Monday, January 10

Up for the Cup

West Ham 2 Barnsley 0

It’s yet another yomp from West Ham tube as the tubes are down for the fourth time this season.

Inside Ken’s Cafe Carol reveals that she has no plans to relocate to Stratford as Ken is 75. Surely the Gullivan Brothers should make an offer she can’t refuse to become stadium caterer. She also has some interesting tales about the old days of David Gold’s mum’s shop in Green Street…

It’s just Fraser, who's won £470 on the horses that morning, Matt (unlike Grant and his scarf he’s remembered his lucky Dukla Prague away shirt) and myself in the East Sand today as Nigel is arranging two Cup Final breakfasts in Kew.

You wonder if playing Barnsley minus our stars is a worrying foretaste of life next season.

As predicted it’s basically a reserve side, with Boa Morte as emergency left back, but it’s good to see Green made captain. Even Winston Reid gets a game.

We start off well. Nouble has three shots saved by Luke Steele and then pulls off a great double save from Zavon Hines. We take the lead when Mark Noble’s shot rebounds to Jonathan Spector who finishes with some confidence.

“We never lose when Spector scores,” I assert with some confidence.

We fade badly in the second half, with Barnsley troubling Boa Morte on the left and Nouble missing a good chance. Hines looks shot but at least completes 90 minutes, a good landmark on his comeback. Late on Boa Morte pulls the ball back well for Barrera and then Hines to have shots well saved by Steele.

Barnsley pass the ball confidently and in stoppage time Hamill thumps the bar. The ball goes straight downfield to sub Freddie Piquionne who beats his man and thumps the ball into the net with some confidence.

Job done and a reasonably productive exercise. Specs has another goal. Reid hasn’t been bad, Tomkins has recovered some confidence and Nouble shows promise. Although Faubert still can’t cross and Boa Morte looks an accident waiting to happen at left back.

Best result of the day is finding a Weatherspoon's pub in Upton Lane that serves fine Suffolk Ale for West Ham's bunch of walkers.

Now for the game that really matters on Tuesday night.

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