|Foolish pre-match optimism before we meet our Waterloo|
It's off to the not-quite-so-lucky pub, The Hole In The Wall at Waterloo, for this one. Fraser and Gavin in flat caps, Matt, Lisa, and Nigel are all present. There's a fine selection of real ales at the bar and the Gold Rush and TEA are both splendid compared to the Central's beers. Matt, Nigel and The Gav reminisce about Hatfield band Babe Ruth, as featured on BBC4's Rock of the Seventies. Nigel's been to see Everton versus Aston Villa yesterday and Matt and Lisa have watched the WHU kids at Little Heath. The only problem is that we now have to watch a football match with West Ham Seniors.
Eriksen forces a good save from Adrian but it's fairly even early on, with West Ham forcing a few corners, until Spurs get their first after 23 minutes. There's a goalmouth melee and Harry Kane spins past Jenkinson too easily and fires into the roof of the net. It gets worse ten minutes later when Alderweireld loses Reid at a corner. Winston bumps into Sakho, Andy Carroll can't halt him either and the Spurs centre back heads number two. West Ham do hit the bar, with an acrobatic overhead kick from Kouyate, even though the ref should have flagged for offside. Matt insists he would have scored that one — at least in his dreams.
Alli heads against the bar and Kane slices wide when he should score while an Andy Carroll header is easily fielded by Lloris. Half-time arrives with much depression as The Gav and Fraser head outside for a cigar break. Scott Parker is on the TV and I suggest he'll be our man of the match again. The game's over after 50 minutes. Adrian plays a dangerous short ball out to Tomkins and James then passes straight to Eriksen. He finds Harry Kane who shoots home through Adrian. "I'll settle for a point now," suggests Nigel. And so much for Kane's goal drought. We just can't cope with Spurs' high pressing.
I JUST DON'T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND…
We're really missing Payet and as Bilic has said he's been making the other players around him raise their game too. It's hard to find anyone who's played well. The only plus is a late appearance from Alex Song. It's four when Walker pokes home after 83 minutes as Reid is again slow to sense the danger and Cresswell has left too much space on the left. Spurs then hit the post and we're just keeping the score down.
"Jelavic will never score for us… What is Jelavic going to do with that?" opines Mystic Matt as the late sub finds Lanzini with a fine through ball and Manuel shoots into the top of the net. A consolation at least, as Matt is ribbed by all the TEA drinkers.
We're left to rue a very poor performance against a Spurs side that is going really well and hasn't lost since the first day of the season. Our party wonder why Payet was allowed to play on against Everton (did it make the injury worse?) and reminisce about great West Ham injuries (Ashton, Dyer, etc). We quiz Fraser on his least favourite bosses, who turn out to be Pulis, Allardyce and Warnock. No-one can answer Matt's trivia question about who was the Spurs and England forward who signed for West Ham in the Championship. Turns out it was David Bentley.
West Brom now becomes a must-win game again and we have to get over the loss of Payet quickly. It's hard to believe the whole side will play as badly again next week, we hope.