Sunday, September 25

Noble Irons see off a nice bit of Posh

West Ham 1 Peterborough 0

“We’ve never lost to Peterborough in two matches,” says Matt in Ken’s Café. “There’s always a first time!’ suggests someone in the queue.

It’s a good turnout in Ken’s soccer salon. My daughters are with me as it’s a free Academy members' game (well, not really free as you pay £25 for membership, as the astute Nell points out), plus Nigel, Iain, Jo and her double burger-eating grandson, Big Jo and Big Phill.

Early doors Peterborough almost catch the Hammers cold from a corner, as Green produces a fine reaction save from Rowe’s header.

West Ham take the lead after 10 minutes when Lansbury is pushed in the back by Lee Frecklington. Noble strokes home the penalty. Nigel speaks of “a cricket score” and how CQ is so confident of the result she doesn’t need to check it.

But still we look laboured in the first half, with Nolan and Taylor hardly involved as Peterborough play some nice stuff in the middle. Cole curls one effort a foot wide, Gustav Faubert is busy and after a nice backheel from the Frenchman, Lansbury curls one just over.

After the break Cole heads wide but then Borough dominate the midfield through Boyd and our old-boy Grant McCann. “He played in the 7-1 defeat at Blackburn,” says Matt of McCann’s short Hammers career.

Tomlin should have done better but slices a shot as the Posh slice through our midfield. You wonder why we have to play one striker at home against Peterborough. And why Baldock is on the bench. Mercifully Big Sam brings on Carew for Cole, to the delight of the Norwegian contingent behind us who say he’s bigger then me and you, and Bentley for Faubert.

The lime-booted Carew makes a difference, and is certainly difficult to shake off the ball. Bentley has one fine moment when he cuts inside a defender and produces a fine full-stretch save from Paul Jones.

The one positive is that Amdy Faye, in for the injured Tomkins, marshalls the defence well and makes a great sliding tackle on the left to deny a Posh break. Big Sam later approvingly describes him as “a man mountain”.

We wonder if Scott Parker will win man of the match. Ah, no it’s the unimaginative choice of Mark Noble, when it should have gone to Faye or Reid.

Matt has to leave early to catch the train to Liverpool. In the four added minutes we gain a series of corners and play keep-ball rather than go for a second.

“I know the result is important but it’s embarrassing to be keeping it in the corners against Peterborough,” suggests Nigel. “Still, Pardew’s initial team might have lost this.”

Allardyce even brings on Tomkins for Taylor to reinforce the defence.

We survive one final free kick and mercifully it’s over. A good result, but an unconvincing performance.

We amuse ourselves by texting part-time Matt with “Typical West Ham” and “Big Sam out”. This cunning ruse has him believing we’ve conceded an equaliser all the way to Euston.

Still, we go up to fourth, and are unbeaten in seven matches, but we’ll need to play much better against Ipswich. The defence was pleasingly solid, but this side still looks like it needs some pace and a natural finisher.

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