Monday, May 15

Quality of Mersey too much for lacklustre Hammers

West Ham United 0 Liverpool 4

Inside the Best Café Alison has my 1987 A-Z that she’s returning, perhaps a little tardily. The London Stadium site is covered by Stratford Marshes and a railway depot, while there’s a football stadium in E13. Scott is demolishing a big breakfast and possibly the plate too as he prepares for heavy lifting duties at work and I’m introducing my pal’s 14-year-old son Bruno, a Man United fan ripe for conversion, to egg chips and beans.

In other news Matt, Lisa, Michael and Nigel have returned to Ken's Café to greet Carol and have even been granted a rare appearance from Ken outside his inner sanctum. They take the bus to the game with young Billy and report that only half the main stand is now left standing, through Carol and Ken are getting some good trade from the building workers. Steve the Cornish postie makes it just after kick-off, having earlier seen Tony Cottee and Tony Gale having pre-match refreshments in Billericay.

West Ham start reasonably well and nearly take an early lead as Calleri does well to find Byram in the box, only for the defender to fire wastefully wide. Fernandes then has effort parked by Mignolet. But in the bright sun the game soon adopts an end-of-season feel as the Hammers seem content to be staying up and we miss the bite of Kouyate and Noble in midfield.

It takes a full 19 minutes before the gentleman behind us hollers, “get up you tart!” at a prostrate Liverpool player. Liverpool look more urgent and an early warning comes as the unmarked Matip heads against the bar from a corner.

Liverpool take the lead after 35 minutes as Coutinho plays a great through ball that dissects the Irons’ defence and Sturridge shimmies round Adrian to score and do his silly surf dancing celebration. It could be his last goal for Liverpool before he joins West Ham and gets injured… Byram has just about played Sturridge onside, but it’s not a goal we should concede with three centre backs.

Still, a goal before half-time might change things. It should arrive as Lanzini’s corner fizzes across the area and Ayew arrives unmarked at the back post a yard out from goal. He swings at the ball with his left foot instead of his right and somehow hits the post, then falls over and prods the ball against the post again. Miss of the season from our £20 million striker.

Liverpool come out determined to finish West Ham off after the break. Adrian has to make three fine saves in succession during one move. It’s two as Wijnaldum wallops the bar and from the rebound the ball reaches Coutinho who skips past Nordtveit, Collins and Reid to shoot home from the edge of then box.

Bilic takes off Fonte and reverts to a back four. Sub Feghouli at least looks hungry and starts to take men on, winning a corner. As his corner comes in Reid is smacked in the face by Wijnaldum’s elbow and the Liverpool man also handballs it. As the West Ham players appeal for a penalty they make the mistake of not playing to the whistle as ref Neil Swarbrick inexplicably ignores a player with a head injury and allows the Scousers to break. Coutinho waltzes round Collins to stroke home. It gets worse as more terrible defending from our coalition of chaos sees Adrian block Lallana’s shot and Origi nets the rebound. This should put off young Bruno for life.

“Oh well, we might have lost 4-0 but at least I’ve got an out-of-date A-Z,” I tell Alison.

We decline to stay for a lap of dishonour in front of an empty stadium. Better news is that my navigation successfully takes Fraser, Michael, Nigel, Bruno and myself to the Railway pub via Penney Brookes way (last time we ended up in Leyton). At least the Railway has Doom Bar, staff in West Ham shirts, Mrs Flipper’s burgers and lots of claret and blue branding.  After my departure Nigel moves on to the Cart and Horses in a bid to make this blog and is hugely impressed by the Iron Maiden memorabilia.

It’s been a long season and signings need to be made. The London Stadium has seen us concede five and four goals at home to Man City five against Arsenal and four against Liverpool. At least we’ve beaten Spurs, but this finale was horrible.

PLAYER RATINGS: Adrian 6, Byram 4, Fonte 4 (Fletcher 4), Collins 5, Reid 6, Cresswell 5; Fernandes 4, Nordtveit 4, Lanzini 5; Ayew 4 (Snodgrass 4), Calleri 5 (Feghouli 6).


mj said...

Why are refs/linesmen so poor? Ok we were 2 down but if we get the foul/handball on Reidy, we might not lose 4-0

Anonymous said...

When West Ham concede first they collapse . If the Kane shot that Adrian saved with his foot had gone in then Spurs would have done exactly the same as Liverpool . Midfield was not as good as Spurs game but WHU need the game to be 0-0 as long as possible against the bigger teams . Let a goal in and it is help yourself to cart loads .

Pete May said...

We do seem to crumble as soon as we go a goal down. Though as MJ says, the ref and lino didn't help. If we'd got a penalty at 0-2 we might at least have made a game of it.

matt said...

Have only just found the strength to watch this on MotD. It was Fonte who played Sturridge onside, which may help to explain why he was then hooked. And Liverpool had possession because Calleri had lost the ball with a ridiculous piece of showboating. And as for those Ayew misses - as Iron Maiden would say, run to the hills...

Pete May said...

It was possibly the greatest miss I've ever seen by a West Ham forward - and that's saying something!