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
Sunday, October 26
We're not really here!
West Ham 2 Manchester City 1
Have to watch this one in the
Famous Cock Tavern in Upper Street as I’m supporting Her Indoors at her Islington Faces blog roadshow at the King’s Head Theatre at 3pm. Still, it’s not as if
I’ll miss an epic win or anything… and there is a Pearly King coming. The coffee and Doombar are good in the Cock, though
Michael Owen’s summarising makes Phil Neville sound as animated as Russell
City come at us for the first
ten minutes and Silva fires a free kick just over. But West Ham start to impose
themselves in midfield through Noble, Amalfitano and the excellent Song. A
straight free kick sees Sakho win a header and Valencia fire into the onrushing
Hart, who is winded making the save.
Incredibly, we score after 21
minutes. Song dissects the defence with a superb through ball. Valencia
outspeeds Mangala and crosses behind a defender for Amalfitano to tap home.
Amalfitano (who’s been booked already) leaps into the Bobby Moore stand
followed by Sakho. We’re not really here!
Dzeko flicks just over from a
City corner, but West Ham continue to really test the City defence. Sakho
crosses, a City defender heads it across the box and Downing heads over when he
probably should have got it on target. Just before the break Adrian saves with
his feet from Aguero and we go in 1-0 up.
Predictably City come at West
Ham at the start of the second half, though Kompany is lucky to escape a second
yellow for a push on Valencia. We almost score a second when Song performs a rabona
(I could only do a Ribena in my playing days) and Downing volleys wide.
Collins makes a brilliant
block from Aguero after Adrian’s save. Throughout the second half Winston Reid
proves he’s one of the best defenders in the Premier League. One tackle is
almost Moore-esque and we need to get him to sign an improved contract now.
West Ham have some luck as
Toure powers through, Aguero strikes the bar and Adrian makes a fine reaction
stop to deny Toure from the rebound.
It’s a great game. Sakho
chips over after a fine WHU move and then Toure curls a shot on to the bar for
SIX IN A ROW FOR SUPER SAKHO
On 75 minutes Cresswell plays
in a fantastic cross and Sakho outjumps the defence to power in a header. Hart
scoops it away but as the TV cameras prove, it’s a foot over the line. Diafra
runs to the Chicken Run and performs a silly dance. Blimey. Six in six games
for the bargain striker.
We can’t get too excited
though, as two minutes later Silva waltzes around three defenders to curl in a superb
goal. Two-one up against the Champions with 13 minutes left —what could
possibly go wrong?
Valencia is replaced by Cole while Kouyate has reinforced the
midfield as we try to hold out. Bubbles
rings around the ground as if it’s the 1970s. I nervously sip at my pint of
Doombar. Jovetic produces a fine tip over from Adrian. Lisa sends a text saying
simply “Aaaargh!” during added time. Sakho has to go off with a shoulder injury which is a worry and Nolan replaces him. There’s five minutes of added time.Jenkinson relieves the pressure with one last
run into the City box and the whistle blows. Fantastic result!
I KISSED A MANAGER AND I LIKED IT
“Hell of a performance that.
So different from last season,” texts Matt. “Rubbish game, you didn’t miss
much… apart from our best performance for years!” texts Nigel, helpfully. Fraser is (possibly) suggesting that he never doubted Big Sam and smoking a victory
cigar. Sixteen bloody points! We’re forth!
There’s still time for
Russell Brand to kiss Big Sam in the TV interview room, though Sam should
perhaps remember the example of Katy Perry and not be seduced by the
Grays lothario. What a day. Six-nil away at City seems a long time ago now.
PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 8;
Jenkinson 7, Collins 7, Reid 8, Cresswell 7; Amalfitano 7 (Kouyate 6), Noble 7,
Song 9, Downing 7; Sakho 8 (Nolan 5), Valencia 8 (Cole 6).