Sunday, May 3

Noble exacts penalty against ten-man Burnley

Celebrating Nobes' pen…
West Ham 1 Burnley 0

It’s into the large queue at Ken’s Café with my kids-for-a-quid daughter Nell, who usually brings us good fortune. Nigel uses all his experience to gatecrash my order with a job lot order including his bacon, egg and and chips and Michael the Whovian’s big breakfast with mushrooms added.

Carol reveals the café will keep going for a year after West Ham move as she feels there will still be Hammers making a pilgrimage to Ken’s. Matt's wearing his lucky Dukla Prague away kit and gleefully out-trivias Nigel with his oldest league ground in the country fact.

We have plenty of time to study our retro 1965-themed programmes as there’s a run on chips and we finally eat at 2.45pm. Michael even gives Carol a cheeky kiss as we leave after being chastised for some mystery misdemeanour.

Fan in lucky Dukla Prague away shirt
We’ve missed a generous minute’s applause before the game in memory or Rio Ferdinand’s wife Rebecca, but do arrive for the kick-off. Cresswell gets in a great early cross that Valencia should surely score from, only Enner appears to misjudge the flight of the ball. There’s a warning from Burnley though as returning ex-Hammer Matt Taylor gets in a decent cross from the left and Danny Ings heads over when earlier this season he might have scored. “Ings can only get better…” I suggest.

The work rate looks higher than the Stoke game, with Amalfitano an improvement on Jarvis and Nolan raising the crowd with some tackling back and decent touches.

Twenty-four minutes in Reece Burke finds Enner Valencia on the left, who does well to accelerate past Trippier and slips in Kouyate with a fine though ball. Cheik’s clever change of feet bamboozles Duff and the Burnley man gives away a clear penalty. But then Duff’s sent off as well, which looks very harsh. Referee Jon Moss should never have left Culture Club suggest Matt and Fraser, though surprisingly Nigel has actually seen Moss play and says Boy George is a rubbish singer.

“Oh no, West Ham have a penalty against a relegation-haunted side with ten men, what could possibly go wrong?” I mutter.

“It’s always difficult to play against ten men,” agrees Nigel.

Thankfully Noble strokes home the penalty, as Heaton dives the wrong way. A little close to the centre of goal but it does the job. Our first penalty scored this season.

Can West Ham get the crucial second against ten men and allow us to relax? No. Jenkinson finds Downing on the right and the winger’s good low cross is met by Valencia with a shot that produces a fi ne tip-over from Heaton. Enner should have kept his shot down though. Amalfitano cuts in from the right and has a booming shot brilliantly parried by Heaton. Burnley gain a rare corner and Barnes’ header forces Adrian to make a great save on the line to deflect the ball wide.

There’s another scare in the second half when Matt Taylor twists to get a shot in that Adrian tips away with his leg. When Taylor is substituted it’s nice to hear him get a big round of applause from the home fans.

Really it should be three or four nil by the end. We don’t play badly against a poor Burnley side, bar the finishing, and have an encouraging 22 shots in the second half, the most in the Premier League this season.

Burke does well again at the back and gets his second clean sheet, though at times his distribution out needs to improve, but that will come with experience. Good to se a young player finally coming through.

Amalfitano finds Cresswell who pulls back for Nolan to shoot too close to Heaton, who scoops the ball to Valencia, who is then blocked by desperate defending. Will Nolan be stuck on 99 goals forever?

Nene and Cole come on and we look better in attack. Cole heads a decent chance over with his first touch. Nene gets a good cross in towards CC and wins a corner. From the set piece Heaton palms the ball out to the edge of the box and Kouyate has a thunderous volley headed off the line by Shackell. Nene than produces a great dipping shot that Heaton tips over with an excellent save.

We survive added time for once and a win is what we desperately needed. I congratulate Nell on bringing us some much-needed luck and points.

After the game Fraser suggests we try the club hotel bar, which was open to all after the Stoke game. It isn’t today though, so it’s a foray into the Boleyn where the lads find their lager a little flat, rather like our post-Christmas season, but there is London Pride on sale. Nell asks why the carpets are permanently sticky? Not sure but it seems to an immutable law of physics where the Boleyn is concerned.

The Boleyn's finest customers
On the way back to the tube we spot Reece Burke driving away in a huge motor (he’s only 18!) and Carlton Cole signing autographs through the railings by the car park. And by the main entrance there’s 1965 legends Ron Boyce and Ken Brown signing programmes and posing for pictures. Good end to the day.

We’re on 47 points and if we can get to 50 that will represent progress. While the final game is at floundering Newcastle — could we be the team that sends them down? An exciting relegation struggle – but at least we’re not part of it.

PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 7; Jenkinson 6, Collins 6, Burke 6, Cresswell 6; Downing 6, Noble 6, Nolan 5 (Nene 6), Kouyate 6, Amalfitano 6; Valencia 6 (Cole 5).


kathy said...

Our first penalty scored this season... I think not! What about the 9 we scored against Everton???

mj said...

Imagine social media if Nolan had missed those chances and not Valencia! That said I thought we played well, needed the second goal though.

Pete May said...

Well, I guess I meant in the league Kathy! Was able to text my pal Nigel who wash;t at the Everton game that he'd only missed 21 goals… Good point MJ about Nolan and Valencia. Enner really doesn't score enough for a £12 million striker but looks effective cutting in from the wing.

Matt said...

The replica programme for the Cup Winners' Cup Final reveals that TSV goalkeeper Petar Radenkovic signed for them from Wormatia Worms. Never mind Dukla Prague, all I want for Christmas is a Wormatia Worms away kit...

Pete May said...

I'm sure Lisa is onto it already Matt…enjoyed the Double Diamond ad in the programme. Now there was a drink, none of this real ale nonsense.

Matt said...

Indeed, Pete, it is "The beer the men drink" so I drink while putting on my Yardley Shower Talc, which is a "man's talc", just in case anyone should think otherwise. It leaves me clean as a new penny.

In other news, did you see that among the tunes played before the match by the Royal Artillery Band was "Five Minutes With Carlton Cole Porter"...?

Andy Harding said...

Noble what a player a 50% penalty strike rate, and an average of 3.2 goals per season including penalties. doesn't out way the 6 goals given away through losing possession or giving away free kicks. Give him a six year contract on 50k a week