Monday, October 6

A good game to miss...

West Ham 1 Bolton 3

Always write the football fixtures in your diary the day they come out. Her Indoors' arranges stuff aeons in advance and back in June she cited my blank diary as an excuse to book us on a family trip to Bath. Hence I’m in west country exile for the Bolton game.

We stay with Julie and Ben in the village of Limpley Stoke, which sounds a little like an Irons capitulation at the Britannia stadium. And the posh country pubs built with Bath stone don’t even have Sky.

At kick-off time we're tramping through wooded valleys and across a boggy field, where an irate cow charges our party. It's a little reminiscent of being confronted by Kevin Davies. Outstretched arms and an aggressive posture manage to see it off, although I wonder if Lucas Neill and co would be able to do the same.

Still, another win and we’ll make the top four. As we sit down to a pub Sunday lunch in Freshford the texts start to come through.

Barclays Premier League: West Ham 0 Bolton 1 (Kevin Davies 30)

Barclays Premier League: West Ham 0 Bolton 1 (Gary Cahill 33)

It’s strange how some mysterious form of kinetic energy enables the exiled Hammers’ fan to live the game while viewing it by text mesage. Over a mouthful of roast potato there are visions of early dominance ruined by a couple of defensive errors as Bolton bully us out of the game. The vicar's son near us will be swearing at Zola, Fraser will remaining cool and Nigel will be muttering about record home defeats and does anyone remember that Nick Barmby hat-trick here. There will be a second half fightback of course and a consolation goal to give the fans that terrible hope that always lurks within us:

Barclays Premier League: West Ham 1 Bolton 2 (Carlton Cole 68)

And then the inevitable late third that seals the game:

Barclays Premier League: West Ham 1 Bolton 3 (Matthew Taylor 86)

“Good game to miss…” texts Mat and I wonder if I’ll have to pay compensation to poor Lisa who was using my ticket. It’s almost as if I don’t need to watch Match of the Day.

But the TV evidence is that it’s the unlikely figure of Robert Green who’s let us down, spilling an innocuous cross to Davies and then failing to hold a shot for Cahill to poke home for the second. Bolton’s third was a scorcher from 40 yards, made easier by the lack of a defensive wall.

On the positive side Carlton Cole has already scored four goals this season and produced a brilliant save from the Bolton keeper. With Deano out all season it’s a huge chance for him to finally become a decent striker who gets 15 goals a season (he normally gets no more than four) providing he hires a chauffeur for nights out at Faces.

Zola reiterated his faith in Green and all the players; his trust is rather refreshing after the usual managerial rants and Arsene Wenger feeling “physically sick” whenever a side plays well at Arsenal.

And, in the absence of XL Holidays, we’re all going to Hull and back in a fortnight — the Barcelona of Humberside I’m told. Matt likes it so much he’s even turned it into a romantic mini-break, where hopefully the day will end with a Housemartins-style score of HULL 0 LONDON 4.

And there’s always Tottenham to laugh at.

No comments: