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Monday, 12th February 2001

West Ham United 1
Coventry City 1

by Staff Writer

After the match last night I have decided that I should treat watching the Hammers like I do when approaching "The X Files". Something that I love and adore but it needs to be viewed from behind my hands, only looking when its safe.

I sat here, at home last night (for reasons which I won't go into but I couldn't get to the match) and at one point I was afraid to look at the screen just incase it scared the life out of me. Invariably it did on times and my nerves took another battering. Watching West Ham should come with a Government Health Warning "Please be warned that buying a ticket for the game can cause serious damage to your health." Surely their minds weren't already drifting to the possibility of a Cup final in Cardiff? hey should have had their minds firmly fixed on the job in hand.

Coventry must have gone into the match wondering if we would turn them over after last season's 5-0 thrashing and us putting 3 past them at Highfield Road. In fact I predicted a 3-0 win to us. How wide of the mark was that? I am not sure what planet the Hammers were beamed in from last night but whatever was used to beam them into Upton Park must have messed with them for most of the first half. Okay so Freddie really should have scored after 90 seconds but we should have been firing on all cylinders when the whistle blew for kick off. We were at home for goodness sake. The defending was atrocious and if it wasn't for the match officials calling offside when it wasn't then we would have certainly gone into half time 1-0 down or possibly more. The whole team looked shaky, midfield were strong with Frank looking as if he is getting back to his best at long last. It is just a shame that his shot wasn't on target. For me it was Frank's shot wide that seemed to kick start life into the rest of the team.

We came out in the second half looking like a team that were going to win and as the minutes were counting down I really thought that we could sneak a win and start to get higher up the table. Thanks to Joe Cole it was looking likely. Then disaster. I felt as if I was looking at the game in slow motion, I could see the ball going into the box and the defence edging backwards, then that awful header off Dailly and Coventry players going mad. I don't remember what I said, or shouted, but I know I felt sick. Sick to the stomach. One mistake a few minutes from the final whistle and we lose 3 points, okay so we had one point but we should have had two.

I thought that Coventry actually played fairly well and John Hartson is a handful. I hope that he can do the job of rescuing them like he did us (let us not forget that together with Paul Kitson he kept us in the premiership during the 1996/97 season). I think it will be a close run season for them, maybe going down to the final game of the season to decide whether they drop. As for us. I thought that Nigel Winterburn's run and cross to give Joe Cole the ball for the goal was class, he left David Thompson struggling to keep up. One of the brighter moments in the game. Freddie looked well out of sorts and Paolo looked as if he was frustrated, but he had a better game in the second half. Midfield looked a bit shaky, Frank seemed to have the better game out of the three of them, not to say that the others had a bad day but they didn't look as strong as they did against Manchester United. Lets hope that this is rectified soon.

I hope that he 5th round FA Cup match on Saturday is as good as the
Manchester United one. If we played like we did last night then we are not going to win. They need to adopt the attitude that was evident for the Old Trafford game and believe they will win. However, they need to approach every game with the same attitude. Then we really will be up there challenging with the best. Here's praying that they get it right Saturday, it is not impossible.

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