Sunday, October 18

Lanzini leaves Hammers feeling glad all over…

Jenks celebrates his goal with WHU fans
Crystal Palace 1 West Ham United 3

It’s off to London Bridge to meet Matt and Lisa for our trip to Norwood Junction. Their choice of pre-match nosh comes from a website of posh cafes near football grounds, so we head to Coffee Craft located in the Grade II listed Victorian Stanley Halls in Norwood. The portraits, armchairs and bone china can’t quite match Kenneth’s Cafe in Green Street, though the flat white coffee, hummus and pitta, cheese and tomato paninis and butterfly cakes almost surpass Carol’s egg, chips and beans.

Inside the concourse of the Arthur Wait stand there are hearty choruses of “One man and his dog couldn’t carry Lampard!” Then we watch the pre-match eagle handler and the Crystals feeling Glad All Over. Pleasingly, Palace have splashed out on plastic seats to replace the ancient wooden artefacts we sat on last season.

West Ham attack from the kick-off. Noble finds Lanzini with a fine ball to the left wing and Manuel’s dribble to the byline sees Payet scuff what should be the opening goal. Encouraged by this, the West Ham fans break into a chorus of “My name is Ludek Miklosko…” There’s also a new song about Dimitri Payet being Slaven’s man and better than Zidane. Lanzini looks bright in midfield and we’re playing some nice passing football.

West Ham take the lead on 22 minutes. Payet cuts inside to find Victor Moses, who plays a perfect through ball to Jenkinson, who has ghosted past the sleeping Zaha. Carl finishes like Michael Owen (at least according to Garth Crooks) for his second goal in successive games. We’re splashed with beer and jumping blokes as Jenks runs towards us. In the ensuing goal celebration Lisa suffers a celebratory injury, as her glasses are bumped and cut her nose. She’s shed blood for the claret and blue cause. Just as we’re wondering why Mark Clattenburg hasn’t stopped play for Lisa to receive treatment, the ball goes down the other end and Jenkinson upends Gayle. The penalty has to be taken twice due to encroachment in the area, but Cabaye scores both times. The Palace Ultras start to chant their silly song.

West Ham are offered more hope of a win shortly before the break when Clattenburg books Gayle for a second time after his lunge on Kouyate. Still, it’s always difficult to play against ten men, particularly if you’re West Ham.

The second half sees solid West Ham pressure as Palace sit back with two banks of four and Sakho sends a header against the outside of a post. Palace have the pace of Sako and Bolasie up front on the break though and the returning James Collins has an excellent game, repeatedly nicking the ball off them. When he goes down after taking a football in the goolies but recovers to make a tackle he earns a worthy chorus of “There’s only one Ginger Pele!”

A lot of West Ham passes from Kouyate and Noble go astray though and even Payet plays his share of bad balls as we struggle to get through. Kouyate does make one great run down the left only to play a poor ball to Sakho and a wonderful dribble from Lanzini ends when he is tackled in the box. On come Big Andy Carroll, Zarate and Jelavic.

Carroll has one decent shot over the bar but often drifts too far back to receive the ball while Zarate shoots ineffectually wide. Mystic Matt suggests we should take the tiring Lanzini off. It looks like the game is drifting towards a draw until the 88th minute. Zarate at last manages to get in an excellent cross; Andy Carroll heads back expertly across the box, Jelavic and a defender scuffle for and miss the ball but Lanzini arrives to shoot home. The young Argentine midfielder deserves the goal and more mayhem ensues in the Arthur Wait Stand. Bringing Carroll on from a very strong bench has changed the game.

The Craft Cafe at Stanley Halls
Can we hold on? There’s one more tackle from Collins to thwart Bolasie and with four minutes of added time played West Ham break again. Lanzini plays another great ball through to Dimitri Payet who casually chips the ball over Hennessey. A classy finish and the French wizard then runs to the corner flag to deliver a salute to the Palace fans who are now feeling bad all over.

“Another 23 points and we’re safe!” suggests someone on the very slow ‘fast’ train back to London Bridge. Matt's even had some twitter banter going with Palace-suporting comedian Mark Steel. We retreat to the Eaglet in Camden Town, where we enjoy pints of Betty Stoggs’ Cornish ale before I attend Martha's Gig, compered by John Hegley at Camden Girls' School. In the Eaglet there are candles on the table and Lisa sits in front of a portrait of the Mona Lisa — it’s almost like being in the Central. A good away day for the travelling Irons. We’ve stayed patient and for once managed to beat a team down to ten men. We go fourth. Unbeaten away from home in five games now; this is heady stuff.

PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 6; Jenkinson 7, Tomkins 7, Collins 8, Cresswell 6; Moses 7 (Zarate 6), Noble 6 (Carroll 7), Kouyate 7, Payet 8, Lanzini 9; Sakho 6 (Jelavic 5).


matt said...

For the first time ever I think some of your marks are too low, certainly for the Ginger Pele. Also I don't think you need that apostrophe in the picture caption. And sources who wish to remain anonymous as they don't want the world to know they are massive fans of someone called Billy Ray Cyrus (Milly's dad) say the new Payet song is based on his Achy Breaky Heart ("I just don't think you understand"...)

Pete May said...

Blimey, never thought you'd say that! I gave everyone from 6 to 8. Perhaps Carroll should be 7 and might change that on reflection for making the winner, though some lower marks reflect the fact we struggled to break them down most of the second half. Fair point about the apostrophe. I will check out Achy Breaky Heart… I understand Nigel prefers the Megadeth version though.

Pete May said...

OK Matt, rather than let to be said I'm like rugby ref Joubert, I'll admit my mistake and I've upped some players by a point each

matt said...

In the spirit of apologising for mistakes, it is Miley, not Milly, apparently. And don't tell anyone, but I thought Clattenburg had almost a half decent game...There, I've said it.

Pete May said...

I think we had both better run off the pitch very quickly…