Sunday, December 23

Two-one to the referee…

West Ham 1 Everton 2

Strange happenings in Ken’s Café as a customer knocks the Jubilee mirror off the wall (luckily it doesn’t break bringing West Ham a further seven years’ bad luck) and a fan dressed as a can of lager and a fan with a turkey on his head walk past.

Everton start off well in front of another sell-out crowd. Distin heads down and over from Baines’ free kick. Osman then heads in a corner getting in between Collins and Nolan. It looks a good goal but the linesman has spotted a faint push on Jussi, which is harsh.

To compound David Moyes’ anger Nolan finds Carlton Cole who turns inside Heitinga and fires an excellent low shot into the corner of the net. West Ham defend stoutly with hard man James Collins unaffected by an unpunished boot in the head from Anichebe.

There’s a live performance from the One Pound Fish Man at half time with Hammerhead dancing along and Harry Redknapp rumoured to be putting in an offer for this bloke Fish, whoever he plays for.

Second half, it’s all Everton early on. They look a quality side destined for the top six and Pienaar is outstanding all afternoon. Allardyce makes an unusual early, attacking substitution, taking off O’Neil for Maiga and leaving West Ham short of tacklers in midfield. Maiga loses the ball and then commits a foul. From the free kick Pienaar crosses and Anichebe gets in front of Collins to head home.

Matt is not full of seasonal good will towards Maiga — “He’s one of those players without a brain and now he’s given a goal away!”

Then comes the turning the point of the game after 66 minutes. Carlton Cole pursues a through ball with his leg in the air, as Baines rushes in and gets a boot in the body. It’s not deliberate and a yellow card at best, but referee Anthony Taylor is straight out with his red card to the dismay of both sets of players. A terrible decision.

“He’ll try and even it up now…” suggests Matt, sagely.

We now have no target man and after good work by Osman Pienaar and Jussi’s boot combine for a scruffy second for Everton. “Two one to the referee!” sing the crowd.

“Maybe we could bring the One Pound Fish Man on,” I suggest.

“Ah, but would there be a plaice for him,” suggests a floundering Nigel. Meanwhile Fraser is suffering from a tense nervous haddock and Michael the Whovian thinks we should stop talking pollocks.

There’s still time for Jelavic to miss a great chance. Nolan twice goes close for West Ham, having a volley deflected just wide from Maiga’s knock-down and then clean through on the left he toepokes a chance wide.

In added time Gibson goes in with a high challenge and referee Taylor duly sends him off, when again it’s only a yellow card offence. “You’re not fit to referee!” chant the home fans in the only recorded instance of West Ham fans not being happy to see an opposition player sent off.

We’ve come up against a good side today, but with Cole on the pitch West Ham might have nicked a point. Now we have to get points off Reading and Norwich or we’ll be dragged into the struggle at the bottom.

No comments: