There’s much excitement in Ken’s Café: Matt has been on a mini-break to Aylesbury that didn’t involve going to a football match while Nigel has met Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, along with CQ dressed in purple (a Strange Kind of Woman?). He’s not looked so excited since he bought Made in Japan on vinyl. Though he does admit it might be a Black Night if West Ham lose.
Worryingly though, Nigel is so elated by his Purple encounter that he has decided to embrace positivity with West Ham too. Having declared that we’d beat Bristol City by “a cricket score” he announces, “soon the floodgates will open”. Matt, Fraser and myself know that you should never interfere with West Ham’s karma in such fashion; always assume we are going to lose.
Sure enough we dominate the first half but Taylor heads over and Nolan prods wide when surely he should score. Green has not had a shot to save. Cole is having a good game, bringing other players into the game with his knock downs and making some good runs, but you do wonder if we should have two up front at home.
Finally we make the breakthrough when Cole nods on Green's goal kick and Nolan cleverly lobs the keeper after 52 minutes. We take Taylor off for Piquionne. Nigel says it proves us Jeremiahs wrong.
SNATCHING DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY
Only five minutes later Burnley's Junior Stanislas (sold by Big Sam) pings over a routine cross and McCann rises above Faye and heads home with their first effort on target.
We batter the Burnley goal and completely dominate midfield. It’s actually one of our better home performances of the season. Collison hits the post and Piquionne makes a fine run but releases the ball at the wrong moment.
Green makes a fine stop from a long distance Burnley effort. Nigel says we'll score soon and that as Southampton are losing "we'll go top if we win". After 75 minutes Burnley get their first corner. Sam Vokes rises above Nolan to score with a powerful header. It’s a complete mugging.
West Ham continue to press with Carew, Cole and Piquionne up front and Faubert’s woeful header wide summing up our afternoon. Every cross seems to land on a Burnley head and we look tired and demoralised. Nigel's floodgates remain barred and triple-locked by Banham. Piquionne has a goal bound shot stopped by a defender's face and Cole shoots narrowly wide.
“There’s only one person to blame and that’s Nigel,” exclaims Matt, although Nigel feebly tries to argue that the players and manager might come into it also.
We’ve been desperately unlucky, but have been punished for bad defending and poor finishing and Nigel’s Deep Purple-inspired over-confidence.
We’ve been undone by Burnley’s Machine Head. And there could be Smoke on the Water when Nigel burns his lucky West Ham baseball cap by the Thames.