cardiff.

West Ham United: Bywater, Repka, Dailly, Melville, Mullins, Etherington, Carrick, Lomas, Harewood, Connolly (Reo-Coker), Zamora (Deane).

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16th May 1999

FA Carling Premiership

West Ham United 4-0 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough visited Upton Park for the final game of the season and the Hammers needed a victory to qualify for Europe. The hosts got off to the best possible start when Frank Lampard fired in after only four minutes and Marc Keller tapped in from close range before half-time. West Ham promptly made it three through Trevor Sinclair. Minutes later, Paulo Di Canio finished from close range and confirmed the victory.

West Ham United won and the Hammers finished fifth, their best since the 1985/86 season. As a result, they were awarded a place in the Intertoto Cup – the first time West Ham had qualified for Europe via a league position.

West Ham United: Forrest, Potts, Ruddock, Ferdinand, Minto, Berkovic, Lampard, Foe, Keller, Di Canio, Sinclair (Cole).

24th February 1997

FA Carling Premiership

West Ham United 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur

New signings John Hartson and Paul Kitson both found the net as relegation-threatened West Ham United escaped from the relegation zone.

Teddy Sheringham’s long-range header had looked all set to mark another night of Upton Park woe, before Julian Dicks nodded the Hammers level and then Kitson turned the game upside down. Darren Anderton hit back, though, and when Howells wiped out Hartson’s thumping header; it looked like the same old story. But having made it 3-3, Spurs’ hero turned villain by dragging down Hartson, leaving Dicks to rifle home a no-nonsense spot-kick winner with 19 minutes secure Hammers’ first win in nine games.

West Ham United: Miklosko, Breacker, Dicks, Potts, Ferdinand, Bowen, Moncur, Hughes, Bishop, Hartson, Kitson (Dowie).

21st April 1986

Division 1

West Ham United 8-1 Newcastle United West Ham opened the scoring within five minutes, Alvin Martin volleyed home Alan Devonshire’s free-kick into the six-yard box. The Hammers extended their lead through long-rangers from Ray Stewart and Neil Orr before Magpies ‘keeper Roeder inexplicably flicked the ball into his own net. Midway through the half, Martin headed in Tony Gale’s flick-on from Mark Ward’s corner. Although Billy Whitehurst pulled one back for the visitors, Paul Goddard and Frank McAvennie then made it 7-1. Martin scored his hat-trick and made it 8-1 when he scored from the spot. West Ham United: Parkes, Stewart, Parris, Gale, Martin, Devonshire, Ward, Orr, Dickens (Goddard) Cottee, McAvennie

25th October 1983 League Cup second round second leg West Ham United 10-0 Bury (West Ham United win 12-1 on aggregate)

No greatest game at Upton Park list can be complete without the club’s biggest margin of victory of all time. Within just two minutes Tony Cottee netted from close range and the tie was all but over. Alvin Martin then headed in Ray Stewart’s free-kick on 18 minutes, and midway through the half Trevor Brooking capped a mazy run with a fine finish to make it 3-0 on the night. Bonds then headed on Brooking’s cross enabling Cottee to force the ball over the line for his second of the game. Seven minutes before the break, Cottee claimed the match ball after nodding in Paul Allen’s precision cross to make it 5-0. In the second half, the Hammers scored number six when Martin headed Alan Devonshire’s cross into the path of Cottee who slammed in his fourth of the game. Devonshire made it seven himself, three minutes later, with a fine solo run and within moments he was then hauled down in the penalty area. Ray Stewart made no mistake with the spot kick to make it eight before Brooking’s 18-yarder then took a deflection as Hammers struck nine goals for the first time in the club’s history. They still were not finished and, five minutes from time, beleaguered Bury goalkeeper David Brown found himself picking the ball out of the net for the tenth time after Devonshire waltzed through a shaky Shakers’ defence, containing future Hammer Paul Hilton, before inviting Brooking to tap-in from close range. West Ham United: Parkes, Stewart, Walford, Bonds (Orr), Martin, Devonshire, Allen, Cottee, Swindlehurst, Brooking, Pike  

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19th October 1968 Division 1 West Ham United 8-0 Sunderland This was West Ham’s biggest ever league victory and a memorable match for Geoff Hurst, who scored 6 goals. England’s 1966 World Cup final hat-trick hero got his spree off to a suspicious start when he nudged Martin Peters’ 19th-minute cross over the line with his hand. After Bobby Moore had doubled the home advantage, Hurst legitimately nodded in at the far post, before converting Harry Redknapp’s corner right on the interval. Peters set up his fourth and Hurst then bundled in his fifth goal on the hour. Trevor Brooking added West Ham’s seventh before Redknapp invited hot-shot Hurst to give the weary Wearsiders six of the best as he completed the record 8-0 caning. West Ham United: Ferguson, Bonds, Charles J, Stephenson, Moore, Redknapp, Peters, Boyce, Brooking, Sissons, Hurst.

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12th February 2000 FA Carling Premiership West Ham 5 – 4 Bradford This was the very first football match I attended; I have to say it is one of the best. It had everything, goals, injuries, skill and arguments. Just five minutes of the match had passed when goalkeeper Shaka Hislop suffered a suspected broken leg. With Hislop’s deputy Craig Forrest away on international duty with Canada, Harry Redknapp was forced to bring on teenager Stephen Bywater. Bradford went ahead after 30 minutes Dean Windass headed home a Peter Beagrie corner with the keeper rooted to his line. The opening goal sparked a flurry of scoring, Trevor Sinclair netting from 10 yards after fine work from Lampard, before John Moncur gave West Ham the lead with a long-range strike. Within seconds Moncur had been transformed from hero to villain when he shoved Saunders in the area and Beagrie finished from the spot to make it 2-2 at half-time. There was more to come after the break as Jamie Lawrence scored twice in four minutes to give Bradford an unlikely two-goal lead. Bywater should have comfortably kept out the first effort, but he spilled Gunnar Halle’s shot and Lawrence pounced to find the back of the net, for the second the keeper was beaten by a neat chip as he idled off his line. West Ham surged on, though, and with substitute Paul Kitson introduced to a three-man attack they forced their way back into the contest. Kitson was brought down in the area and, after a tussle for the ball with regular penalty-taker Lampard, Di Canio converted the spot-kick. Joe Cole levelled the scores 20 minutes from the end, firing home after a brilliant solo run. Lampard had the final word with a spectacular winning strike. West Ham United: Hislop (Bywater), Charles, Ferdinand, Stimac, Lomas, Moncur, Lampard, Cole, Minto (Kitson), Di Canio, Sinclair.

10th January 1998 FA Carling Premiership West Ham United 6- 0 Barnsley

The Hammers went goal crazy at Upton Park as they crushed bottom club Barnsley 6-0, at the time, our biggest win for over six years.

Goals from Frank Lampard, Samassi Abou (2), John Moncur, John Hartson and Stan Lazaridis condemmed Barnsley to defeat, thus making this West Ham’s biggest ever Premiership victory.

West Ham United: Forrest, Impey (Moncur), Unsworth, Ferdinand, Pearce, Lazarides, Potts, Berkovic (Alves), Lampard, Hartson, Abou.

16th March 2002

FA Barclaycard Premiership

West Ham United 3- 5 Manchester United

Even though West Ham lost, this was an amazing match full of goals and sublime skill. Champions Manchester United came to Upton Park looking to close the gap on leaders Arsenal.

The home side opened the scoring through captain Steve Lomas after eight minutes. The Northern Ireland international met Vladimir Labant’s superb cross and headed home via the underside of the crossbar from eigtheen yards.

United struggled to find their rhythm but a Joe Cole mistake allowed them to restore parity after seventeen minutes. An errant Cole pass found Paul Scholes, who picked out Beckham’s run, the then England skipper exquisitely picked his spot and drilled the ball across David James from 18 yards. Three minutes later Kanoute caressed Sebastian Schemmel’s cross past Fabian Barthez from the edge of the area to restore the Hammers’ lead. However a scintillating opening 22 minutes of football concluded with the visitors equalising for a second time. Butt reacted first to Beckham’s free-kick and slotted the ball home with a right-foot shot from 18 yards.

The second half continued in an open, attacking manner, but it was Manchester United who created the first clear-cut chance – and took the lead for the first time in the match. Two West Ham defenders surrounded Solskjaer, but the Norwegian managed to squeeze a low cross towards the penalty spot, and Scholes – completely unmarked ghosting into the penalty area – smashed the ball home from six yards.

United then increased their advantage through Solskjaer after the Hammers failed to clear their lines.David James saved from Ruud van Nistelrooy and Solskjaer had his first shot blocked by Schemmel, but the Norwegian smashed the rebound home. West Ham substitute Defoe latched onto a Kanoute pull-back to make the score 4-3. However unfortunately for the Irons, shortly afterwards Repka was adjudged to have fouled Scholes inside the penalty area and – with Van Nistelrooy already substituted – Beckham duly converted from the spot to wrap up the points.

West Ham United: James, Schemmel, Repka, Dailly, Winterburn (Defoe), Labant, Lomas, Carrick, Cole, Di Canio, Kanoute

30th November 2010

Carling Cup

West Ham United 4 – 0 Manchester United

One bright spark of last season was when West Ham thrashed Man United 4-0 in the fifth round of the Carling Cup. Former Red Devil Jonathan Spector netted his first goals for the club to hand the Hammers a 2-0 half-time advantage before Carlton Cole put the icing on the cake with two second-half strikes of his own. Victor Obinna was also in top form, providing assists for all four goals.

West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Tomkins (Reid), Upson, Ben-Haim, Barrera (Hines), Kovac, Spector, Boa Morte, Cole (Stanislas), Obinna

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  • Graham says:

    You missed the best.
    European Cup Winners Cup Semi Final 2nd Leg 1976
    West Ham United 3 Eintracht Frankfurt 1

    • Paolo says:

      West Ham 3 – 1 Eintracht Frankfurt not in your top ten, was it before your time? IMO was the greatest game at Upton Park ever.

    • Spence says:

      Never forgotten…my favourite night under the lights ever…Trev at his majestic best !! How this can be left out is amazing ????

  • Chris says:

    The best game I have seen at the Boleyn was against Everton in the FA Cup Fifth round under the floodlights, the year was 1991. That was the game that announced Stuart Slater to the world. We promptly sold him soon after and he done very little after that as far as I can recall. He played a brilliant game that night and we won 2-1. How I dream about 5th round FA cup ties under the lights.

  • cb says:

    ipswich play off game wasn’t even the best match or atmosphere we had against ipswich

    the 86 game was better in every way

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