Sunday, September 20

We're not really here!

Manchester City 1 West Ham 2 (two!)

After an afternoon at Rainham Marshes we manage to get the overground to Crouch Hill and I watch the first half from the Stapleton Tavern, which serves a nice pint of Black IPA.

Astonishingly West Ham go ahead after six minutes. We're playing calm possession football and a great 14-man passing move sees the ball come to Moses. He's given too much space on the edge of the box and fizzes a low drive into the corner. Maybe Hart should have done a little better, but still a great strike from Victor. So it looks like the usual routine win at a top five side. Or does it? Aguero rounds Adrian but shoots wide.

Meanwhile I'm receiving text updates from the Wellington pub, where train robber Buster Edwards used to drink. Matt, Lisa, Fraser, Gavin and Michael are gathered hoping to see West Ham pull off a similar heist. After hand an hour we gain a corner, with City claiming, incorrectly that the ball hadn't fully crossed the line. Reid wins a header from the corner, Obiang does well to keep the ball alive and it rebounds to Sakho who prods home from close range. OMG. We nearly make it three when a superb tackle from Mangala denies Sakho in the box.

Her Indoors has booked us tickets for a 7.30 performance of Lady Anna All At Sea at the Park Theatre. Matt texts to ask if I'll be above to see the end, and I reply that I might have to leave a few minutes before the whistle when the score is the usual 3-0.

All we need to do is not concede before halftime. Only we've reckoned without Aguero finding De Bruyne and the £55m signing powering a low shot home. Matt texts to say that my over-confident text has jinxed us. Though he's forgetting that this is a new form of West Ham where the old rules don't apply.

For the second half I move to the World's End and endure a long 45 minutes as City play well and dominate. But Winston Reid is absolutely immense, winning numerous tackles and making more clearances than any other Premier League defender this season. Bilic and the new signings have improved the side, but let's also credit Sam Allardyce for the improvement in Reid; he looked a liability under Avram Grant, but Allardyce saw his potential and helped him became the player he now is.

Adrian has an inspired game in goal and the pick of his saves are a one-on-one with Aguero and a tip over the bar from Otamendi's header. Tomkins isn't far behind in heroics and Jenkinson bravely lunges into tackles even though he's been injured. City are a bit unlucky too, when Toure's shot goes just past the post. West Ham create a couple of rare chances, with Payet finding Sakho who fires wide and Jelavic almost connects late on.

In the dying minutes Payet has a long-range effort saved, but it's then relentless City pressure at the Council House. I have to leave two minutes into added time to get to the theatre knowing that City will surely equalise, but telling myself that a point will still be a good result. But as I take my seat in the gallery the incredible news comes through that we've held out. 

Never in doubt. You wait decades for wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City and then three come along at once. If only I'd had a bet…  "This can't be happening…" texts my old pal Mark. We go second! What a start, what a season so far.


Anonymous said...

Move on from that clown hippo Ffs !!!
This has nothing to do with him !!!
This is west ham !!! We have our team back !!!!!!!
Why do some supporters not see how poor a coach the hippo was !!!
If you can't see the difference please find another team and never mention that tactical genius ever again.
It insults the west ham way which we life long hammers fans know exists !!!!
54 years of it I have witnessed , it beggars belief when the clown belittles the club and its history by insinuating
There is no west ham way and cops his ear !!!!
Have you no pride in you're team and club mate !!!!
Sad comment !!!!!!! Move on mate or follow you're icon ??

mj said...

I've only done 53 years watching and for lots of that I was fed up with us getting beat because of poor defending and desperate attempts to mirror the mid 60's team. Sam did improve the defence and the organisation. No doubt. And I don't like my team playing in the championship.

Pete May said...

Agree MJ, Allardyce gave Reid his chance and helped him develop into a better player. He had his faults as a manager but he did what he was hired to do and deserves at least a little credit. Yes,the time was right to move on and we can do without him always going on about the West Ham way, but if BS was such a clown it seems strange we managed to win at Man City with a number of players he signed such as Adrian, Jenkinson, Cresswell, Collins and Sakho or developed their game in the examples of Reid and Tomkins