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  • Bolton Wanderers 3-1 West Ham United: Green error

    At the beginning of the game, those who had travelled here from industrial Essex began celebrating Rob Green as "England's No1". Moments after he dropped a routine shot at Ivan Klasnic's feet, the chant was rolling across the Reebok, a mocking reinforcement of the one constant criticism of Fabio Capello's squad, its lack of an outstanding goalkeeper.

    Gary Cahill's shot should have done no more than sting Green's gloves. Instead his failure to deal with it was a slap across the face for the keeper and his club. Under the circumstances, it may have come almost as a relief that Cahill should have scored a third, heading home Ricardo Gardner's corner two minutes from time. At least, he could tell himself, his mistake was not decisive.

    West Ham still bear the scars of a relegation battle with Bolton. More than six years ago, the team that was always too good to go down, marshalled by Trevor Brooking, slugged it out punch for punch and point for point with the Bolton of Sam Allardyce. West Ham did go down, with 42 points and the finest array of players assembled at Upton Park since the days of Bobby Moore was broken up.

    This West Ham side is certainly bad enough to get itself relegated and is making the kind of errors mixed in with ill-fortune that usually accompany a side in freefall. Some West Ham defenders thought, perhaps wrongly, that the bad luck was wrapped up with Bolton's first, a product of some adventurous interplay between Klasnic and Lee Chung-yong in which the Korean's beautifully worked finish carried a suspicion of offside. Gianfranco Zola did not protest but sank deeper into his seat, his hair thinning, his face gaunt, the smile that played constantly on his lips in his pomp at Chelsea gone. West Ham's next game is against the club where he achieved greatness and it will not be a happy reunion.



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