Tuesday, November 4

Mullins for England!

Middlesbrough 1West Ham 1

More powerless watching of Sky Sports News in Scotland. The Hammers line-up is intriguing, albeit more like a Carling Cup side. Zola is giving youth a go, starting Collison and Sears after the anaemic display at Old Trafford. Thankfully Neill is back and Faubert restored to his correct position as a right winger.

I trudge Edinburgh’s Broughton Street shopping for organic potatoes during the first half, desperate to escape the impending sense of doom. But returning to our Georgian gaff at half-time there’s the astonishing news that West Ham are a goal up.

“Of course that goal doesn’t tell the story of the game,” announces the link, about to say that Middlesbrough have pulverised our goal. But no,“West Ham have totally dominated!” he continues. Blimey. Bellamy and Sears are doing all sorts of damage up front.

Mullins has scored and I text Matt with “Hayden for England!”. He replies “His second goal of the season – and one of them for us!”

Matt Le Tissier is doing the Sky reports and says that Aves has blasted a free kick over the bar. Then they announce that the ball is in the net at the Riverside. “But it’s been disallowed, Taylor offside by a matter of inches,” gushes Le Tissier.

Then after a horrible pause the anchor tells us there’s been a goal at the Riverside. Matt Le Tissier is smirking like the useless underachieving loafer with no skill he’s always been. “It had to come! Substitute Mido has scored from a free kick given on the edge of the box after a foul by Collins!”

Please, please, no more goal flashes from the Riverside. No news is good news. A point would be more than we’d expected after for straight defeats.

“Boro doing all the pressing against beleagured West Ham” intnrs the anchor as Le Tissier reports another sodding corner for Boro. How much longer left? Not another last minute defeat.

“And West Ham are hanging on!” gushes the anchor.

“We’re in stoppage time and West Ham are pressing now!” says Le Tissier. Phew. “And an amazing save from Turnbull! West Ham will be kicking themselves they haven’t taken three points” says Le Tissier.

And then Nicola rings up saying she coming back from Edinburgh Zoo just as the final whistle blows, but at least it’s made me forget about the game for a second and avoid a stress-induced collapse.

A workmanlike point is what we need. It’s our first draw of the season and with two homes games coming there might be cause for a little optimism at last.

Match of the Day shows Hayden making a marvellous air-kick, before connecting rather better with his second effort into the top corner. Sears looks lively early on and Turnball produces a great double stop to deny Bowyer and Collison in the last minute. The Observer’s fan at the game says that Collison “absolutely bossed the midfield”.

It’s a good performance and a sound point, with two home games coming up. Zola says he’s finding management “tiring”. He should try being a fan…

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