Sunday, December 18

Great performance from the post sees West Ham nick a win

Clyde Best (with Goodbye to Boleyn) signing The Acid Test
West Ham 1 Hull City 0

First it’s off to the Newham Bookshop for the Clyde Best signing. There’s a stream of fans waiting to reminisce about his brace against Sheffield United and his 1970s heyday and Vivian sells out of her 150 copies of The Acid Test. As one of the UK’s first black footballers you can see just what an influence he’s had as a role model. Clyde has even bought a copy of Goodbye to Boleyn, which is flattering. Gavin and Michael turn up in time for Clyde’s photo-shoot by the World Cup statue, where he discusses playing with Pele before retreating to Nathan’s pie and mash.

Then Gavin, Michael and myself retreat to Ken’s Café where we are reunited with Carol, Ken and Billy and get them to shout out our numbers just for old times’ sake. Michael the possible Whovian is wearing a West Ham Christmas jumper in an effort to make the blog and has had an email from Tom Baker. He shows Carol the mention of Ken’s Café in his book A Singular Lifeit’s not often Ken’s get mentioned in a biography of a former PM.

It’s been a perfect day so far; the only problem is we now have to watch West Ham. We find Nigel (who has met Jimmy Page at his Christmas do) in the Clyde Best café at Stratford and proceed to the stadium. Michal worries whether the stewards will regard his Alan Bennett autobiography as a possible offensive weapon with all that vituperation and acidic wit.


Michael's bargain West Ham jumper
We’re joined inside by Fraser, Clyde Best’s number one fan Alison, Joe with his hipster beard and Steve the Cornish postman, who’s not on strike, because that’s the stamp people.

West Ham have a decent first ten minutes before fading away. Mbokani fires narrowly wide as a warning of things to come. A terrible backpass from Cresswell lets in Mbokani again, who fires against the inside of the post. From a Hull corner Randolph has to make a decent stop from Maguire’s header, leaving West Ham grateful to be level at the break. Hull are having more strikes than Southern Rail.

It gets worse after the break, even though Slaven has brought on Fernandes and Ayew for Lanzini and Obiang. Mark Noble heads a cross against his own post and two minutes letter the marauding left back Robertson hits a superb shot against Randolph’s far post.

Matt texts from La Palma where his easyjet flight has ben delayed by fog and asks if England is fogbound too. I reply that unfortunately we can see the events on the pitch perfectly.

COME ON YOU IRONS
The good thing is that the worse West Ham become the better the crowd is. The fans make a big effort to raise West Ham from their torpor as they sense that, football being what it is, we might nick a win against such a blatantly unlucky team. The volume is encouraging.

Ayew has a header cleared off the line from Payet’s corner and from the melee Antonio has a low effort saved. From that attack Hull break down the other end and only a superb tackle from Kouyate prevents Clucas opening the scoring. Maguire has a header cleared off the line by Fernandes. It’s now end-to-end and rather entertaining in a kamikaze kind of way.

A mazy dribble from Payet wins a free kick with 14 minutes to go. Dimitri drops it into the box, there’s a scramble and Antonio goes down for ref Lee Mason to award a softish penalty. There’s an arm on Mikhail but surely not enough to bring him down. Mark Noble remains calm and dispatches the penalty, to spark a huge roar of relief around the London Stadium.

Nobes keeps calm and slots home his penalty…
West Ham threaten a second as Antonio is felled after a great run and Payet’s free kick is tipped over by Marshall. But there’s still time for a nervous finish as Cresswell slips and Maguire fires a low effort at Randolph.

We hold on for another win and credit to Kouyate for keeping going and Antonio for showing some spirit and also Andy Carroll for winning some great defensive headers. West Ham are very lucky to get three points but playing badly and winning is not a bad habit to get into. Hopefully the side will get some confidence from back to back wins and play with more freedom in future.

It’s certainly the best performance most of us have ever seen from a West Ham post and it’s quite right that the post is voted man of the match on twitter. Always in doubt, but it’s seven points from three games and now we can look upwards.


PLAYER RATINGS: The Post 10; Randolph 6; Antonio 6, Kouyate 7, Ogbonna 6, Reid 6, Cresswell 4; Noble 6, Obiang 5 (Fernandes 6) Lanzini 5 (Ayew 6), Payet 6; Carroll 6.

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