Monday, September 26

Saints go marching in against shambolic Hammers

We can see you sneaking out…
West Ham United  0 Southampton 3

The best part of the day is a pre-match Ruby Red ale at Hackney Wick’s Tank with my near-neighbour Will, who’s a Saints fan, and my daughter Nell who has a hipster Coke.

Inside the stadium Nigel’s away discussing the new Bridget Jones film, but Alison and Scott are back from New York, perhaps wishing they were still watching the New York Jets, particularly as the sun is in our eyes all game and they said that wouldn't happen at the reservation centre.

The first half is uninspired with neither side getting in a shot until Saints take the lead after 40 minutes. Antonio and Nordtveit go to sleep, and Bertrand crosses for Austin to get in front of his man and flick home. Adrian prevents a second from Cedric just before the interval.

Bilic subs Lanzini for Feghouli at half-time. We mount some pressure and Zaza dives to try and get a penalty, receiving a yellow card for simulation. Soon it’s 2-0 as Reid and Kouyate dither in the middle and lose the ball. Tadic is unmarked and rounds Adrian to score.

Adrian has to make a further great save to keep us in it and there’s a brief rally. West Ham have a strong shout for a penalty as Feghouli’s shot is blocked by the arms of a defender. Van Djke clears off the line from Zaza’s scuffed shot and Antonio crosses for Payet to shoot wide when he should score.

But there’s no disguising that Southampton are better than us as they threaten every time they break. Adrian has to make another couple of great saves and Nordveit a fine saving tackle before Antonio loses his man and Ward-Prowse sneaks in to score the third in added time

“We’ve got more fans than you!” chant the Southampton fans at the rows of empty white seats.

Still, it’s not as if anyone’s travelled 5351 miles to see it. Oh hang on, that’s Steve ‘North Bank Norman’ Rapport who’s travelled all the way from San Francisco, writing on Facebook, “Well, that was fun.” Things are so bad Matt is going to have to resurrect his lucky Dukla Prague away kit.

Hammers getting tanked…
Will and myself stop for two thirds of a pint of IPA in Tank before I’m refused admission to Crate for wearing a West Ham shirt, even though I plead that Matt was reading Ferment magazine about Colorado beers at the interval and that no one is going to be dancing on the tables after a game like that.

It’s been a thoroughly dispiriting performance though Saints fan Will diplomatically suggests that our relegation talk is premature. Not on this form though. There’s a real lack of tempo and urgency to our game, which is mystifying as these players did so well last season. And it can’t just be adapting to the new stadium. We have to make changes and get some more hunger in the team — bring in Fletcher, Obiang, Oxford, Fernandes, anyone really. And we have to get some confidence back from somewhere. Nurse, the screens.

PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 7; Nordveit 4 (Fletcher 5), Reid 5, Ogbonna 5, Arbeloa 5; Antonio 4, Noble 4 (Fernandes n/a), Kouyate 4, Payet 5, Lanzini 4 (Feghouli 5); Zaza 4.


mj said...

Shocking! Burnley won tonight which shows how good Watford are! There's already a gap developing. 3 or games time a quarter of the season will be gone...

Pete May said...

Once you're dow there after ten games it's very difficult to get out… as Roeder's men discovered.