Moore Than Just A Club

Classic Match: Volume Sixteen: West Ham United 6-0 Brighton & Hove Albion April 2012

In the sixteenth Volume of our Classic Match series, we delve through the archives once more to take you through another memorable match from down the years, this time around, we look at a clash with Saturday’s hosts West Ham United at the Amex Stadium, Brighton & Hove Albion.

Cast your minds back to the late spring of 2012, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen was at the very summit of the British Music Charts and the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Cruise Liner the Titanic was about to be commemorated.

Meanwhile, in the world of Football and more specifically, the Npower Championship, Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United were chasing Promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Heading into a home clash with Gus Poyet’s Brighton & Hove Albion, the Hammers occupied third position in the Championship Table, having lost their grip on Automatic Promotion in recent weeks.

In their last outing, they had been embroiled in a thrilling 3-3 home draw with Birmingham City, not the result they needed to keep pressure on Southampton and Reading above.

Meanwhile, the Seagulls were trying to achieve a different objective by squeezing into the Play-Offs, though defeats to Burnley and Reading had seen them fall out of the top six, the latter coming just days before.

The affair was to be played out on a sunny Saturday afternoon in East London at the Boleyn Ground, with temperatures and pressures running high with the Championship campaign drawing to a close.

At the announcement of the two starting Xls in E13, one hour prior to kick-off, the danger men could be clearly spotted in both home and away line-ups, the players capable of making the difference on the afternoon.

For the hosts, Portuguese forward Ricardo Vaz Te had been in red-hot form since joining from Barnsley months earlier, so too Captain Kevin Nolan, while for the visitors, top-scorer Ashley Barnes was sure to lose a threat, as well as bright young midfielder Liam Bridcutt.

Against the backdrop of a jubilant atmosphere at Upton Park, the match began, and the opening stages would very much set the tone for the rest of the encounter, Allardyce’s men dominant from the very off.

It took them all of three minutes to seize an early advantage, Nolan feeding Vaz Te to unleash a ferocious strike from comfortably outside the box, beating Peter Brezovan all ends up and bulging the back of the net.

Just five minutes later, and after Brezovan had somehow kept out Nolan twice, the advantage was doubled, Gary O’Neil delivering a deep cross from the tight for Vaz Te to squeeze the ball in at the near post with a header.

The strike was the former Bolton Wanderers man’s 21st goal of the season in all Competitions, within 15 minutes of kick-off, West Ham had three and it would be another well-worked strike.

A Matt Taylor free-kick found James Tomkins who teed up Nolan for a tap in to finally beat Brezovan, though the Irons somehow went in at the break only 3-0 up.

This wouldn’t last long, however, nor could Vaz Te stay out of the action either, netting the pick of the lot, a quite magnificent overhead-kick from inside the area for his hat-trick.

If the three points weren’t already certain, they were now, but the hosts were far from finished and the fifth arrived in due course, though also in somewhat fortunate circumstances.

Carlton Cole cut in from the left to get into a superb position, his shot flicking off the heel of Henri Lansbury and wrongfooting Brezovan, there was a very much a case of not how but how many at this stage.

Never could this be seen more than the manner in which the final was scored, a Mark Noble corner being turned into his own-goal by Gary Dicker ensuring miserable afternoon for the travelling Brighton fans.

While for the Claret & Blue Army, it was sheer delight and their team went on to clinch Promotion back up to the Top-Flight under Allardyce, defeating Blackpool in the Play-Off Final.

Whereas, the team from the South Coast race was run in terms of reaching the Play-Off Semi-Finals and they finished four places and nine points off time in tenth position under Poyet.

But, one question remains, will David Moyes’ West Ham United be able to inflict such a thrashing on Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion when the pair meet in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cat your early score predictions for that matchup.