Sunday, April 9

Battling Hammers see off Swans

West Ham 1 Swansea City 0

Inside the (Clyde) Best Cafe, Nigel and Matt are discussing the anniversary of the 1992 general election and Slaven saying that Andy Carroll is "feeling his groin", are arf. While Lisa has opted for a falafel wrap (surely not as good as Ken’s cheesy chips wrap?) and CQ, on a romantic lunch date with Nigel, announces herself well pleased with her eggs on toast. Steve the Cornish postman arrives from the night train to collect his ticket, before leaving to meet Joe’s fiancĂ© from Memphis, Tennessee, in a moment of rare Chuck Berry credibility.

The walk to the stadium seems less dystopian in the bright sunlight. Alison and Scott join us, but Michael The Whovian is away at a Q & A session with Maggie Smith. He says she reckons 39 points will do it. Among a shirt-sleeved crowd it doesn’t exactly feel like a relegation six-pointer as Alison wonders who was the idiot who booked seats facing into the sun.

It’s a tense, scrappy game, but West Ham at least snap into tackles. Early on Antonio stands up a decent cross and Snodgrass’s header is saved on the line by Fabianski The Hammers go close again when Noble finds Ayew, who swivels to shoot and is unlucky to see the Swansea keeper parry his effort wide. Then Antonio’s hamstring goes chasing a poor Randolph kick and Bilic replaces him with Calleri, which is strange with Sakho and Carroll on the bench.

“Slow it down!” cries an ironical Mystic Matt, only to inspire the Irons’ breakthrough. Noble finds Snodgrass who lays the ball off to Kouyate. He’s a long way out but Cheikhou fires an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner, before racing into the fans. He’s booked for his celebration, though as our seats are so far from the pitch he should surely be commended for his Usain Bolt-like dash.

West Ham have several chances to settle it in the second half. Ayew crosses for Byram to ripple the side netting and Lanzini dives in the box to earn a booking. Calleri’s cross falls to Ayew and Fabianski has to make another fine save, though Andre could have kept it lower. Snodgrass looks irate at being subbed, but his replacement Feghouli’s first touch ends with a cross that almost creates a goal

It takes until 61 minutes for the gentleman behind us to shout “Get up you tart!” as Jack Cork goes down. Turns out he can’t get up and subs Montero and Llorente inspire a mini-Swansea revival. James Collins has to make one great clearance off the line. Matt suggests that the super-bearded Collins is looking more and more like a fiery Victorian preacher threatening damnation on the souls of all those fornicators who support Millwall.

Narsingh has a decent shot tipped over by Randolph and you sense Swansea might snatch something. But the Hammers threaten on the break as Lanzini bamboozles Hernandez and crosses for Calleri to volley wide when he should score.

"Super Slaven Bilic!" goes ground the stadium. The tension is summed up right at the death as Sigurdsson gets free only for Sam Byram to come across and make a fine tackle. Sam’s had a steadier game today and is hugged by Randolph, Noble, Collins and Kouyate as if they’re celebrating a goal. Smells like team spirit.

Finally the whistle goes and Slaven crouches with his fists clenched in the manner of Bruce Forsyth on The Generation Game. It’s off to the giant bell to meet Swansea fan Huw, who is remaining philosophical as he announces that the London Stadium is the 105th ground he’s seen Swansea lose at. Now that’s a stat. It’s on to Tank at Hackney Wick, where despite a pitcher of pale ale Fraser remains unimpressed by hipsterville.

A big result for the Hammers. We’ll take an ugly win and a clean sheet. Another three points and we should finally be completely safe.

PLAYER RATINGS: Randolph 6; Byram 6, Collins 7, Fonte 6, Masuaku 6; Snodgrass 6 (Feghouli 6), Noble 6, Kouyate 7, Lanzini 6, Ayew 6 (Fernandes 5); Antonio 5 (Calleri 4).


Rob Graham said...

I am sorry to admit i had to look up "Dystopian" Pete, but as ever, it summed up the previous 5 games, I thought we were good, and Lanzini brilliant, the defence really put in a shift although Fonte was a little anonymous but the other 3 best game yet.
Antonio is going to be a big loss, and I really misjudged Snodgrass who is so average looking at the moment.
As you say the result was the most important thing God I hope the owners realise we need a quick striker who can threaten a defence for next season, we should scrape through but nothing is certain.COYI

Pete May said...

At least Snodgrass got an assist and might now finally start to reproduce his Hull form. Or is he a player who can only perform as a big fish in a small pond? But much relief all round… can we we carry on with another win at Sunderland or will we revert to bad old habits?

matt said...

If Fraser only got a pitcher of pale ale no wonder he wasn't impressed - you can't drink a photo, can you? We did notice another bar just across the road, so we could try there another time

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