Tuesday, October 2

He scores when he wants…

Queens Park Rangers 1 West Ham United 2

Big Joe, Mike and myself arrive at Loftus Road in time to purchase QPR’s 3D programme, which minus 3D glasses is pretty useless, just a prog full of slightly fuzzy images. Inside the School End we discover that our £43 seats offer six inches width and an intimate knowledge of the person wedged beside you. Thankfully it isn’t Stevie Bacon.

The ground is tiny compared to Upton Park and QPR can’t even fill all their stands. The packed West Ham end immediately get stuck into our ex goalkeeper with a chorus of “Robert Green… Can you see us from the bench?”

QPR have a reserve defence but a decent strike force in Zamora and the white-haired Cisse, who immediately gets a chant of “he’s got birdshit on his head!” Surprisingly, Kieron Dyer is injured.

West Ham take the lead after three minutes. Vaz Te gets to the byline and finds Nolan, who scuffs his shot up in the air. It turns into a great cross for Jarvis who drifts in on the left side of goal to direct a header past Cesar.

“One nil to the Cockney Boys!’ is followed by “Just like the Emirates… we'll sing on our own!” and “Robert Green… he sits on the bench!”

West Ham look quicker to everything. The excellent Diame has a shot deflected inches wide and Noble is having one of his best ever games for West Ham.

Wright-Phillips troubles O’Brien and has a few dangerous crosses for QPR. After Wright=Phillips wins a free kick, Reid is down for ages having been punched by Jussi in a goalmouth melee. Tomkins comes on to partner Collins and O'Brien is injured too, replaced by McCartney.

On 35 minutes we go two up. There’s an almighty scramble in the box and Tomkins swivels well to swing in a cross from the right. Vaz Te, who has a lean and hungry look, finishes with an imperious flick of his boot past Cesar. “He scores when he wants!” erupts from the Irons end.

“Greeno Greeno what’s the score!” is directed at the bench. Followed by “You should have stayed with a big club!”

No-one can quite believe it. Cisse has a volley tipped over by Jaaskelainen, but it can’t stop the WHU jukebox of “Oh Christian Dailly…” and “My name is Ludek Miklosko!”

Zamora gets a nostalgic version of "He came from White Hart Lane…" and then "We love Bobby more than you!" is chanted at the Rangers fans.

West Ham take the game to QPR early in the second half, looking for a third. Nolan finds Diame on the right of the box and Cesar makes a fine save from his volley.

Mark Hughes brings on Adel Taarabt, who is wearing gloves on a humid night and the Moroccan brings Rangers right back into it with a brilliant dipping shot from outside the area. Not much anyone can do about that. QPR are inspired by this and Granero has a shot palmed away by Jussi.

To Allardyce and the side’s credit, West Ham keep going forward searching for the third. Nolan finds Cole with a perfect through ball and Carlton Cole pulls a great chance wide. He’s worked hard defensively tonight, but time and injuries appear to be catching up with Carlton.

Meanwhile referee Mark Clattenburg has gone on a yellow card spree booking a record eight West Ham players and two from QPR, while sub Diakete is sent off after just twenty minutes on the pitch for a second booking when he brings down Demel. It’s not even a dirty game, keenly contested but no really bad tackles. Jaaskelainen and Tomkins are booked for timewasting towards the end and we wonder if he’s going to book someone in the crowd for looking at him in a funny manner.

Andy Carroll comes on for Cole and although short of match fitness brings other people into the game and lays the ball off well. From a Jarvis cross Carroll knocks it back to Vaz Te on the edge of the area. His volley is tipped on to the bar by Cesar.

It’s a thrilling game, with Jarvis and sub McCartney making several surges down the left wing and at the other end Faurlin has a shot partied by Jaaskelainen. Collins gets in some fine blocks throughout the match. Clattenburg opts for six minutes of added time, presumably for the time it’s taken to card everyone. Why not just book Demel, Vaz Te and Carroll too, just to complete the set? And what an oversight letting O’Brien and Reid go off injured without first carding them.

“West Ham till I die!” sees the side through a nerve-wracking six minutes and we get three points that will be vital at the end of the season. Poor old Robert Green warms down after a tough session of bench warming.“Bubbles” and “Tottenham Hotspur we’re coming for you!” echoes round White City tube as we leave. At Baker Street in The Volunteer Mike and myself enjoy an apt pint of Redemption. It’s been a very encouraging night. Diame and Noble have dominated midfield, Nolan has got tackles in too, Jarvis has been excellent on the left, until Carroll came on we played mainly on the floor and we should have won by more. Not bad for a newly promoted side. Though the fans who started singing “We’re all going on a European tour!’” might have been stretching it a bit...

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