Monday, January 31

It's Vic there!

West Ham 3 Notts Forest 2 (FA Cup)

Texts arrive announcing that it’s candlelight dining in Ken’s Café as there’s a power cut. The O’Brien clan from Essex, whom I’m meant to be meeting, are having a Maldon cockney knees-up and it’s the Spirit of the Blitz revisited, minus a special breakfast for young Scott.

It’s a war zone on the tubes too. For yet another game the tubes are down and then the Jubilee lines is closed because of a faulty train. So rather than brave 20,000 Hammers fans trying to get on the replacement rail service bus it’s a long march from Stratford down Upton Lane and Plashett Road.

1-0 UP, 2-1 DOWN
I just make the kick off and we score after four minutes. Jacobsen’s short corner finds Noble who skies a shot wide of goal only for Victor Obinna to react well and deflect it into the net. That’s shut up the Forest fans that occupy the whole of the Centenary stand.

We’re playing a core of first-teamers Jacobsen (back at last), Green, Piquionne, Noble and Obinna plus the squad players.

“That Dele Adebola is the ultimate journeyman striker. He’s useless, if he scores I’m giving up West Ham,” announces Matt.

Sure enough, Forest scythe through our right flank, Gabbidon and Reid are slow to react and Adebola prods the ball home. Taking his cue from Ian Holloway threatening to resign if Blackpool are fined for fielding a weakened side and then staying put, Matt remains resolutely in his seat.

It gets worse. Piquionne heads a corner towards his own net, Green tips the ball up and McGoldrick heads home. How could Nigel be missing this for a mini-break in New York?

We’re left to reflect on our loss to Birmingham. Matt and Lisa were the only fans in the Lucky Pub so clearly here was no quorum for it to exert its power. Plus his Dukla Prague away kit only works at live games and Fraser forgot to watch at home while wearing his red shoes.

Forest have been the better team since going behind. But now Victor’s racing down the right. He sends in a high hopeful cross that amazingly wafts over Campo and into the net. Brilliant!

Did he see Camp off his line? Erm, no, he later admits that it was a cross. Half-time and it’s 2-2.

For once we play better after the break. Has Grant actually said something decent to the lads? Sears has a shot tipped over and then Winston Reid is obviously pushed in the box and Obinna dispatches the penalty.

He celebrates his hat-trick with an understated quadruple somersault. If Peter Walton was reffing he’d probably send him off for gratuitous somersaulting.

For the rest of game Camp (could he make a double entendre side with Scheidt, Shittu, Doudou, Bent, Dicks and Cox?) atones for Victor’s second by saving excellently from fierce Piquionne and Barrera drives. Sears has a good game behind the front two, but hesitates twice when through and Camp saves well again in a one-on-one with Piq.

Amazingly we see out the four minutes of added time without too much trouble.

You wait all these years for a cup run and then two come along when you should be concentrating on staying up.

The transport-free mobs in the street resemble the scenes in Cairo, although we opt for a pint of Ruddles in the Captain’s Cabin rather than revolution. The Gav arrives, we discover we’ve drawn Burnley at home, we’ve passed on signing Andy Gray (still slimmer than Benni) up front and Matt has a question.

Matt asks us what would have happened on Tuesday for the first time in 40 years had the Blackpool game not been changed to Wednesday.

“It would have been a 7.30 kick-off,” he announces. “Not a lot of people know that.”

Only now it’s an 8pm ko and yet another save our season game… And Matt has another factoid: “The last time we beat Forest 3-2 in the FA Cup we got relegated.” Drat.


matt said...

A hat-trick for Obinna, and no Is Vic There reference? Has the world gone mad? I don't think his achievement has had enough credit. Another top factoid for you - number of WHU hat-tricks in the Premiership? Four - Cottee, two for goal machine Paul Kitson, and one by Marlon, which I think is our most recent one. I can remember Matty getting one v Wimbledon in the Championship, but unless I've missed something, that's just 5 in almost 20 years (in comparison Shearer got 11 in the Premier League).

Pete May said...

Ah, but have you noticed the headline?

Yes, we have a poor record of hat-tricks though I think Hartson got one against Sheff Wed when we won 5-1. And presumably Fraser has bet on a Carlton Cole hat-trick at 1000 to 1...

matt said...

Doh - missed the headline, hidden away at the top in bright orange. But I think it was Kitson who got the hat-trick v Sheff Wed, and Big Fat John the other 2. Of course back in the 80s we got tons of hat-tricks - even Alvin Martin...