Wednesday, September 26

We couldn't defend a fish supper…

West Ham 1 Wigan 4 (Capital One Cup)

It’s chaos in Ken’s as I forget to claim my toasted cheese sandwich while talking to Mike about his new pop-up comedy club (not known as West Ham United) earning a blast from Carol and Billy. And then it’s chaos on the streets outside the East Stand as half the season ticket cards haven’t been uploaded. My card works but Fraser has to go to the ticket office to get a paper ticket. Lisa is with us, receiving reports from Crawley versus Swansea from Matt Van Percy.

Big Sam makes nine changes from the side against Sunderland giving starts to Spence, Potts and Hall. Apart from Al Habsi it’s a Wigan reserve side too. It all starts well for the Irons as McArthur slices the ball straight to Maiga who scores with a confident finish after seven minutes.

But then we let in three before half-time. McManaman crosses from the left and £6m Argentine striker Boselli beats Tomkins to the ball to prod home. Centre back Ramis is allowed to stroll through from the half way line without being challenged, Potts backs off, and Ramis shoots home from the edge of the box. Boselli then beats West Ham’s feeble offside trap and chips over Henderson.

Hall shoots just wide before the interval, but Wigan’s passing game is much better than ours — a sign of just what a good manager Martinez is.

Fraser says I Get Around, revealing he’s seen the Beach Boys the previous night. Wouldn’t it be Nice if we could score, I suggest.

Sam moves Potts to left back and McCartney to centre back and our performance improves slightly in the second half. Though it’s a mystery why we don’t have any first team players on the bench to rescue a game like this. Hall hits the bar, Spence wins the match of the match award for some good runs forward. Big Sam brings on endless left-sided players in Taylor and Fanimo but no-one will pass to Jarvis, who makes semaphore signals on the flank without effect. The game's settled on 84 minutes. Gary O’Neil goes down holding his knee but the ref fails to stop play and Wigan win a penalty when Henderson brings down McArthur. Dylan Tombides gets ten minutes of action on his debut but has no time to make any impact in a capitulating side.

The Wigan fans cheer at the final whistle and head off for their taxi. It’s not a great way for Mark Noble to celebrate signing his new contract. Fraser says it’s the most indefensible thing he’s seen since Jeremy Vine danced on Strictly. At least we get a seat in the Black Lion afterwards.

“We couldn’t defend a fish supper,” says Big Sam. Though why would you want to defend a fish supper? He continues with an honest analysis: “There were howling errors from our defenders in all four goals, it was comical. All the good work we might have done with the ball meant nothing in the end because out of possession we were just rubbish. It was an embarrassing defeat. They can't come knocking on my door about not playing now. They've got to take responsibility for their performance. They should have given me a lot more value for my money than they did."

With experienced players like Noble, Jarvis, Tomkins, McCartney, Vaz Te and Maiga in the side we should have done much better. A worrying sign that we don’t have the strength in depth of Wigan. Sam needs to get that fish supper down to Chadwell Heath, put it on the goaline and instruct his charges how to defend it.

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