Sunday, April 20

Armero and a leg costs Hammers

West Ham 0 Crystal Palace 1

Ken’s Café is deserted in the sun as most fans opt for the pub. It’s down to Matt and Michael the Whovian with Nigel and Fraser appearing at the ground. My egg, chips and beans is to prove better than the game.

The best part of the game is the minute’s applause for Dylan Tombides after his brother and dad place his shirt on the centre circle. The applause in the 38th minute is another powerful moment.

Demel is sick so McCartney has to play at right back. The game begins with a curious end of season feel to it, which is unprofessional on West Ham’s part, as we could yet go down. Nigel suggests the game will be settled by one goal. Though Mystic Morris’ calculator also predicts we will stay up on 38 points.

Palace get eight defenders behind the ball whenever we attack, are well organised and difficult to break down. Bolasie looks dangerous against the out-of-position McCartney and Palace look the likelier side to score. Carroll clears off the line and Dann has a header deflected over the bar.

West Ham have a much better spell before time and start to play with more urgency. Diame has a fine shot tipped over. Carroll and Nolan combine to set in Diame who shoots at Speroni’s legs. Seconds later Downing gets in a good cross and Carroll’s header is saved one-handed by Speroni.

Downing and Jarvis switch wings and after a decent cress from Downing (who fluffs as many as he gets right) Carroll has a shot blocked when he might have connected better.

Then it all goes wrong in the 59th minute as Jerome wins a penalty after a rash lunge by Armero. Jedinak converts and the Palace fans'  sing “There’s only one Tony Pulis!”
The West Ham players lose confidence and have no Plan B beyond aiming for Carroll. Our need for a creative number ten looks ever more pressing. The Vicar’s Son next to me gets crosser and Fraser wants to sack Allardyce right now. Big Sam subs Jarvis, who has been doing better than Downing, and the move is greeted by chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing!” 

Sub Joe Cole drags a shot wide and the game peters out and ends with Palace’s fifth successive win. Though Diame has a good final ten minutes. Poor match and not good enough from West Ham.

At least I miss the Central’s non-existent craft beer range to go and see Bomber’s Moon at the Park Theatre starring the great James Bolam and Michael Moon out of EastEnders, which is more entertaining than the game.

The death of Dylan Tombides puts football in perspective, but even so, West Ham could easily lose their last six games. No room for complacency at all at West Brom.

TEAM RATINGS: Adrian 5, McCartney 4, Tomkins 5, Reid 5, Armero 4; Jarvis 5, Diame 6, Nolan 5, Noble 5, Downing 5, Carroll 5.

No comments: