Thursday, October 28

Giving goals to Newcastle

West Ham 1 Newcastle 2

It’s hard not to look back in Ongar when you support West Ham. We’re on our way to Bishops Stortford via the surprisingly rural-looking Chipping Ongar, with its ancient church and whitboarded or black beamed cottages, driving past a pink sunset over a flat expanse of fields that could almost be Norfolk (with the odd golf club and tanning salon thrown in). Only my sense of well-being is ruined by turning on the car radio.

It’s 1-1 at Upton Park and although Carlton Cole has scored early doors tapping in Piquionne’s mishit shot after Noble’s great through ball, the commentator claims that WHU have faded alarmingly, allowing Nolan to equalise when he latched on to Carroll’s knock down.

We stop at the Prince of Wales in Tye Green to watch the second half. My pint of Hadham Gold is better than the game.

We’re outnumbered in midfield and don’t have a shot on target, Behrami looks way off the pace and Upson goes off with a muscle twinge.

There’s no urgency, Grant does little to change things and it’s inevitable that Newcastle score the winner. Barton plays in a fine cross, Da Costa loses his man and Andy Carroll has enough time to drink ten pints in his torched motor before heading home.

For the rest of the game the commentator endlessly repeats the mantra that “West Ham have not scored more than one goal all season.”

Nigel’s text sums it up: “Dire. Didn’t have a chance after first 15 minutes. Parker 6 most of the rest 5 or 4 out of ten, Behrami 2.”

A thoroughly dispiriting performance. On this form we’re going down.

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