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Saturday, 5 October, 2002, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Blues sink sorry Hammers
Stern John opens the scoring for Birmingham
Breen could not prevent John from opening the scoring
West Ham 1-2 Birmingham

West Ham's woes deepened as Premiership newcomers Birmingham City registered their first away win of the season thanks to a brace from in-form striker Stern John.

John twice took advantage of some catastrophic defending by the home side to bring his tally to five goals in two games for the Blues.

The defending was unacceptable and in the second half we rarely looked like getting one back
West Ham manager
Glenn Roeder

His first squeezed past David James' near post after a mistake by Gary Breen.

And though Joe Cole pulled one back for West Ham, John struck again when Tomas Repka allowed him to turn in the box just before half-time.

The result leaves West Ham rooted to the bottom of the Premiership, having conceded 16 goals in just seven games.

Under-fire manager Glenn Roeder's misery was complete when his embattled side were booed off the pitch by disgruntled home fans.

  Key moments
3 mins: Stern John's left-foot finish puts Birmingham ahead
17 mins: Joe Cole equalises for West Ham after good work from Paolo di Canio
43 mins: Stern John chests down a cross from Stan Lazaridis and fires home his second

Birmingham took just three minutes to breech the flimsy West Ham defence, in which former Blues defender Breen and Repka were regularly exposed.

John escaped Breen's weak challenge and from a tight angle fired a shot which James should have done better with.

It was a bitter blow for James, hoping to hold off the challenge of David Seaman for his international place.

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was in the stands to witness the keeper's embarrassment.

Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson witnessed a mistake by David James

But despite their frailty at the back, West Ham's attacking trio of Cole, Paolo di Canio and Jermain Defoe became increasingly influential as they recovered from the early setback.

And it was England international Cole who brought the Hammers level, Di Canio providing the perfect pass from midfield for the 20-year-old to run on to.

Cole, often criticised for his lack of goals, showed no mercy and waited for goalkeeper Nico Vaesen to come off his line before guiding the ball inside the far post.

It was West Ham's first goal at Upton Park in five hours and 23 minutes.

But Birmingham had restored their lead by the break.

We had some big performances today - it's nice to score away from home as it settles everyone down
Birmingham manager Steve Bruce

James was again left exposed as Repka gave John time and space to chest down a Stan Lazaridis cross, turn and direct a low shot into the bottom corner.

Di Canio, so inspirational in West Ham's win at Chelsea last weekend, again tried to lift his side after the break by attempting an audacious free-kick routine.

Cole chipped the ball into the air and the Italian volleyed from 25 yards, but he could not repeat the heroics he performed at Stamford Bridge and the ball flashed wide.

By the end, the home crowd increasingly gave voice to their anger, boos greeting the Hammers' third home defeat of the season.

West Ham: James, Schemmel (Pearce 72), Breen, Repka, Minto, Cole (Camara 72), Carrick, Lomas, Sinclair, Defoe, Di Canio.
Subs Not Used: Van Der Gouw, Cisse, Winterburn.

Booked: Minto, Carrick.

Birmingham: Vaesen, Kenna, Cunningham, Purse, Damien Johnson, Devlin, Cisse, Savage, Lazaridis (Powell 84), John (Horsfield 83), Morrison.
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Vickers, Kirovski.

Booked: Cisse.

Attendance: 35,010

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire)..

BBC Five Live's Eleanor Oldroyd
"Another week at the bottom for West Ham"
Blues boss Steve Bruce
"We really deserved the victory"
West Ham boss Glenn Roeder
"Our fans are entitled to be upset"
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