Thursday, November 26

Two-nil and we f***ed it up... (again)

Hull City 3 West Ham 3

We’re at the British Museum’s Moctezuma exhibition looking at receptacles for human hearts as Matt’s text arrives. “3-3. We were 2-0 up in ten minutes, 3-2 down at half-time and they had a man sent off. Another shocker.” So nothing much happened at the KC Stadium then.

I text back remarking that perhaps we need more human sacrifices at Upton Park. Matt suggests that Dyer and Deano aren’t doing much… although they’d probably miss the sacrificial ceremony through injury. Still, it’s an away point and we’re out of the bottom three.

The evidence on Match of the Day shows that we start brilliantly. Stanislas and Franco play a nice one-two resulting in Cole shooting against the keeper. From the resulting corner Franco heads home unchallenged. Then Franco, who’s starting to look like a decent signing, plays a great reverse ball though for Collison to head over the stranded Duke. Jack does a Lampard-style goal celebration, pointing to the sky in memory of his dad.

Then, as at Sunderland, we mess up a two-goal lead, Da Costa conceding yet another free kick on the edge of the box. Jimmy Bullard hits it hard; it strikes first Parker and then Cole and loops over the helpless Green. A fluke, but Bullard, the Dickensian-looking urchin of a player we gave away to Peterborough, made it happen and is dominating midfield for Hull. (Saw him train once at Chadwell Heath and thought he stood out, even in the Di Canio era.)

The returning Danny Gabbidon looks exposed at left back. Just before the break Hunt crosses and Zayatte gets goalside of Da Costa to volley home. Even worse, the referee gives Hull a penalty as Fagan backs into Faubert and goes down like he’s had his pocket picked. Poor Gustave Faubert hasn’t touched him, although it’s all part of his sentimental education. Inevitably, the irrepressible Bullard fires home the penalty.

In the second half we rally as Mendy is sent off for hauling down the marauding Parker, who’s clean through on goal. On 68 minutes Da Costa fires home after Upson knocks on a WHU corner. Both sides then have chances to win it. Vennegoor of Hesselink has a good penalty shout after Upson climbs over him. While sub Jiminez fires into the side netting when he should have scored and Stanislas sends a late free header over the bar.

Can’t argue with the entertainment, just our defending. Like Moctezuma we seem to be giving up to invading forces without a fight. Steve Clarke needs to get back to basics, get Ilunga fit and find a right-back. A good away point, but it could have been so much more.

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