West Ham musings by Pete May, author of Hammers in the Heart, West Ham:Irons in the Soul, Flying So High:West Ham's Cup Finals and Goodbye to Boleyn
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.
JENKS AT THE DOUBLE
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.
ONE GINGER PELE
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
“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