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Dave Woods reports
"Tranmere out-played West Ham in an enjoyable game"
 real 28k

Saturday, 11 December, 1999, 18:12 GMT
Hammers humiliated by hard work

Tranmere celebrate this season's second cup victory over Premier opposition

Click here for Saturday's football results.

Tranmere 1-0 West Ham

Tranmere fully deserved their third round victory over the Premiership visitors from London.

West Ham were second best from start to finish, before and after Nicky Henry's spectacular first half goal.

My defence were tremendous, the midfield worked their socks off and the front men gave them a tough time
John Aldridge
Not only does the win see John Aldridge's side into the fourth round, it also sets them up nicely for Tuesday and Middlesbrough in the Worthington Cup, in which they have already beaten Coventry.

For West Ham, that trophy and their own last eight meeting with Aston Villa this week, assumes even greater importance.

This is the fifth time in seven years that the Hammers' FA Cup frailties have seen them fall to lower division opponents.

Gary Jones and his fellow midfielders gave Steve Lomas and co a hard time
Harry Redknapp's side never handled the ferocity and commitment of Tranmere and barely created a genuine chance.

The first half saw Neil Ruddock's cheeky long range effort, Marc-Vivien Foe's run into the box and Frank Lampard's side-foot ably saved by Tranmere keeper Joe Murphy.

But the first division side, with just one defeat in their last eight games, put West Ham under immense pressure at the other end.

They played a tight offside trap, packed midfield with all-action trio Gary Jones, Alan Mahon and Andy Parkinson, and bombarded the box with long balls and Dave Challinor's long throws.

Match facts
First 20 mins: Pressure builds on the Hammers defence
21: The dam is burst by Henry
35 mins: Murphy denies Redknapp, post denies Ruddock
Second half: Tranmere's hard work denies Hammers real opening
This weapon is well-known in the first division, but West Ham appeared unable to cope with it.

Former Hammers striker David Kelly buzzed around, switching from wing to wing, while big Wayne Allison was dominant in the middle against Ruddock and Rio Ferdinand.

It all paid off after 21 minutes when Challinor's throw into the box was headed by Foe straight to Henry.

His magnificent 20-yard drive crashed past Hislop to stun the Premiership side.

We just couldn't come to terms with the way they played - we just couldn't handle it
Harry Redknapp
For West Ham, Paulo Di Canio, supported by Joe Cole and Trevor Sinclair up front, was unable to prosper as the fierce tackles came flying in.

The Italian spent more time leaping out of the way than flicking the ball around, and when he did break clear veteran Kelly raced back 30 yards to dispossess the Italian.

But Murphy was still called into action to deny Lampard from six yards after 35 minutes, and Ruddock smashed the rebound against the post.

Trevor Sinclair cannot get past Trevor Morgan
It was as close as West Ham came and they were also lucky to escape when an Allison shot hit a harassed Ferdinand on the arm in the box.

West Ham brought on Kitson at half time but Tranmere's powerful running game gave him no service as Foe struggled in midfield.

Errors from the Cameroon international and from Lampard led to further chances for Tranmere - more than West Ham could create.

Paulo Wanchope came on for Di Canio, but the Costa Rican put a diving header wide, and Tranmere were left to celebrate - and think of doing the same to Middlesbrough on Tuesday.


Tranmere: Murphy, Morgan, Challinor, Hazell, Roberts, Parkinson, Henry, Mahon, Jones, Kelly, Allison. Subs: Achterberg, Black, Koumas, Frail, Taylor.

West Ham: Hislop, Lomas, Potts, Ruddock, Ferdinand, Minto, Cole, Lampard, Foe, Sinclair, Di Canio. Subs: Forrest, Keller, Kitson, Wanchope, Byrne.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)

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Links to other FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.