When Sheffield Wednesday travelled to Upton Park on 16 January 1999 they braced themselves for their hosts to come at them hammer and tongs after a shock FA Cup defeat to Third Division Swansea.
However, Harry Redknapp’s side had found more success at home with four consecutive victories before Wednesday’s visit and the stood eighth in the Premiership, nine points ahead of the Owls in 15th.
Wednesday were struggling with a draw and three defeats in their previous four league games with a comfortable FA Cup win over Norwich bringing some relief.
Danny Sonner made his first start in five games, the midfielder taking over from the suspended Dejan Stefanovic although it was a less than auspicious opening as he collected a first-minute booking, his fifth of the season and one that earned him a one-match ban.
Wednesday started confidently and applied some early pressure. Ritchie Humphreys played a ball in from the right which was controlled by Benito Carbone who unleashed a dipping 22-yard shot which Hammers keeper Shaka Hislop touched over the bar.
The Owls then took the lead in the 26th minute with Carbone again involved. The Italian touched a neat pass into the path of Andy Hinchcliffe who drove the ball in hard and low and it crept over the line despite the best attempts by the hosts to keep it out.
Samassi Abou’s shot was deflected wide and Stuart Pearce missed with a simple header as West Ham responded and they were made to pay when Petter Rudi doubled the lead in the 31st minute.
A quality move ended with a throughball by Wim Jonk which found Rudi coming in on the left side of the area, the Norwegian putting the ball into the keeper’s bottom left-hand corner for his fourth goal of the season.
The Owls had assumed charge and should have capitalised when they had four against three but instead it was the Hammers who attacked, Pavel Srnicek called upon to make a flying save from Eyal Berkovic before Hislop turned a dipping free-kick from Abou over the bar as half-time arrived.
If Wednesday had expected West Ham to come at them after the break they were correct in their assumption and with the crowd behind them, the hosts forced the Owls back and there was some stout defending by Danny Wilson’s side.
Sonner had a long-range shot which skimmed the bar but it was Carbone who stole the show, entertaining the crowd before the Italian supplied a perfect throughball for Niclas Alexanderssen who in turn found Ritchie Humphreys who turned the ball home midway through the half.
Jonk’s fierce 25-yard shot was beaten out by Hislop but Wednesday got their fourth five minutes later and again it was Carbone and his twinkletoes that were involved.
He jinked along the by-line, finding a way through before being tripped by Pearce with referee Keith Burge pointing to the spot for Wednesday’s first penalty of the season.
Even though Jonk was designated penalty-taker, Carbone stepped up and fired the ball into the top left-hand corner for his fifth goal of the season.
There could have been more goals but Wednesday were happy with just the four as they claimed three precious points to put some daylight between them and the relegation zone.