West Ham musings by Pete May, author of Hammers in the Heart, West Ham:Irons in the Soul, Flying So High:West Ham's Cup Finals and Goodbye to Boleyn
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
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.
OH NO, MO DIAME
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.
THIS COULD BE HEAVEN OR THIS COULD BE HULL
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.
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.