Wonders will never cease: Carlton is indestructable

Ok Carlton Cole, now is the time to go out and give Reading hell to justify all the fuss about your unjust red card against Everton last weekend.

Wonders will never cease. We actually had an FA hearing that did not hide behind some obtuse, high-handed disciplinary mumbo-jumbo - usually the norm - they binned the red cards of both Cole and Everton's Darron Gibson for similar offences, in which opponents were caught by a high boot.

They didn't even do what I expected and reduce the card from red to yellow. By deciding to rescind both cards and quash the three-match bans, they told Cheshire referee Anthony Taylor , that he was totally wrong to give out the red cards in the first place. That his interpretation of the laws was wrong.

You don't often get such an obvious slap-down for a referee, the FA tend to bend over backwards to support their officials, it's a hard enough job without the whole world telling you that a decision is wrong.

But it also means that the referee in this case has cost West Ham points, no question. We were drawing 1-1 at the time of Cole's red card, and from the moment he went off we were doomed. Everton soon took the lead, and were able to hang onto victory.

Who can tell what the outcome would have been had we had 11 men on the pitch including our in-form striker. Even if Everton had scored, we would have had a very good chance of grabbing an equaliser. So thanks Mr. Taylor, you ruined my day, Cole's day and over 30,000 West Ham fans' day, as well as our Christmas.

But at least justice was done. Cole (or Andy Carroll) is such a vital part of big Sam's system, we can all see that now, that without him at Reading, the structure of the side and the tactics would have been very different.

And don't we owe them one. Last season Reading did the double over us, and both games really hurt. Their gamesmanship in the first game at the Madejski ended with two of our lot sent off and a considerable amount of bad feeling aimed at Jimmy Kebe for the disrespectful taunting that saw Jack Collison lose his rag and clatter the winger. Frankly, I'd have done the same thing.

It is somewhat ironic that Collison may well start Saturday's match after a very long lay-off with injury. He got on for the final minutes against Everton, but I bet he is desperate to get out there on Saturday for a bit of revenge.

In the return, in the back end of March, Reading produced a clever smash and grab raid to secure a 4-2 win at the Boleyn which we all felt had seriously damaged our promotion chances. It probably meant Reading were promoted outright and we had to go through the play-offs with all the stress that incurred.

Certainly our defending that day was juvenile and suicidal. As was the performance in Berkshire last December. Please no repeat lads.

Now is the chance for us to get our own back. Reading still have to play us twice this term and no doubt believe they can get something from both games to aid their increasingly desperate relegation battle. They are 13 points behind us and see this one as a must-win game.

Now with our confidence boosted by Cole's reprieve, we must not let that happen. A result at Reading and a home win over Norwich on New Years Day will go a long way to redressing the balance of losing six points from two successive winnable home games.

Come on Carlton, prove you are indestructible!

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