Thursday, April 21

Noble effort sees off depleted Watford

West Ham United 3 Watford 1

Michael the Whovian has pre-ordered his big breakfast through Lisa as we join the Ken’s Café queue. Nigel’s running late at the office and Matt is working. Statto Lisa reveals that Andy Carroll’s penalty at Leicester was our first away penalty for five years. Meanwhile Carol’s grandson Billy is very impressed with seeing Ken’s Café on BT Sport.

After the food arrives Carol leaves her till and sits down next to Michael, declaring affectionately, “You really love your big breakfasts don’t you?” Michael says he doesn’t have them at home, (where it’s presumably only Ottolenghi salads) which is why they’re such a treat. In more culinary confessions Lisa reveals that when her family moved from Manchester to the south her mum finally got rid of their chip pan.

In the East Stand we’re joined by Fraser who’s just won second prize in a short story competition, but has forgotten his laptop so he can’t turn out today’s 2300 words in the Central.

It’s good to see Diafra Sakho back in what may be our strongest side. Watford play a very weakened XI with one eye on the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final, though we do get to see Valon Behrami back at the Boleyn.

West Ham take the lead after 11 minutes when Payet lofts a precise ball over the Watford defence and Andy Carroll prods home with his left foot. That’s Carroll’s sixth goal in six games and his ninth of the season. If he can score a few more in the remaining four games he’ll give Roy Hodgson something to think about.

Nigel arrives after the goal, just as Watford have a decent spell and Adrian has to make a smart stop from Jurado. But West Ham’s nerves are settled on half time when ref Mike Dean awards a softish penalty, ruling that Kouyate was held down as he jumped in the box. Mark Noble does the rest. It's also great to have a minute's applause for Dylan Tombides during the half, on the second anniversary of his death.

At half time Michael spots actor Donald Sumpter, aka the Lord President of the High Council of Time Lords, though we think he might be avoiding his Whovian stalkers.

We get another penalty as Antonio, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare, surges between three defenders and is pulled down. Noble puts it straight down the middle and scores. Gomes might have saved two penalties from Berahino in his last game, but not from Nobes.

It’s a strange game and has more of the air of a testimonial as Lanzini misses a great chance and West Ham try to walk the ball into the net. “Maybe Adrian will run down the pitch and score,” suggests Lisa.

West Ham look tired and it’s a mystery why Bilic doesn’t bring on some fresh legs earlier as Watford pull back a goal through a fine hooked effort from Prodl. Cresswell and Payet try their best to create a fourth as the game looks like ending in an easy home win. The Bobby Moore Stand go their their greatest hits of Ludek Miklosko and Christian Dailly ditties. In the last minute Watford earn a penalty for an innocuous looking challenge by Ogbonna. Troy Deeney takes but Adrian saves to great cheers. And there’s still time for Watford’s Amrabat to be sent off after a second yellow card.

So it’s off to the Central after a welcome three points. That was our 15th home game without defeat, a Premier League record. “Just when we’ve finally turned Upton Park into a Fortress we’re moving,” muses Fraser.

Nigel’s been to see former Status Quo drummer John Coghlan at the Half Moon in Putney, and has missed the blog revelation that Michael plans to dye his hair claret and blur for the Man United game. He’s less impressed with Michael’s proposed Marc Almond musical. So I suggest an Andy Carroll musical, with drama, injury, romance with Billi, goals and pink bedrooms, though Michael thinks it might need a good understudy in the event of injury.

The loud music comes on as the dodgy dvd seller does her rounds and we head home. “That’s out last ever victory against a team from the south,” muses Nigel as walk past the fine old vista of a floodlit Boleyn Ground viewed from Barking Road.

A welcome win after four draws, even if Man United and Liverpool have both won. But West Ham have a five-point lead over Southampton and can now really make a bid to finish in the top six.

PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 6; Antonio 7, Ogbonna 6, Reid 6, Cresswell 6; Kouyate 6, Noble 7, Lanzini 6, Payet 7 (Collins n/a); Sakho 6 (Moses 6), Carroll 7 (Emenike n/a).


matt said...

That's not how you spell Marc Almond out of Soft Cell, a pedant writes.

And Nigel's being hugely pessimistic if he thinks that'll be our last ever victory against a team from the south. Could he mean at the Boleyn, possibly. Or has his brain gone down the dustpipe with John Coghlan?

Pete May said...

Good spot on Marc Almond - Lisa would be proud your your subbing skills! I think Nigel means at the Boleyn, barring a very poor run of form, though I guess we could still beat West Germany from the south?

matt said...

Also, doesn't this mean no team can do the double over us this season? And when did that last happen?

Pete May said...

Yes, we've taken points off everyone. Must be a record