Wednesday, March 21

Respecting the point (again)

West Ham 1 Middlesbrough 1

In Ken’s Café Nigel’s just got on Twitter and looks very pleased with himself, though strangely he can’t find the Ken’s Café Twitter account, which would presumably consist of endless tweets of “Fifty nine!!!! Who’s got fifty nine???”. Rumour has it he may soon prefer watching the game exclusively on Twitter.

Not a lot happens in the first half, though it’s an improvement on Doncaster. Both sides move the ball quickly without creating many chances, though we have a clear penalty for handball by Bates turned down. Our five men at the back look secure but Maynard hardly gets a chance and Carlton has one of his more frustrating games up front.

Our half time entertainment is provided by Nigel producing a crayfish and rocket sandwich to a chorus of “middle class football fans, eh?”

The crowd does well to get behind the side with some choruses of Bubbles at the start of the second half. 

“Drawing drawing West Ham…” mutters Mystic May, just as we take the lead on 67 minutes. Faye’s header takes a deflection of Bennett and loops high over the keeper. It’s lucky but he got his head on the ball and made it happen. Faye is the 24th West Ham player to score this season, which is impressive, if only our strikers could score too.

The Bobby Moore Stand sing “How shit must you be we’re winning at home!” which I’d have to agree with Big Sam is too negative.

Big Sam replaces Cole with Carew, a strange decision as his legs appear to have gone, and Maynard with Collison.

“That’s a very Allardyce idea. Take off a big man and bring on a bigger man,” says Nigel.

“It’s like watching the Shard try to get on the end of a cross,” muses Matt in a surreal architectural metaphor as Carew lumbers into the box.

We should wrap the game up, when Tomkins’ header is turned onto the bar by Steele. Then after a t defensive howler Taylor lobs the ball over the keeper but places it past the post. It could be 3-0 by now.

Sure enough, on 84 minutes Bart Ogbecha cuts inside and fires home from the edge of the box. It’s a fine goal, in off the post, though should be just a consolation if Taylor had taken his chance.

Matt's attempts at logical positivism end with a torrent of 'f' and 'w' words aimed at our strikers after a bizarre game of head tennis in the Boro box comes to nothing. 

Baldock comes on after 87 minutes and looks pacy though misses a good headed chance. It’s strange that Morrison is left on the bench as we’re crying out for something unexpected in the final third.

Boro skim the bar late on and almost snatch an undeserved win. The final whistle goes to a chorus of boos from some members of the crowd, which I don’t like, but is understandable after five draws in a row.

We move into the back bar at the Black Lion where we respect the pint and drink Doom Bar, hoping it’s not a comment on our automatic promotion prospects. We try to imagine things that are slower than Carew, but can't. Gavin texts to say that we have not won a Tuesday night game for eight years. The Gav has left the dog at home and has left early to walk him, but unlike West Ham he probably won’t lose the lead.

We try to think positive. We’ve been a little unlucky tonight. Weirdly, nine games unbeaten is probably the best run we’ve had since we were last in the Championship.  If we draw our final nine games we should make the play-offs. We’ve respected the point – though perhaps Allardyce should start telling the players to respect three points too. 


Anonymous said...

There seems to be no spark at the moment, cole and collison look disinterested, maynard out of position. This sounds weird to say but have our results gone off since diop injured!!! We need to pass and move quicker than snails pace. Plat Baldock and Maynard from start and use SPEED!!!!

Pete May said...

Yep, no pace at all last night until Maynard came on and need our strikers closer together. Carew is certainly not the answer... and maybe Diop was what we needed to hold on to those 1-0 wins.

Phil Nichols said...

Come on Pete, it was absolutely awful. Allardyce is being shown up for the one trick pony he is. While we were winning we could all put up with his unique brand of football. Last night, we used Collins as some kind of weird quarterback, lumping aimless, hopeful balls forward. The passing was off and everything was so bloody slow, ponderous & utterly predictable. I agree lets use Baldock & Maynard in tandemn. Tomkins is not a midfielder & donet get me started on Nolan!

James Hunt said...

Couldn't understand the decision to bring Carew on, he's so slow it's embarrassing. I was in the Alpari lower last night and he was warming up right in front of me, he looked f*cked just jogging up & down for five mins.

As you say, why not give Morrison a go, the lack of creativity going forward is a real issue and there is no one else that has the confidence/ability to take players on and create a bit of space. If Morrison doesn't make the difference so be it but he isn't going to influence the result from the bench.

Pete May said...

Agree it was pretty awful Phil, though Boro aren't a bad side and we did draw. If we could win a couple that nine game unbeaten run might not look so bad. But as you say Tomkins isn't a midfielder and Collison might thrive if Nolan was dropped and the hoofing balls at Cole has to stop. And the honeymoon is definitely over for Allardyce from the Upton Park faithful..

North Bank Norman said...

Pete, you're being ridiculously optimistic and myopic. We are utter cack under Fat Sam. Phil Nichols is spot on. Allardyce IS a one trick pony - I just posted exactly the same comment to the West Ham email list - and his one trick is a con trick. We've conceded 13 late goals under this clown, and it's cost us eight points. Our nine game unbeaten run consists of SIX draws. It's fucking horrific. Nearly everyone is playing poorly and/or out of position, and no-one is justifying their reputation (Nolan? Fuck. Taylor? Collison? Cole? None of them are worth a wank this season). Even if he were to start Maynard and Baldock, one of them would be on the wing, and we'd still hoof the ball long in the vague hope that one of them would somehow manage to knock it down. Ironically the only striker we have who's any good at that is Piquionne. It's soul-destroying rubbish. That fat bastard has taken all the fun out of our football, and I fucking hate him for it.

Pete May said...

And I thought you liked Big Fat Sam! Yes, the football's been poor at Upton Park and Allardyce may be a one trick pony (though he argues he's not) but my point was that in third place with a game in hand and the best away record in the division all may not be lost in the promotion contest. We could be mid table like Leicester who have lots of expensive players and are way off the pace. It's often forgotten that Pardew's teams finished fourth and sixth and played some rubbish stuff too. We're stuck with BFS to the end of the season anyway. As you say, players are under-performing so the test is can Allardyce, if he's as good as he thinks, get something extra out of them in the final games. Ideally we'd go up and if Allardyce can't play decent football in the Premiership replace him with someone who can.

Phil Nichols said...

Dont hold back North Bank Norman. I agree Pete, we could still go up & our position could indeed be much worse. However,I can't help thinking we will have sold our soul to the devil to achieve promotion. Although not quite as much as those nice chaps from Man City bringing back Tevez when the going got tough. When he came on last night something inside me died a little.

Pete May said...

Yes Phil, so much for principles at City when they need points, though I guess Tevez has lost six months of his career through his own stupidity as some form of punishment. I worry about selling our soul too - can appreciate the going up by any means necessary argument as we're 70-odd million in debt, but can't see Allardyce lasting long-term unless he realises the fans want some style at home too.