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Standing a touch short of 6ft and sporting an ill-fitting shirt deprived of a number on the back, Henri Lansbury did not seem like a goalkeeper that fancied a Tuesday night appearance in a squally seaside resort.

Yet Arsenal loanee Lansbury, normally a midfielder, revelled in his cameo following Robert Green’s harsh red card just after the break.

The 21 year-old has previous experience between the posts. In 2010 he was called upon when Jason Steele was dismissed for England Under-21s against Germany. Lansbury let in the penalty that resulted from Steele’s dismissal but kept Germany at bay for the rest of the 2-0 defeat.

That he did not have much to do here reveals much about this West Ham victory, which puts them top of the Championship. It was secured through a dominant midfield display – James Tomkins, Jack Collison and Mark Noble were all exceptional.

Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager claimed that referee Oliver Langford “buckled” under pressure from Blackpool’s players before making Green walk with the score at 2-1.

“Your heart is in your mouth because it was at a very delicate part of the game and we were well in control,” he said. “I thought they’d cope with it but not quite to the level that they reached by punishing the opposition to the highest order.”

Having already made three substitutions at the time of the sending off, Holloway argued that Green’s challenge on Roman Bednar left his team a man down as well.

“Roman was crocked afterwards,” he said, before being typically brutal in the assessment of his play-off chasing team’s performance. “It was pretty horrendous from my point of view. Only one side turned up tonight. They were better than us and more professional than us.”

There was a sense that West Ham wanted to make a point about their promotion credentials and they started with more purpose. The opening goal came when Tomkins headed home a Noble free-kick, and the lead was soon extended when Nicky

Maynard, signed last month from Bristol City for £1.65?million, slid in his first goal for the club.

Blackpool were a shambles and 10 minutes before the break Chris Basham was replaced by Kevin Phillips, who at least reduced the deficit when he prodded past a flat-footed Green.

The West Ham keeper’s 53rd-minute dismissal, for dashing off his line to bring down the onrushing Bednar, should have leant the hosts impulse.

Instead, the result was guaranteed when Noble’s corner led to Gary O’Neill finding the target.

With a minute to go, Ricardo Vaz Te drifted in from his position on the left and made it 4-1.

Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Evatt, Baptiste, Basham (K Phillips 34), Cathcart, Sylvestre (Dicko 46), Ferguson, M Phillips, Fleck, LuaLua (Bednar 46). Substitutes: Eardley, Wilson. Booked: Fleck

West Ham United: Green, Reid, McCartney, Tomkins, Faye (O’Neil 66), O’Brien, Faubert (Lansbury 54), Collison, Noble, Maynard, Vaz Te. Substitutes: Potts, Baldock Cole. Booked: Reid. Sent Off: Green

Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)


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