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, November 8
Payet crocked as Lukaku haunts Hammers
West Ham 1 Everton 1
Heavy rain saturates Green Street on an unseasonably humid
day as I arrive at Ken’s Café clad in Gore-Tex. Matt and Nigel are discussing
old horror films as Matt becomes possibly the first person ever to utter the
word ‘portmanteau’ in Ken’s. Meanwhile Michael the Renaissance Man (and
Whovian) maintains a Zen-like calm insisting that his big breakfast will arrive
before kick off, despite the fact he’s arrived at 2.15pm.
Meanwhile Carol’s granddaughter is the latest family member
to have been recruited on cup-collecting duties, while Carol herself is still
trying to trace the person who bought the pottery model of Ken’s Café from the
V& A exhibition by Barnaby Barford — my money’s on Charles Saatchi. There’s
time for late appearances from my Facebook pal Nicola, Big Phill and Big Joe
and then a dash to the East Stand, with Matt and Nigel making their obligatory
trek to the recycling bins behind the away coaches with their Saturday papers.
We arrive to find squaddies in West Ham scarves on the
pitch, a minute’s silence for Remembrance Day and The Last Post. Winston’s in for the suspended Collins and Sakho is
still injured so Andy Carroll starts two successive games for the first time
The sides appear pretty evenly matched, but West Ham make a
decent start. Payet finds Moses who shoots into the side netting. Everton are
unexpectedly physical and Kone clatters Moses without being booked. Another
fine ball from Payet finds Jenkinson who shoots at the keeper rather than
crossing. From the rebound off the keeper Cresswell curls a good effort just
over. Michael wonders if Moses will deliver his commandments on tablets of
Stones. The Everton centre back is impressive throughout, dominating Andy Carroll,
and earns a tuneful chorus of “Money can’t buy me Stones” from the away fans.
The Irons take the lead after half a hour. Payet finds the
impressive Moses who scuffs his shot from the edge of the box. The ball
rebounds off Stones to Lanzini on the edge of the box and curls a lovely effort
into the top corner before running into the corner to celebrate.
Payet has already delighted the crowd with one pirouette
away from Everton’s midfield on the halfway line, provoking a chorus of “We’ve
got Payet!”, but is then injured after
being crocked by McCarthy with a scissors tackle. The Everton enforcer plays a
bit of the ball, but also clatters the man and it could easily be a red card,
but ref Paul Tierney only books him. We are tempted to state a McCarthyite witch hunt.
Two minutes before the break Everton equalise, just after Mr Moon has left the stadium. Payet loses
possession and Deulofeu plays a great first-time ball though to Lukaku. The Everton
striker has got behind Tomkins and Reid too easily, but uses his pace and
strength to round Adrian and tap home. That’s his seventh goal in seven games
against West Ham.
At half-time we doubt if even Nigel’s lucky banana can save
us from the usual Everton comeback. Meanwhile Fraser’s having to rewrite the start of his
Western novel as for some reason his tutors want to
tweak his plot of ransoming a portly sheriff called Big Sam to an outpost in the north-east.
WE'VE NOT GOT PAYET
Payet only lasts five minutes of the second half and is
replaced by Valencia. Enner looks sharp and combines well with Lanzini, curling
in a fine cross that Moses just fails to connect with. But his cameo only lasts
ten minutes. Coleman makes a fair tackle, but Valencia falls awkwardly and has
to be replaced by Zarate.
The ref continues to perplex. Lanzini shoots narrowly wide and West Ham’s best chance
comes after Moses wins a corner. Winston Reid’s header is just over the bar. At
the other end Lukaku pokes a Galloway cross past the post.
At least we don’t concede the usual late goal in the four
minutes of added time and if Payet hadn’t been crocked we might surely have
won. The game ends in a draw and in a nod to Bilic’s heavy metal football, the
PA plays Black Sabbath’s Paranoid (a
tribute to Jose Mourinho?) and Deep Purple’s Highway Star, which pleases Nigel no end.
I walk with Nigel to Plaistow and we agree that at least
point keeps the season ticking over and we are way ahead of
relegation-certainties Chelsea. In fact we go up to fifth, which causes a lot
of celebration, as when I meet my family for a bit of a do in Warwick Avenue there are fireworks
going off all over London. Two weeks’ international break now (third of the
season so far and surely too many?) and the chance to get Payet, Sakho (who
we’ve missed) and Valencia fit.