Sunday, November 30

All's well that ends Cresswell

West Ham 1 Newcastle 0

In Ken’s Café Matt’s been on the night shift and is being revived by cheesy chips. Michael the Whovian is discussing Braintree trivia over fried bread, bacon and mushrooms, while Jo dispenses her wisdom about the daily papers. Nigel arrives late for his takeaway tea, fresh from a Procul Harum gig.

Within the East Stand we take a selfie for two Dutch fans from Delph, as Mark Noble receives massive applause for breaking West Ham’s Premier League appearance record.

Strangely, Big Sam has preferred Jarvis to Zarate. It’s a pretty dire first half. Perez twists past Collins to fire wide after three minutes and later flicks a shot wide. Downing has one tame shot saved and that’s it; neither goalkeeper is forced to make a proper save. Nigel starts to turn a whiter shade of pale as Fraser, fresh from his creative writing course, ponders on how to turn this dire material into a thriller.

“You’re not Geordie anymore!” the away fans sing at Andy Carroll.

“Andy Carroll — he left ’cos you’re shit!” suggest the Irons’ aficionados.

Tomkins makes one great tackle and our back line looks solid but that’s about it. Carroll gets a couple of decent flicks in, but Downing doesn’t look fully fit yet, Amalfitano has a poor game and Jarvis fails to get crosses in as both sides cancel each other out. We really miss Song in midfield and Valencia and Sakho running down the channels. The most exciting event of the first half is the announcement that Mr Moon is in the stadium.

At half-time we’re reduced to talking about our holidays. Matt announces that he’s taking a trip to the Galapagos Islands, as Nigel asks, “Do they play turtle football there?”

The second half begins with Cresswell blazing wildly over from 30 yards as Downing and Carroll await a pass.

“What did he do that for?” asks Matt.

”It’s not as if he’s got any sort of goalscoring record…” suggests Mystic May.

The game looks to be meandering towards a goalless draw as Kouyate swipes at a shot from the edge of the box on 56 minutes. He mishits the ball hopelessly, but it drifts through to Aaron Cresswell, who has continued his run, and the left-back expertly pokes past Elliot. The full-back peels away in front of the Bobby Moore Stand as the ground (and Mr Moon) erupts in relief.

“Always said he’d come good,” says Matt.

“Never in doubt!” I agree.

The half livens up. Newcastle bring on Cisse and Cabella, only for Sissoko to be sent off for first kicking the ball away and then kicking Andy Carroll. It’s always difficult to play against ten men…

Zarate arrives after 70 minutes and holds the ball up well in the box only to be let down by a lack of support. Then he fires in a stinging shot that Elliot does well to parry.

Collins and Tomkins stay strong at the back as the Vicar’s Son gets very irate as we don’t sub a visibly tiring Andy Carroll and our corners turn into Newcastle breaks.

Zarate almost breaks for the third but is let down by a lack of pace. But we hold on to grind out a very welcome three points. I forgo the Central to go on a Jack the Ripper Tour at Aldgate with Her Indoors, and at times it’s been murder today. Not the sort of good football we’ve been used to this season. but a different sort of character was needed today and we’ve stopped the Geordies’ run of six successive wins. More of the same required against West Brom and Swansea now.

Adrian 5; Jenkinson 6, Collins 7 Tomkins 7, Cresswell 7; Kouyate 6 (Nolan 5), Noble 6, Amalfitano 5, Jarvis 4 (Zarate 6), Downing 5; Carroll 5.


mj said...

Carroll looked better after Zarete came on but why did Zarate look knackered at the end?

Pete May said...

Yes, he couldn't run could he with that final chance. Or does he just lack pace? I think Carroll and Zarate best option while Sakho and Valencia out.