Tuesday, September 16

Valencia's wonder strike illuminates the KC as Hammers force point

Hull City 2 West Ham 2

It’s off to the Grafton Arms in Victoria, with Matt, Lisa and Fraser. The Goons used to write their scripts in the room upstairs and we wonder how much comedy there might be at the KC. Particularly as Big Sam seems to have had a funny turn and has selected two strikers in Sakho and Valencia. 

The Grafton has five real ales in stock and a pint of Fanny’s Bramble cider for Fraser. Matt and Lisa have been to see Kate Bush and report a fight in the disabled enclosure. Always knew those Kate Bush fans were troublemakers. Nigel checks in from Edinburgh, where he’s holed up in a sports bar with 11 screens drinking 'Irons-Bru', fending off nationalists and trying to decide whether to vote yes or no to West Ham.

Not too much happens in the first 30 minutes. Sakho and Demel make inroads down the right but are let down by some average crossing. The best chance is created by West Ham when Downing crosses from the let, Valencia gets a good header back across the box and McGregor makes a fine one-handed save to stop Sakho’s header.

It all goes wrong when I go to the bar. Hull cross and Tomkins, although close to Hernandez, doesn’t stop him connecting with a great header that flies into the corner. We wobble after that, as Hernandez hits the bar with a great effort, and Jelavic nods home only to be correctly ruled offside.

Half-time arrives with Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville drawing more arrows and circles than in a noughts and crosses game on their new video toy. James Tomkins is then covered in a circular tube that looks like some sort of time vortex device from Doctor Who.

West Ham really come at Hull City in the second half and dominate the first five minutes. Just as we’re moaning that West Ham never score from crosses after Demel makes the wrong choice, we prove we don’t need too. Enner Valencia drifts across the pitch and with Michael Dawson in front of him it looks as if there’s no danger. But somehow the Ecuadorian striker fires in an unstoppable 25-yard wonder shot that travels at 61.2 mph into the top corner before McGregor can move. That’s a £12 million moment of class.

West Ham look likely to get a second after that as Reid just fails to connect with a header in front of goal and Song replaces Zarate. But we contrive to conceive from our own throw-in after 64 minutes. Creswell throws it inside rather than down the line and Kouyate is muscled off the ball by the man he replaced, Mo Diame. Tomkins backs off as Diame advances and our former midfielder produces a fantastic finish into the corner. “I bet he doesn’t score again for two months, “ rues Matt. To give Diame a little credit, he doesn’t appear to celebrate.

It looks like another defeat but the lads produce some character and come straight back three minutes later. Downing clips a fine ball inside to Sakho on the right who sends in a hard low cross. McGregor doesn’t collect and the ball spins off Curtis Davies and over the line.

From then on the game resembles an end-to-end Sunday league match as both sides keep giving the ball away. In the 94th minute West Ham almost win it. Downing gets in a cross from the right and Valencia heads downwards, with the ball bouncing on to Dawson’s chest and then on to the bar. Doh!

Still, it’s been an entertaining game, even if both of Hull’s goals have come from defensive errors. We need to tighten up but I’d rather have this than playing for a 0-0. Valencia and Sakho look promising up front and even if if Enner does take on too many dribbles after his goal, if he can produce more moments like his wonder goal we might finally have the striker we need.


Master Steve said...

Quite a pleasant change, not being completely furious while watching the Hammers. Great goal, very special.

But... don't you normally have to score a second goal before they'll allow you to score a third? Just saying, like.

Pete May said...

Good point Master Steve, written in haste and acute shock at seeing a wonder goal. Have now amended!