See Ravel Morrison scored twice for QPR at Birmingham. The first was a fine free kick over the wall and the second another good finish from the edge of the box. Both goals involved skills that he made look easy. We don't know what's going on in his head, but the lad has huge ability and Birmingham's manager Lee Clark reckons he's the most naturally gifted player since Gazza. Whatever Ravel's problems with agents etc, the club should surely be be thinking very seriously about how to keep him when his loan spell is over.
Lots of loved-up pictures on Billi Mucklow's Instagram site of the Towie star with Andy Carroll. She's included a picture of the pair tossing pancakes, which at least proves that she and Andy knows the difference between Shrove Tuesday and Sheffield Wednesday. Do hope she goes easy on our Andy though and bearing in mind his injury record doesn't insist on him playing too active a role in the kitchen. Even Big Sam managed to crock himself on a granite worktop last season and you do fear the damage a carelessly tossed hot pancake landing on Andy's foot might do…
Surprised to see ex-Hammer Lars Jacobsen still turning out for Denmark in Wednesday's friendly against England. He's now 34 and playing for FC Copenhagen. Never looked that impressive during the Avram Grant relegation season, but he's probably a better player than we realised at the time as he was thrust into a side with no confidence and little team spirit. It was a pretty poor game at Wembley, though with Wilshere now out, might it be time for Roy Hodgson to give Mark Noble a call?
Fellow West Ham fan Nigel has alerted me to his second-favourite club Bashley being in trouble. Here's a press release from Bashley if anyone can help the New Forest side in distress…
“Bashley Football Club has defied logic for many years as the village soccer club that made history by attaining Southern Premier League status. The rise from park football to Southern Premier was driven by the enthusiasm, hard work and the investment of football-loving local business people, but these have dwindled with the ravages of time. More recently, the club has kept going hand-to-mouth, thanks to our main sponsor Hoburne Holiday Parks and the efforts, ingenuity and deep pockets of a handful of inexperienced but passionate volunteers.
“Although never likely to survive on gate receipts alone the drop of income caused by the loss of so many Saturday games from bad weather plus a current lack of sponsors has put survival in doubt. This has now come to a head and Bashley is now dependant on private funding and an understanding squad to finish the season.
“Decisions are required very soon on our participation in the Southern League and FA Cups in season 2014/15 and it is very apparent that without executive level recruitment and guaranteed sponsorship/funding we would be unable to meet the financial obligations required. Bashley Football Club is a membership club run by the members and unable to raise or borrow money in the market and hence debt-free but cash poor.
“On Thursday, March 13, 2014 the 37 members of Bashley Football Club will be voting on the following resolution: that unless adequate funding is forthcoming and executive vacancies filled, Bashley Football Club will have no alternative but to start proceedings to dissolve the club after the completion of the 2013/14 season (30 April 2014).” An EGM has been called to raise awareness of the situation and if help is not forthcoming to dissolve the club."
Everton 1 West Ham 0 We never get much from Merseyside and it's proved to be the case again at Everton, with West Ham's five-match unbeaten run ending. Looking at the Match of the Day highlights Barry should have been sent off early on for pulling down Nolan as he ran on to Carlton Cole's flick. The Blues only have two real chances in the first half, Adrian parrying Naismith's effort and Deulofeu jinxing through to shoot wide. Not sure why Allardyce replaces Cole with Carroll after 30 minutes, surely not a great boost for Carlton's confidence. It looks as if Carroll's injury curse has struck again when he dislocates a finger (he's since published a picture of the dodgy digit on twitter) but it's merely a scratch to our version of Monty Python's Black Knight and once it's popped back in AC plays on. Pienaar hits the post early in the second half and scoops another chance over the bar. West Ham have a couple of moments when Carroll fires in a great left foot volley that Howard tips over and Nolan cuts inside on the left to shoot just past the post. The breakthrough comes nine minutes from the end when Baines crosses to find sub Lukaku who shoots home through a crowd of defenders. Everton had 70 per cent of the possession, which isn't good enough, but we came close to getting a point with another disciplined defensive performance without showing enough going forward. Difficult month coming up now the Hull game has been postponed, with Stoke away presenting another tricky match in a fortnight.
Pottsy's autograph as obtained by Matt… We're not worthy!
Had a number of excited texts from my mate Matt the Anorak of Fire, who was watching the Development Squad play Reading in Basingstoke on Monday night. Was he taking Lisa on a belated Valentine's Day treat? Puts Part-Timers like me to shame. Hammers legend Steve Potts was sitting in the row in front of him. Pottsy's boys secured a 2-0 win with a blinding Elliot Lee volley and a second from Blair Turgott. Plus Matt had a chat with Pottsy himself it seems, no doubt discussing his amazing goal against Hull City. Matt also informs me that Lucas Neill has signed for Watford at the age of 35 - surely he's older than that?
In Ken’s Café Nigel’s looking
forward to seeing Eddie and the Hot Rods later, while Matt’s not slept all week
because of roadworks outside his house but is promising to remain positive. Michael
the Whovian remarks that it’s the third anniversary of the death of the Brigadier,
aka Nicholas Courtney. Let’s hope the lads can do it for the Brig. While
Michael’s mate Nick, who lives locally, but isn’t going to the game, has arrived simply to experience the ambience of the East End literary salon that is Ken’s.
In the stadium Southampton immediately
impress with their passing game and only a good interception by Demel stops an early goal. Rodriguez looks impressive on the left and Lallana is busy. West
Ham go behind on eight minutes after a fairly soft free kick is given. Yoshida
outjumps McCartney to score an easy goal.
THE IRONS GO MARCHING IN
Matt tries to stay positive
and, perhaps delirious after lack of sleep, encourages Matt Taylor when he
gives the ball away. It pays off as a few seconds later Nolan chips the ball
over the top, Shaw doesn’t follow his man and a possibly offside Matt Jarvis
pokes the ball through Boruc’s legs. It gets better. Three minutes later
Downing wins a corner. Carlton Cole hits the post with his header and then
reacts quickest to swivel and half-volley home after Yoshida makes a mess of
trying to clear. That’s six goals for CC since he returned. Before the break Lambert
outjumps Collins to head against the post.
Southampton dominate the first
25 minutes of the second half. Ramirez skins Collins to shoot over the bar and
then Lallana shoots hastily wide. West Ham’s only threat is when Taylor makes a
great run down the left to get a dangerous cross in.
CLUCKING KEVIN NOLAN
The Irons are playing like
the away side, but soon punish the Saints’ wastefulness. Noble makes a great interception
to find Downing on the left. His inviting cross is touched back by Carlton Cole
and Kevin Nolan scores with an acrobatic overhead kick. Another great finish
from the clucking captain.
“The mugging rate in Newham
must have just soared,” muses Michael. After his sinus operation Michael’s nose
has just about stood up to the pressure.
We nearly get a fourth when
sub Diame cuts inside to wallop the bar. Despite Southampton's possession, Noble has had another great game and Nigel's 'Nobes for England' theory is starting to sound possible. Three minutes of added time is seen
out and incredibly it’s four wins out of four. On possession Southampton deserved
at least a point, but Hammers are resilient these days and for once have been
clinical up front.
The day is rounded off by a
trip to the Central with Fraser and Michael, which is still stocking Old Speckled Hen (admittedly in the fridge) as that woman
offering dvds does her rounds of the punters. Michael looks forward to an
evening at the theatre watching Candide, insisting that
all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds and that Kevin Nolan is
the West Ham captain therefore he is the best West Ham captain. Thirty one points…
Two more wins and a couple of draws should do it. PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 6, Demel 7, Tomkins 7, Collins 6, McCartney 6: Jarvis 7 (Diame 6), Taylor 6, Noble 8, Nolan 7 (Reid 5), Downing 7; Cole 7.