Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pardew Calls for Noble Performers at Portman Road

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pardew Calls for Noble Performers at Portman Road

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

WEST HAM are hoping that 17-year-old midfielder Mark Noble will be the ace in their pack when they go to Ipswich on Wednesday for the second leg of their Championship playoff semi-final.

Alan Pardew's side squandered a two-goal lead to finish 2-2 at Upton Park, and Noble is likely to be brought in for the match which could decide the West Ham manager's future.

Noble played for the last 15 minutes of the first leg but still found time to have a realistic penalty appeal rejected by referee Uriah Rennie, who was criticised for his performance by both Pardew and Ipswich boss Joe Royle.

Pardew hinted that Noble could be in his starting line-up at Portman Road.

He said: "Mark did well enough when he came on and he could feature more significantly in the second leg."

Matthew Etherington, who ran Ipswich ragged in the first half, will be fit for Wednesday's tie despite a bruised leg.

Pardew added: "The referee's performance was disappointing and I was aggrieved that Matty didn't get more protection.

Etherington was also critical of referee Rennie. He said: "He's a frustrating referee.

"Some of the decisions he makes just leave you puzzled and he's not consistent. I was surprised to see he was the referee for such an important game."

Etherington, who could leave West Ham if they fail to gain promotion, is also adamant that the team will have to address their tendency to throw away leads if they are to beat Ipswich.

"We always fancy ourselves to score but we have to tighten up," he said. "We did a a similar thing at home to Sunderland and now it has happened again.

"We have to address the problem before Wednesday. It's not just the back four but the whole team. Maybe we drop too deep and invite the pressure."

Etherington tormented Ipswich fullback Drissa Diallo in the first half. …

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