Wednesday, 11 May 2016

An epic night brings down the curtain on 112 years of football at the Boleyn Ground for West Ham United

West Ham 3-2 Manchester United

A night of high drama was expected for the final game that would bring down the curtain on the Boleyn ground after 112 years - and no one was disappointed.

The drama began off the field, with the Manchester United coach attacked outside the ground. The result was a 45 minute delay to the kick off.

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal refused to blame the problems outside for his team’s result, restricting his comments to highlighting how “the images make it clear” what happened.

West Ham have announced that there will be lifetime bans issued for those involved in the trouble.

When the game finally began, West Ham dominated, taking the lead in the 10th minute, when Diafra Sakho guided in a Manuel Lanzini pass from the edge of the penalty area.

West Ham had chances to extend their lead before half time, the most notable being when Andy Carroll was put clean through by Dimitri Payet, only to see the advancing David De Gea block with his legs.

There were further chances for Lanzini and Payet but both were spurned.

It then looked like the exit from the Boleyn was going to be ruined by the visitors as the pacy Anthony Martial struck twice in the 50th and 71st minutes to put United in front.

However, West Ham were not to be denied, with first Michail Antonio rising to head home a Payet cross, then Winston Reid heading home another cross from the Frenchman.

There were some further unsavoury moments, when bottles were thrown from the crowd at De Gea and one fan got onto the pitch to confront the Spaniard, before being dragged away.

Van Gaal conceded that the emotion of the night had an effect but he refused to make excuses. “We can still pass over Manchester City (4th in the table) in the last game of the season,” said Van Gaal.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was rather overcome with emotion, declaring it “a great night that made history.”

West Ham now go to Stoke on Sunday for the last game needing to win to guarantee sixth place and Europa League football next season.

After the game, the fans did abide by the wishes of the club’s owners, not to invade the pitch. There then followed a long celebration, with fireworks and memories of past great days down the years at the ground. Former players were paraded in black cabs, with the likes of Trevor Brooking and Paulo di Canio interviewed about past great moments.  

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