Saturday, April 28

We are third in the league...

West Ham 2 Hull City 1
In Ken’s Cafe at 11.30aMatt’s feeling pleased with himself as he has discovered a new trivia question: Which international footballer appeared on the same edition of Top of The Pops in 1982 singing two different songs. There’s a good turnout in Ken’s of Lisa, Matt, Nigel and Michael the Whovian, Jo, Mike and Iain, while Big Joe makes a late appearance as young Billy reveals that he personally counted Sam Allardyce spit out 47 piece of gum during the Brighton game.

While in the Sun Kevin Nolan reveals a fairly unreconstructed view of marriage, when he says he can take moaning fans because they’re blokes “who might be getting shit off their wives all week”.

We press with some urgency at the start as Vaz Te glances wide an easy header from Lansbury’s excellent cross. Taylor then hits the bar with a vicious cross.

But the game is played in very strange near-silent atmosphere as soon as the news come through that Southampton are one up after 16 minutes and then two up three minutes later.

Lansbury volleys a good chance over the bar and it seems unlikely that we’ll get four even if Coventry somehow score two. Still, we make the breakthrough when Carlton Cole heads in Taylor’s corner after 39 minutes.

Just as we’re saying that Cole couldn’t trap a bag of cement, Lansbury curls in a fine cross behind the Hull defence and CC chests the ball down superbly to prod home the second on 49 minutes for his 14th of the season.  

Many people attack Cole and he’s not the player he was two years ago, but they rather overlook the fact that he’s had a bad knee injury and still tries his best. He’s shown some bravery to play on and put himself about the way he has while never fully fit.

We’re just discussing if Carlton might get his first ever West Ham hat-trick when Allardyce pulls him off to save him for the play-offs. As the Saints are only 2-0 up at this stage it seems a premature decision as another 15 minutes to get a third would have really boosted Cole’s confidence.

The Saints go 4-0 up and with Baldock and Maynard on we fail woefully to play them any inviting balls. A warning comes when Green has to smother an Evans chance. Matt gets very cross about Noble playing the ball across his own penalty area and O’Neil’s fumble into touch, provoking an angry glare from the woman in front, who wishes she had a vicar’s son behind her. Sure enough, we concede a terrible goal as Demel makes a woeful back header and Evans heads over Green.

O’Neil’s volley brings a fantastic reaction save from Mannone, as two inflated condoms float on to the pitch and the fans in the Chicken Run do the Conga. Our old boy Richard Garcia thinks he’s equalized with a header only for it to be disallowed by the narrowest of offside decisions.

We hold on to win 2-1 and finish third on 86 points, two points ahead of Norwich’s total in second place last season. So it’s Cardiff in the play-offs now. Time to reboot the side for knock-out football and build on four wins and two draws in the final six games and one defeat in 18. In truth we never looked as convincing as Reading and Southampton and now we have to do it the hard way.                                                

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