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Saturday, January 7
Home humiliation for hapless Hammers
Inside the London Stadium Nigel and Fraser have discovered the programmes have sold out, CQ’s making her seasonal debut (and surprised that she can see the pitch as Nigel had led her to expect the summit of K2) and Matt’s had to buy a ticket away from the philosophers.
The first half an hour isn’t too bad, Antonio forces a save from Caballero and two excellent Reid tackles save the Hammers. City take the lead with a soft penalty after Kolarov zips into the box and draws the lightest of touches from Ogbonna. Michael’s dad phones to give the definitive opinion that it wasn’t a penalty. West Ham then have a great chance to equalise as Antonio fires at Cabellero and the ball falls to the hapless Feghouli who fires horribly wide of an awning goal.
West Ham stream forward and are picked off by City’s slick counter attacking. Nordtveit prods Clichy’s inviting cross into his own net as Adrian hesitates. A couple of minutes later the Hammers defence is horribly exposed as Silva has time to read the collected works of Charles Dickens before firing past the prostrate Adrian.
“Still, it’s not as if we’re on national television and everyone will see our humiliation… ah, hang on…” quips Nigel.
The second half is a training exercise as Aguero deflects in Toure’s mishit shot and Stones’ header crosses the line before Noble can clear. Finally Payet comes on. Is he tired, injured or about to go? No one knows why he hasn’t started. The mood is strangely lighthearted as we’ve long given up the luxury of hope and even anger. We’re finally making history at the London Stadium — it’s West Ham’s record home FA Cup defeat.
The best moment of the game is when fan a dressed as Spiderman invades the pitch accompanied by a gent in orange tights. Those life bans start to seem tempting and a few of us might bring superhero costumes to the Palace game.
Just as West Ham’s comeback is commencing the ref blows dead on 90 minutes despite numerous substitutions and injuries. Like us he's seen too much.
PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 5; Nordtveit 3, Ogbonna 4, Reid 6, Cresswell 4; Feghouli 3, Obiang 5, Fernandes 5, Lanzini 4 (Noble); Carroll 5 (Payet 5), Antonio 6 (Fletcher 4).