Sunday, December 7

Barcelona, we're coming for you!

West Ham 3 Swansea City 1

Ken’s Café is covered in seasonal tinsel as myself, daughter Lola and her pal Fernanda dine on isotonic sausage, egg, chips and beans. We move on to the Newham Bookshop where Vivien tells us that Russell Brand will be dropping in to sign copies of his book Revolution, presumably a tribute to Big Sam’s re-invention of West Ham this season.

Matt is in the Galapagos Islands watching turtle football, while Nigel is away at a family event. So it’s down to the diehard contingent of Michael the Whovian, fresh from William Russell’s 90th birthday party, Fraser and the returning prodigal Iron, The Gav.

West Ham dominate the first 15 minutes but then Swansea score with their first break. Montero makes speedy progress down the left and pulls the ball back for Bony to calmly slot home. Bony — whom West Ham could have signed instead of Andy Carroll — runs over to our corner to do a silly dance. Soon the Swansea fans are breaking into a chorus of Land of my Fathers.

West Ham wobble a little as Adrian has to punch away another effort from Bony after good work by Sigurdsson.

But slowly we re-impose ourselves on the game as Nolan fires wide from Jenkinson’s cross and then has an effort saved by Fabianski. Alex Song is making a difference controlling the midfield, though Valencia rarely connects with Carroll and doesn’t look fully fit yet.

The Irons equalise as Jenkinson fires in an inviting cross. Andy Carroll gets a run on the ball and smacks home a sensational header. Good moment for the big man after all those hours of toil in Billi’s yoga studio.

West Ham start the second half with more pressure. Sakho, on for Valencia at half time, looks hungry and makes a difference rolling in an inviting cross that is cleared for a corner. .  A swift Swansea break sees Bony rattle the bar. But on 66 minutes Carroll meets Downing’s corner with another fine header that Britton can’t clear off the line. 2-1 to the Cockney Boys.
After robbing Williams he hits the post with a great effort and we wonder if it might prove costly. Then Sakho appears to handball on the left of the box, but forces his way through to hit the post again as Fabianski rushes out. There’s some contact with Sakho, though it doesn’t look a sending off as there’s a covering defender. But the ref red cards Fabianski and awards a retrospective free kick to West Ham on the edge of the box.

As ever we struggle slightly against ten men and a substitute goalkeeper. O’Brien and then Collins shore up the back line. Michael leaves with five minutes to go, as he has to get to the British Film Institute to watch the earliest British science fiction film ever made. “Don’t miss a goal!” we warn.

Sure enough, Carroll wins another aerial challenge allowing Sakho to race through the middle and thump a half-volley past the keeper. Great goal.

“Diafra Sakho! He scores when he wants!” salutes the Bobby Moore Stand. Then come chants of  “We’re gonna win the league! and “Barcelona we’re coming for you!”

“Typical,” texts Michael. Matt and Lisa are presumably dancing in the streets of Galapagos as West Ham win this Darwinian battle of life. Nell and her friend Fernanda (soon to move to Stratford and surely a new Hammers convert) chant, “We want more! Make it four!”

A chorus of Bubbles starts in the corner of the Alpari and carries on round the whole ground. We survive six minutes of added time and it’s three wins in a week. We go above Southampton and Man United. We’re THIRD! It’s starting to feel like this is going to be a special season.

TEAM RATINGS: Adrian 6; Jenkinson 7 (O’Brien 5), Reid 7, Tomkins 6, Cresswell 6; Nolan 6, Kouyate 6 (Collins 5), Song 7, Downing 6; Valencia 5 (Sakho 8), Carroll 8.


Chrissy Brand said...

Amazed and delighted at the turnaround this season - must be the 1985-86ish kit that has done it... plus listening to the fans, attacking more and some shrewd Big Sam signings. I never doubted him for a minute (ahem...)

Pete May said...

Yes it's the kit! Summer talks appear to have been a watershed and Allardyce has proved that with better players he can entertain. Stop the season now!

mj said...

Because it's Everton away were presumably out of the cup. But dare I mention the African cup?!

Anonymous said...


Pete May said...

Yes, Everton is not good MJ.

But we've done ok without several players in the last three games so hopefully we can survive the African Cup month. But losing Sakho and Song would be a blow.