Sunday, April 10

Northern exposure

Bolton 3 West Ham 0

Don't tell social services but we’ve left the kids outside Ladbroke’s on Turnpike Lane to watch the Grand National as the news comes through on the bookies' TV screen that West Ham are 3-0 down at Bolton.

Two horses die during the National and it seems that our defence is full of unseated riders and most of the side made no show.

It’s no big surprise. Nick Clegg has more chance of becoming the interns’ friend than we do of winning at the Reebok. Pards was sacked after we lost 4-0 there and a 1-0 defeat virtually ensured relegation under Glenn Roeder.

On Match of the Day I’m a little baffled why Grant — banned to the stands for two games— plays Tomkins at right-back and why O’Neil isn’t in the side. Three forwards is brave, but it leaves us outnumbered in midfield.

We’re 2-0 down at the break and Bolton have missed several other chances. While our only effort has seen Wayne Bridge tackled in the box as he prepares to shoot.

We’re a little unlucky with the first goal as it’s a great strike from the edge of the box by Dean Sturridge with no backlift. Green and Noble square up and have to be separated by Matthew Upson at this point. Though it was surely Upson who was more to blame for not closing down.

The second is the result of another good cross by Petrov and a free header from Lee, the smallest player on the pitch. Terrible marting in our defence again.

Bolton’s third comes soon after half time and Sturridge is given too much space in midfield before finishing with another crisp shot from the edge of the box. Is the Chelsea striker better than Torres? We certainly make him look so.

We improve a little with Twittering Carlton Cole on the pitch for the second half. CC forces a save with a header and Demba Ba hits the upright with a great effort, but it’s way too late.

Thrashed by Notlob. We’ve got to win our three home games against Villa, Blackburn and Sunderland to stay up, and hope for a result at Wigan. Draw at home to Villa next Saturday with likely defeats to come at Man City and Chelsea and it’s starting to look really dodgy for the Irons. Maybe a few more of our players need to fight each other.

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