Tuesday, November 9

Kick up the Brum

Birmingham City 2 West Ham 2

We’re at Matthew Whambam-Smith’s flat warming party in Whitechapel when the text arrives from Nigel reading “v frustrating”. It’s one of those Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads moments. Nigel’s text implies we threw away a lead – but for a draw or another defeat?

Matthew gets out his laptop while his Brazilian missus Anna shows my awe-struck daughters her iPad. He lets me scroll up the BBC’s live scores. Two-nil up then the inevitable pegging back to 2-2. I’m sure Birmingham must get a winner but mercifully there are no more yellow goal symbols. We needed a win, but then again not many teams get a point at Birmingham and I’d have been happy with it at 3pm. But even so, it’s reminiscent of the leads thrown away at Sunderland and Hull last season. We need to learn how to defend.

The evidence on Match of the Day proves we should have won. The first half is enlivened by the sprinklers coming on and soaking both sides. A right shower, indeed. Cole seems certain to have scored when he prods at Behrami’s header from Obinna’s cross. Ben Foster somehow tips the ball on top the post for what he later describes as the best save of his career.

Second half we go two up. Boa Morte plays a precise through ball to Freddie Piquionne who scores. Then Parker intercepts in midfield, Carlton Cole crosses and the onrushing Behrami who sweeps it home after 58 minutes.

It’s looking good. Behrami appears to be thriving in Noble’s central role, and our three strikers are causing plenty of trouble, with Cole looking like a decent target man again.

Obinna cuts inside to shoot against the bar, although Cole is flagged offside, so it wouldn’t have stood.

Green punches away one Larrson free kick and escapes, before a long ball finds the head of the giant Zigic, who rises above Upson and heads down for Jerome to beat Gabbidon to the ball and pull one back on 64 minutes.

Nine minutes later Parker is harshly adjudged to have fouled on the edge of the box and again Green can’t hold Larsson’s free kick, his punch goes straight to our old Academy player Liam Ridgewell who scores. Green should have done better.

It almost gets worse. Gabbidon deflects Jerome’s strike on to the angle of bar and crossbar.

In the 88th minute there’s still time for West Ham to be denied a blatant penalty when Jacobsen has his shirt tugged in the area with the referee in a clear position to see. Grant gets as angry as a wannabe undertaker can and describes it as “farcical”.

We’re still bottom but a point closer to Wolves, Wigan and Blackburn. Fact is though we’ve only won out of 11 and today was surely the chance to change our season.

Still, on the positive side Dave Sullivan has used his legendary diplomatic skills to smooth things over with Carson Yeung and is meeting him for dinner. Forget that bloke in the China — the Nobel Peace Prize will soon be arriving in Chigwell.

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