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West Ham United 1 Everton 1
Saturday, 7th November 2015
This match marked one of little bruv's occasional visits to stay with me for the weekend. He hasn't been up for a few months but he's lost none of his warped sense of humour, as evidenced by the chorus of "I Want To Break Free" he broke into while I was running the vacuum over Gnome Towers before we left for the Boleyn. (No, I wasn't wearing the costumes).
After a brief sojourn to the EHWMC (pint for him, diet coke for me) we pitched up at the ground where the team news was that, as expected, Sakho was out but Reid was back to partner Tomkins in the absence of Collins who was starting match 1 of a three match rest. Zarate returned to the bench with Carroll leading the line to give us a starting line-up of: Adrian, Jenkinson, Cresswell, Tomkins, Reid, Noble, Kouyate, Payet, Lanzini, Moses, Carroll.
The match of course was preceded by a pause for reflection on the Saturday closest to Remembrance Sunday. The Last Post played whilst 35,000 of us stood in silence was an emotional moment which certainly brought a lump to your correspondent's throat.
So to the match. The first thing that was noticeable was that the stadium clocks were knackered. One was just showing the time of day whilst the other was permanently stuck at eleven minutes to three. Now I know we're moving and so there is perhaps not as much urgency to get things repaired but even so ....
Yup it was a bright start. The most noticeable thing on the pitch was that Moses seemed to have regained the bit between his teeth that has been missing in recent weeks. Maybe sensing rookie blood in the form of Galloway at left back, Moses' powerful running seemed to be causing opposition problems. Moses it was who had an early shot go wide at the near post on the right after being fed by Payet who had made room for himself in characteristic style. Moses then got into good position again on the right hand side of the box but his attempted pull-back to Carroll was cut out.
A notable feature of the first half was the erratic and worryingly tolerant behaviour of the match referee Mr Tierney, who seemed to be unaware of the requirements of the laws of the game to issue yellow cards for dangerous challenges. Everton took full advantage of the official's leniency as McCarthy's cynical block on Payet received no more punishment than the free-kick.
The visitors had their first proper chance on the quarter hour as Barkley's clever turn found himself a bit of space on the edge of the box but his shot was straight down Adrian's throat.
Lest anyone think that Payet was being singled out, Coleman proved that he at least was an equal opportunities transgressor by going straight through the back of Lanzini. Again, the yellow card amnesty that seemed to have been declared unilaterally by Mr Tierney was in force and Coleman escaped without the caution the nasty little challenge deserved. The resulting free-kick was worked on the left by Lanzini and Payet with Cresswell getting in the cross. Moses' header was too high though.
There were more nice feet from Payet that let Kone and Barkley chasing shadows but one felt that the opposition weren't in a mood to have themselves look stupid in that fashion and the challenges started to become even more robust. In the meantime Lanzini cut in from the left but pulled his shot wide when he ought perhaps have been looking to feed Carroll and Moses in the middle.
Tierney continued to make it up as he went along. The awarding of a free-kick for a perfectly good challenge by Reid was bad enough. However, allowing the free-kick to be taken with a moving ball displayed a worrying ignorance which could have cost us had Kone not spurned the free chance given to him by the referee.
Moses got the better of Galloway again and powered into the box but his cut-back was again behind Carroll. The annoying thing was that the no.9 was the wearer of the only claret & blue shirt in the box.
Moses continued to expose Galloway who joined the ever-growing number of Everton players who should have been in the book but weren't by bringing him down having been beaten all ends up. Payet's free-kick was played deep and kept in play by Tomkins whose hook-back was cleared by a defender just before Carroll could get on the end of it. The ball broke to Lukaku who appeared to control with his arm but Noble and Reid dealt with it anyway to set up a counter break.
We hadn't had a cynical foul for, ooh, minutes so when Moses broke away again there was a sad inevitability about Kone's challenge which, like so many before it, had made no attempt to play the ball and was purely designed to stop Moses in his tracks. It succeeded. When even the highlights commentators comment on the number of cynical fouls the opposition are getting away with you know the referee's having a poor day. Sadly, and unusually, Payet's free-kick was poor and was easily cleared for a throw. Receiving the ball back, Payet's perfect pass - looking one way and passing the other - found Jenkinson on the underlap and, although the cross was half cleared by a combination of Howard and his defence, Cresswell was able to pick up the loose ends and aimed a curving shot towards goal with the outside of his left boot, unfortunately not quite getting enough bend on the ball for it to fall the right side of the post as far as we were concerned.
Adrian had to be alert at his near post to keep out a Deulofeu effort and the ref later decided to award Everton another corner after they'd headed a free-kick wide. It was clear he didn't have a clue and just guessed that he had a 50-50 chance of getting it right.
Then came the goal. Just short of the half hour Payet picked up the ball in midfield and played it out to Moses who had found space on the right. Moses' drive was well saved by a player who wasn't the goalkeeper. Carroll kept the ball moving and laid the ball back to Lanzini who calmly took a touch before passing the ball into the top right hand corner from the edge of the box. It was an exquisite finish that gained a secondary gasp and round of applause when the replay came up on the screen again - much like DiCanio's goal all those years ago. Quality.
The moment that turned the whole match came on 33 minutes. Payet was again bearing down on goal when in came McCarthy with a nasty spiteful scissors tackle for which a straight red would have been par for the course. Tierney elected to ignore every guideline given to referees on such tackles (assuming that he had or the rest oread them in the first place) and actually seemed proud of himself for brandishing the totally inadequate yellow. A disgraceful tackle that was designed purely to injure and a disgraceful piece of refereeing.
Although Payet got up the cumulative effects of the kicking he was getting had clearly taken its toll and instead of playing the ball into the box he tapped it short on the grounds that he was struggling to stand up, let alone deliver a perfect cross. Payet was effectively a passenger for the rest of the half and with three minutes left to play, and after the 50th running of the digital announcement that Mr Moon was on his way home, Payet's half-hearted attempt to beat a player in opposition territory ran into traffic. Deulofeu's ball split Reid and Tomkins and Lukaku was given the benefit of the doubt (his head appeared to be offside but we only get those given our way once in a while and we've had ours for the season) to run on, round Adrian and level the scores. It's that man again as readers of a certain age even older than I am might have said.
Just in case we hadn't already been concentrating on the referee he then decided to blow for the interval with Carroll bearing down on goal - he will no doubt claim thatthat was the moment at which added time expired but frankly I wouldn't have put it past him to have blown early for the sake of it.
Half time: West Ham United 1 Everton 1
After a marvellously sticky and messy chocolate cake bought by little bruv for Upton Girlie's forthcoming birthday, the general feeling was that Payet was lucky to have escaped serious injury given the treatment he was being given. Yeah that turned out right didn't it?
The second half started and, after a brief scare when Carroll appeared to land awkwardly, Moses won the ball on the edge of our box. Galloway brought Moses down again and the ref awarded a free-kick. To Everton. It was yet another baffling and bonkers decision. Justice of a sort was done when Barkley put the ball wide but it was still a desperately bad call from a referee who possibly shouldn't be allowed out without a carer such was his general lack of awareness.
That marked the end of the game for Payet whose kicking had finally proved too much for him despite his attempt to carry on. As he trudged off disconsolately I checked to see if the ref might have hung his head in shame over his role in the affair. Yeah I know looking for shame from a referee is akin to looking for an honest referee at this level. Valencia came on to replace Payet who we now know will be out for three months. McCarthy and Tierney are free to carry on with their seasons of course - the FA being more keen to punish people who complain about thuggery and incompetence than those responsible for it.
Valencia looked lively immediately, getting the better of Coleman to cross for Carroll who was a whisker away from getting contact. Tomkins clever pass was latched on to by Moses who, for about the fifth time of the afternoon was wiped you, this time by Funes Mori. Amazingly Tierney found the yellow card the challenge merited.
Valencia then made himself some room on the edge of the box but his shot had the sting taken out of it by a deflection which Howard saved from going for a corner. Lanzini then cut in from the left and his shot took a touch on its way to earn a corner. The ref saw an imaginary push to halt that particular avenue of attack.
So with Valencia looking lively it was his turn to get injured. Moses played him in on the left and, though Coleman won the ball cleanly, his two-footed follow-through left a foot in. To be honest even if Tierney had spotted it he'd probably have given a free-kick to Everton such was his distance from reality. After treatment Valencia hobbled back on only to collapse to the floor again immediately. Those canoe things they use as stretchers these days came on and the luckless Ecuadorian was carted off for what one suspects may be another long break on the treatment table. Zarate came on to replace.
Moses then won a corner off Galloway on the right. Reid got on the end of it and headed over when he probably ought to have scored. Jenkinson's promising run ended with a dig with the outside of the foot that was straight at Howard.
The visitor's sole effort on goal in this period came when Galloway's ball into the box found Lukaku whose first time effort at the near post was put wide in similar fashion to Moses' first half effort. It would have been par for the course had it gone in with more undeserved points going back to the northwest but maybe the football gods thought we'd suffered enough. And Adrian loked to have it covered.
With three left to play Jelavic replaced Carroll but there was still time for Tierney to make a name for himself. On another day Zarate's sly tug-back was probably deserving of a yellow but on a day when McCarthy's assault had received exactly the same punishment it was purely an insult to the intelligence.
A promising move down the right was ended by a cynical challenge - unpunished by a yellow naturally - and, as we prepared to launch one final attack, and with a few seconds left of the 5 minutes of added time, Tierney decided to blow for time anyway. In his summing up of the match our Staff Writer suggested that Tierney was had done nothing to suggest he was capable of operating regularly at the top level. I'd disagree. His spineless and inept display suggests that he'll fit in perfectly with the others in the select group and, in blowing for time in BOTH halves at a point guaranteed to cause controversy, he showed himself to be every bit as egotistical and arrogant as the likes of Dean & Co. As little bruv put it - "I could do that job" and to be frank I'd have trusted him more than Tierney.
Full Time: West Ham United 1 Everton 1
Overall a point apiece was about right I'd say, though it's galling to think what might have been had the ref applied the laws of the game as written down as opposed to those applicable to whatever mood he was in at the time, it might have been interesting to have seen whether we'd have prevailed against the reduced numbers the opposition deserved.
So post-match and whilst I was otherwise engaged in the press-room listening to the gentlemen of the press completely failing to bring up the point that Payet had been kicked out of the game - despite their being fairly vociferous on the matter just
Bilic entered the room - little bruv was lucky enough to have been taken for a drink by Upton Girlie, who, he informs me "fancies him rotten".
There he was able to pose for photos with a number of players and Julian Dicks. If any of them are reading this he says if you like he'll sign a copy for you. He's not exactly shy my little bruv. When I joined them for a drink (pint for me, diet coke for him this time) the grin on Geoff's face was a mile wide and you'd have thought that his autographed programme contained the secret of the meaning of life, such was the intense scrutiny to which it was subject.
Anyway a reasonably entertaining game of football and a great day out for little bruv, who was clutching his autographed programme all night and pointing out "look there's my mate" on the MOTD highlights every time one of his "mates" got on the ball. Before I go, many, many thanks to everyone who made a fuss of little bruv - Milly, Paul Stringer and Sophie Bradley in the press room, and post-match to Cheikh Kouyate, James Tomkins, Maunel Lanzini, Adrian (Geoff's particular hero!), Carl Jenkinson and Julian Dicks all of whom posed for photos with him with good humour and patience.
And Geoff sends a big hug to Upton Girlie who, despite not being someone who "does" public transport, managed to get all the way from the Boleyn to Orpington by tube and train all on her own with only minimal assistance from me by text. Well done - we're proud of you and anyone who points out that many of us do exactly the same journey every bloody day is just being churlish!
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Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo
One slightly unconvincing punch in the first half but he was hung out to dry for the equaliser. Looked otherwise fairly solid.
Decent game including one clever run into space that might have ended better had he been able to dig the ball out of his feet a little better.
Always willing to push forward down the left.
Good to see him back. Showed good anticipation throughout though he allowed Lukaku to get between him and Tomkins for the goal.
Certain newspaper men in the press conference were going into raptures over Stones. However, the goal apart, Tomkins played just as well.
When Noble plays well Kouyate seems to be down a notch - and vice versa. Now when we get them firing together...
A good influential game from the skipper. Constantly probing and looking for something different. Not always successful but at least he was trying.
His powerful running caused Galloway problems all afternoon and, like Payet he got no protection from the officials. However, that was no excuse for what was an obvious attempt at a dive in the second half, which sees him docked a point. It's understandable I suppose given that, in Chelsea and Liverpool, he has on his CV two clubs where that sort of thing is positively encouraged. However, it's not something I want to see from our players thanks. MOTM though.
The goal was an absolute beaut. I just wish he were English so he could be ignored by Hodgson and kept under wraps for international breaks.
Was a delight to watch up to the point where his afternoon was ended by McCarthy's cynical challenge.
Not as bad as many are making out - one piece of control/turn and pass was beautiful to watch. However he was all too often isolated up front.
(Replaced Payet 50) Was looking lively until Coleman's follow-through ended his afternoon. His attempt to continue was brave, if misguided.
(Replaced Valencia 69) Apparently he apologised to the fans for this performance. Believe me I've seen much, much worse in my time.
(Replaced Carroll, 87) As ever when he appears he's usually on a hiding to nothing. Put himself about a bit to little avail.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
West Ham United:
Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell, Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Victor Moses, Manuel Lanzini, Dimitri Payet, Andy Carroll.
Manuel Lanzini 30 .
Mauro Zarate 91 .
Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman, John Stones, Ramiro Funes Mori, Brendan Galloway, Gareth Barry, James McCarthy, Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley, Arouna Kone, Romelu Lukaku .
Subs not used:
Darron Gibson, Joel Robles, Leon Osman, Mason Holgate, Steven Naismith .
Romelu Lukaku (42).
James McCarthy (33), Ramiro Funes Mori (58).
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