UK press slam West Ham after Phoenix loss

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 07:29 24/07/2014
CHOPPED DOWN: West Ham player and English international Stewart Downing goes down in a challenge during his sides 2-1 upset loss to the Wellington Phoenix.
Simon Watts/Getty Images
CHOPPED DOWN: West Ham player and English international Stewart Downing goes down in a challenge during his sides 2-1 upset loss to the Wellington Phoenix.

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West Ham received a predictable pasting from the British media as they digested the English Premier League's 2-1 loss to the Wellington Phoenix.

The football scribes were united in their views that this was a very poor display from a club looking to make some inroads on the table next season.

Goals to Andrew Durante and Alex Rodriguez had New Zealand's A-League side 2-0 up and West Ham's only consolation last night was a goal from new signing Mauro Zarate in Auckland.

According to the London Standard, his ''neat turn and finish was all the travelling fans had to cheer about in a game scarce of Claret and Blue chances''.

Writer James Henderson even managed to bring rugby into the equation, noting the historic relevance of match venue Eden Park.

''Home to reigning world champions in the All Blacks, West Ham failed to replicate the free-flowing attacking flair of New Zealand's most iconic sporting side,'' he wrote.

There was general praise for the impetus Argentine Zarate provide when he was introduced and his performance ''provided a glimmer of hope'' while the absence of Andy Carroll through an ankle injury only emphasised his importance to the team.

''But in the end that proved fruitless as the club once again failed to record a victory after three pre-season games so far.

''West Ham's failure to replicate the resounding 4-0 victory for Newcastle over Sydney FC the previous evening will be sure to take the headlines, with little to obverse in the way of stand-out performers.

''While the final whistle prompted celebrations which will go down in Kiwi footballing history, for West Ham and a beleaguered manager Sam Allardyce, this performance will long be forgotten,'' concluded the Standard.

The Daily Mail said there is much work to be done for West Ham on their preseason showings and this performance was a nightmare for the Hammer's All Whites star Winston Reid.

''Reid's homecoming didn't go to script for the New Zealand Premier League star as West Ham were beaten,'' Michael Gadd wrote in the Mail.

''Sam Allardyce's side got more than they bargained for against the team which finish one place above the wooden spoon last A-League season and for Reid, who was handed the captain's armband for the occasion, it'll be a night to forget.''

The Mail said even Zarate's goal couldn't save the blushes.

''The celebrations were muted from the tourists who knew this was rare show of class when the expectations were much higher from both their manager and the crowd.

''Allardyce won't have been impressed, especially given Phoenix took the field minus three of their most important players from their last - albeit unsuccessful - campaign.''

The tabloid Sun described West Ham's performance as ''sloppy'' as they allowed the Phoenix to ''claim a prized Premier League scalp''.

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Website Soccerway felt West Ham were guilty of being ''sluggish'' and the result continued ''their underwhelming pre-season form''.

Gola.com said that after draws against Stevenage and Ipswich Town ''things got worse'' against the Phoenix.

''It was all too easy for Wellington ... and despite late pressure, which saw Zarate flick an effort narrowly wide of the post, Allardyce's side were left to lament a slow start ahead of Saturday's clash with Sydney.''

West Ham now head to Wellington to play Sydney FC on Saturday night in a doubleheader that has the Phoenix up against Newcastle United and unexpectedly looking for a second EPL scalp.

- Stuff

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