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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 August, 2003, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
West Ham 0-0 Sheff Utd

Glenn Roeder suffered an uninspiring performance as West Ham United were jeered off against Sheffield United.

And to add to Roeder's misery, West Ham also lost experienced defender Rufus Brevett through injury.

Jermain Defoe hit the post against last season's play-off finalists, but his lively performance could not hide the limitations of a squad decimated by summer sales.

A disjointed display from the Hammers against a side missing their best player in Michael Brown to a knee injury revived memories of the 13 matches it took for them to win a league game at Upton Park.

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The threadbare nature of West Ham's squad was highlighted when Thomas Repka was roped in as an emergency right-back for the injured Anton Ferdinand, an 18-year-old who was due to make his home league debut.

Hammers boss Roeder was given a major headache when an innocuous slip forced Brevett out of the game after 29 minutes, to be replaced by Richard Garcia.

New signing Kevin Horlock was forced to fill in at left-back.

Defoe exploded into action shortly afterwards with a jinking run and shot which beat United goalkeeper Patrick Kenny, but rebounded off his far post in the 34th minute, with Garcia only able to bundle the lose ball wide.

Jack Lester should have done better for the visitors after half time with a snapshot which sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, but Defoe went close at the other end again on 57 minutes.

Matthew Etherington's storming run through the middle created an opening for the Hammers striker, who weaved his way into the box, only to fire a left-foot shot too high.

But the Blades were slowly beginning to dominate proceedings, and Roeder sent on striker Neil Mellor for the out-of-sorts Garcia, who had not had the best of games since coming off the bench.

David James then had to underline his claim as England's number one goalkeeper with an excellent low save at his near post after Nick Montgomery had set up Peter Ndlovu.

It was nine years since these two sides last played a league match at Upton Park, and the result was the same, but by the end of this encounter, the Hammers looked anything but Premiership class.


West Ham: James, Dailly, Repka, Pearce, Brevett, Lee, Hutchison, Horlock, Etherington, Connolly, Defoe. Subs: Bywater, Garcia, Byrne, Noble, Mellor.

Sheff Utd: Kenny, Kozluk, Jagielka, Morgan, Page, Montgomery, McCall, Tonge, Lester, Ndlovu, Ward. Subs: Peschisolido, Parkinson, Rankine, Whitlow, Allison.

Referee: K Hill (Hertfordshire).





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