Saturday, 21st September 2013
It was not all doom and gloom, West Ham started brightly and scored the opener via the gifted Ravel Morrison. Some intelligent and pacey wing play from Matt Jarvis, gave Ravel the time to tee up his shot before seeing it deflected and past the hapless Howard between the sticks.
West Ham, for large swathes of the first half were dominant and looked good for the lead. Had we any sort of attacking threat up front, we could have seen the lead doubled. As it is Maiga is an absolute waste of space and ever reliable Kevin Nolan is lacking form. Perhaps he misses his old buddy big Andy Carroll. Lets hope the bed wetting hasn't started up again.
The general consensus in the Trevor Brooking Lower was that we would most certainly take 1-0 at half time. We nullified the Everton attacking/counter-attacking threat and looked threatening ourselves. Much better given two toothless performances on the bounce at Southampton and at home to Stoke.
However, there were rumblings and murmurings from the tunnel and lo and behold Martinez had only gone and done it. That's right guys, big Romelu Lukaka was making his way onto the pitch. Cue collective groan around the Boleyn. Oh to having a manager brave enough and forward thinking enough to make the necessary changes; changes that ultimately won them the game.
Everton proceeded on the attack (shock horror) and in some respects West Ham did well to nullify their threat in the most part. Mark my words, this Everton side are good. Very good. Barkley, Oviedo, Osman, Lukaku, Bloody Baines....the list goes on to their attacking threat and they will undoubtedly blow a few skirts up this year.
So the attacks come thick and fast and the West Ham defence are guilty of stepping off far too much. But it's ok because Ginger James Collins made up for that with a flying tackle just outside the area to fell new England prospect Gnarls Barkley. Shame young Gnarls didn't jump up and take it because every shot he seemed to have today flew into Row Z. So up steps Leighton Baines and pings it right side into the top corner. 1 - 1.
The Boleyn crowd however remained upbeat, the sight of Maiga leaving the field helped this and on came Mladen Petric who started rather brightly. Now Maiga can learn alot from the Croatian frontman. Chase the ball being the number one lesson. Secondly, being a striker, you can put a foot in. It is not going to damage your rainbow laces if you make the odd tackle. Just the odd one Modibo!
Anyway Petric did just this, chased a ball towards the Bobby Moore Lower, challlenged Howard putting on enough pressure to win the ball. He then looked up and picked out a perfect pass (these are all things I have never seen Maiga do - so excuse my surprise) to captain Kevin Nolan, who made his only important contribution of the game, falling over like a sack of spuds and earning the Irons a penalty.
The fans were elated, we could not believe it. Up steps recently yellow-carded Mark Noble to very coolly slot it into the bottom left hand corner. 2-1 with 14 minutes to go. One of the lads behind me said, "I would give my left nut for that clock to be 10 minutes later". Now my father always taught me to never wish my life away but I had to agree with the tattooed young chap. How prophetic his words proved to be also.
Everton attacked once more and Gnarls, despite his inability to shoot on target, was linking up well with big Romelu. Having seen Gnarls flirting with the penalty area and knowing he is on a yellow card Mark Noble flies in and brings the young lad down. Now it appears to me and the other thousand or so West Ham fans in our block that he had got the ball. It looked on Match of the Day that he had got the ball. I am not even going to mention the fact that his first booking was inocuous and not worth a card. I just won't.
So in his infinite wisdom and due to the fact he probably had Everton in his acca this morning, Lee Mason sends off Mark Noble. Bad times. Then we realised where the freekick had occurred. That's right folks. Edge of area, bang in front.
I don't need to explain the rest because we all know what happened. The only difference was Baines went left side this time. Oh and pinged it off the inside of the post, just to take the mick a little more. Some early suggestions had been that Jussi could have moved quicker or was poorly positioned. Absolute drivel for me. There was no saving it. Even Batman wouldn't have got there in time.
So the end was nigh and the inevitability of what followed was clear. Everton poured forward and a pinpoint cross found the head of Lukaku who deserved one to be fair, found the back of the net, knocking himself out in the process.
Cue many a West Ham fan exiting the ground. I like a numpty decided to stay, to see the end and watch Ricardo Vaz Te miss a golden opportunity to head us a point. He must have been watching Gnarls as it ended up somewhere in Row Q of the Bobby Moore Stand.
Things to note. Petric is better than Maiga. To be honest, Big Sam is better than Maiga but Big Sam doesn't have the front to pick himself I suppose. I heard a few murmurs of folk saying that Maiga had 'won at least five good headers...lets be fair on him...' Really? Is that what it's come too? Anyone who watches West Ham regularly knows this season has been like playing with 10 men. I for one have lost my patience with Maiga and praise be, I reckon Big Sam has too. Carling Cup on Tuesday night, what is the harm in giving young Ellliot Lee a go? He can't be any worse.
Winston Reid was absolutely outstanding. He is so passionate for the club and team. When Baines second went in, he was screaming at the bench in sheer frustration. One can only assume that he aimed this at Noble, who should know better than to give away the free kick in that spot. Especially when Lee Mason is around.
Ravel Morrison continues to develop and impress. He needs to keep his place when the big guns are back. Kevin Nolan. Can we send him on compassionate leave? He is not the same player this year and I think the news that Carroll is out for a while has affected him.
Apart from the result and the referee, there were a lot of positives for the West Ham faithful as we did play well and dominated the game in patches. I am getting a bit hacked off with the constant praise of James Collins too. I swear that man has a howler a week and this time the free kick was a big one. It was a rash challenge and any defender should know better.
So it is not panic stations yet. We can still cling onto the coming of age of Ravel and a new player who looks lively upfront. However, next week's game against Hull becomes rather important as we have a tough run after that. We can all hope for a morale boosting win under the lights on Tuesday in the cup and then let the season start properly from that. I hate to say it but poor signings in the transfer window has got us into a little bit of a pickle. Lets get behind the club and hope that the powers that be can pull us out also. Not to mention the odd referee decision going our way!
* Trevor Twohig may also be found expressing his views at whamtime.blogspot.co.uk and on his new music blog bornwithbass.blogspot.co.uk.
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Fine. Couldn’t do much about the goals.
Joey O Brien
Held his own.
Solid, despite his one howler a game.
Difficult to rate. Shouldn’t have been sent off.
Ok. Got kicked about a bit.
Our best attacking threat.
Set up a goal but otherwise ineffective.
Nothing much to write home about.
Worked hard, largely earned the penalty.
Ricardo Vaz Te
Did little. Missed a good chance.
Off the pace, Doesn’t cut it at this level.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Referee: Lee Mason.
Man of the Match: Winston Reid.
West Ham United
Jussi Jaaskelainen, Joey O Brien, Razvan Rat, Winston Reid, James Collins, Mark Noble, Mo Diame, Ravel Morrison, Matt Jarvis, Kevin Nolan, Modibo Maiga.
Goals: Ravel Morrison 31 Mark Noble 75 .
Booked: Ravel Morrison 37 James Collins 61 Mark Noble 68 .
Sent Off: Mark Noble 81 .
Subs not used: tbc.
Booked: None booked..
Sent Off: None sent off..