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Around The Uk

BBC Five Live's Dave Oates
describes the action at the game.
 real 14k

banner Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 21:24 GMT 22:24 UK
Walsall 0-1 West Ham
Joe Cole
Joe Cole was impressive in Hammers win
Jermaine Defoe's debut goal for West Ham gave manager Harry Redknapp's side their first win of the season at the expense of Division two table-toppers Walsall at the Bescot Stadium

In the secound round first leg tie, which was twice interrupted by a streaker, a goalless draw looked on the cards until Defoe's 84th minute strike.

It came after a Stuart Pearce free-kick was deflected out for a corner from which Rio Ferdinand hit the crossbar before the rebound fell to Defoe and the substitute made no mistake from eight yards.

Earlier in the the heavy rain at the Bescot Stadium both teams wrestled for early supremacy and it was Walsall who threatened first when Jorge Leitao dribbled into the West Ham area before being dispossessed.

The visitors then began to impose some authority on the game and attacked through the lively Joe Cole when he played a long-ranging cross-field ball to free Trevor Sinclair on the right after 11 minutes.

But Sinclair's intended pass for Steve Lomas was blocked by the back-tracking Walsall defence prior to Cole shooting wide with a shot from the edge of the area after combining with midfielder Michael Carrick.

Sinclair then found himself with only Walsall goalkeeper James Walker to beat after Stuart Pearce's 16th minute pass rather fortuitouly found its way through the home defence.

Sinclair's shot, however, only served to produce a fine save from Walker low to his left.

Inevitably, Cole was influential as West Ham searched for the opening goal which they thought Nigel Winterburn had provided after 22 minutes.

Cole determindely forged down the right and crossed for Sinclair to flick the ball into Winterburn's path. The former Arsenal defender thought he had scored with a close ranger header only for his effort to be disallowed for handball.

Walsall then served notice of their attacking intention and it was only the sturdy defending of Igor Stimac and Rio Ferdinand which respectively denied Darren Byfield and Leitao clear runs on goal.

West Ham defender Steve Potts was then called into action on the hour mark. Walsall's Gabor Bukran played Pedro Matias through on West Ham's goal but Potts' last-ditch tackle deflected the Spaniards shot away for a corner.

The home side looked the most likely to score as the second-half progressed and Matias's long ball after 67 miutes released Leitao, but West Ham goalkeeper Shaka Hislop came quickly out of his goal to gather safely before Defoe's winning goal.

Walsall: Walker, Brightwell, Barras, Tillson, Aranalde, Hall, Bukran, Keates, Matias, Leitao, Byfield. Subs: Emberson, Roper, Carter, Angell, Bennett.

West Ham: Hislop, S. Pearce, Ferdinand, Winterburn, Stimac, Keller, Carrick, Lomas, Potts, Sinclair, Cole. Subs: Forrest, Newton, Riza, Byrne, Defoe.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley)

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