FA Cup
Norwich City 1 West Ham United 2

Saturday, 7th January 2006
by East Stand Martin

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in a toilet at a football match?

It seemed quite appropriate to see it there, given the culinary connections of the Canaries. Even so, it looked almost surreal, nestled on the sink, where you would normally find a piece of soap. A perfectly formed scotch egg, seemingly untouched, yet unwrapped.

Who could have left it there? Why take it in the bog in the first place? Had Delia slipped it in there as some kind of bizarre pre-match ritual? I need to know - surely someone knows the answer to this mystery of the abandoned snack in the khazi?

Places swapped

Today was about role reversal. This time last year the opposition was in the Premiership and we were in the Championship. We all hoped that unlike last year, the lower division team would not prevail. The signs were good as the player that probably could cause real problems for West Ham, Dean Ashton, did not appear on the pitch. You know, that was a sign that he must be on his way.

Our lineup looked pretty good with the return of Tom and Gabbers and Newton in for Yossi. Collins stayed in central defence alongside his old Cardiff pal, as there was a no show for Anton. Shaka, the living West Ham legend came in for Carroll, while on the bench was our latest acquisition from the Middle East.

The travelling support were in holiday mood and keen to put the inbred home fans in their place. "Six toes, you've only got six toes", they sang.

Mullins rocket

Two minutes in and Konch got poleaxed and went off clutching his hooter. Down to ten men, we seemed not to notice and concentrated on pinging some quality balls around the pitch. Marlon sent over a great ball to find Z-man in the box which nearly resulted in a goal. Immediately after this, on 5 minutes, we took the lead after Zamora foxed a defender in the box and laid off a ball to Mullins on the edge of the box. He hit a rocket off a shot which hit the inside of the right hand post and into the goal. Robert Green stood absolutely no chance.

"Ten men, we've only got ten men", sang the jubilant away support, along with a little reminder to Delia, "One Gordon Ramsay, there's only one Gordon Ramsay".

We looked in total control of the midfield, and were particularly dangerous down the left, where Norwich looked lightweight. The restored Konch and Matty were rampant.

Konch skewed a half chance wide on 13 minutes, and two minutes later Norwich had their first opportunity after Shaka failed to hold a free kick whipped in from the left. The box was crowded and Dickson Etuhu had to take a snap shot which he ballooned over the goal.

Konch and Matty were at it again on 17 minutes after a great 1-2 released Matty inside the box. He made for the dead ball line and put over a good ball across the six yard box which the Norwich defence did well to put behind for a corner.

Easyjet to Prague

Fearful of Tom leaving Carrow Road in a taxi to Stansted, the away support did what they could to change his mind with a raucous rendition of "Super Tom". He clearly wants to join his family back home, but we will all miss that Czech psycho. Maybe we'll see the return of the prodigal son, Glen Johnson in his place. Personally I hope so.

Zamora was beginning to look different class and out to prove that the manager had really no need to bring in a new striker. We all particularly enjoyed a sublime chipped pass over the top to Konch on 22 minutes and then a minute later a superb piece of control in the centre circle and a terrific run forward.

Emboldened by the West Ham play, the away fans were getting even more adventurous with taunts towards the home fans who had been stunned into morose silence by the goal and the lack of possession by their players. "Come on, let's be 'aving ya!" they mocked.

High and wide

The first piece of defensive nervousness by West Ham took place on 33 minutes, when Gabbers made a poor pass out of defence straight to a Norwich player who then got fouled in a dangerous central position about 25 yards out. We shouldn't have worried as Simon Charlton hit an awful shot into row ZZ of the stand.

Marlon got a weak shot on goal on 44 minutes which was easily held by Green. The move which followed saw Matty tread on the ball in his own half, but once again a Norwich shot sailed way over the bar.

The first half, to be frank, was a pretty dour affair. Norwich were simply not at the races and we had controlled the game with long periods of possession. Even so, there was only one goal in it and much could change in the second half.

No Manc replay

Two minutes after the restart and Z-man did some good work on the edge of box, weaved outside and flashed a shot across the face of the goal. From the clearance the ball came straight to Matty who made a menacing run down the left and delivered a perfect pass into the box to Marlon. It was like a carbon copy of the goal against ManUre, but this time, Marlon banged it inexplicably wide of the right hand post.

ON 49 minutes, Zamora went off on another incisive run down the right. He checked, looked up and put over a really good cross. Marlon decided that he had in fact been born in Sao Paulo rather than South London and tried a spectacular scissors kick which he executed well, but unfortunately hit the side of the post rather than the back of the net.

Mullins got brought down running into the box on 52 minutes and Mike Riley decided in his wisdom that the origin of the offence was outside the box just to the right of the D. We have not been taking advantage of these opportunities this season, but we went very close this time as the ball was laid back to Konch who unleashed a beast of a shot which got deflected just wide with Green helpless.

Confusing but in the net

Four minutes later and the game looked over as we witnessed the strangest West Ham goal to date this season. Matty broke free and fired in what looked like a cross. Green completely fluffed it as he was caught off balance and only managed to flap the ball into the ground. Z-man the predator was waiting and nodded the ball wide of the 'keeper from inside the six yard box under no challenge whatsoever.

Norwich managed a shot on goal from outside the box on 58 minutes but Shaka was on hand to comfortably palm over.

West Ham's response was quick and predictable, with Matty sprinting off again down the left on the hour. His cross was as dangerous as the others he had delivered earlier and Green did very well to pluck the ball off Z-man's foot.

Norwich couldn't breach an excellent West Ham midfield and Marlon nearly scored on 66 minutes after the ball rebounded forwards from a Reo Coker tackle. Unfortunately his touch was not as good as it should have been, allowing Green the opportunity to snatch the ball.

Fletch came on for Mullins on 67 minutes and a minute after this, Shaka had to gather a shot at the second attempt which was hit from the right about 25 yards out.

The hand of the ginger

Although hardly under any threat at all, Norwich were allowed back into the game on 70 minutes after a high cross was sent to the far post from the right wing. Collins, who'd looked unworried up until this point, went up to challenge for the ball and it appeared to strike his hand. Riley had no doubt and awarded a penalty which was blasted past Shaka by McVeigh.

It could have gone horribly wrong, but we just reverted back to the possession football we had played for most of the game. Pardew began to run the game down with substitutions. Dailly came on to shore up the midfield in place of Matty on 78 minutes and then Katan came on to a rousing welcome to make his Irons debut. The arrival of the Israeli prompted another wind up by the West Ham fans, this time in the direction of the Norwich directors' box, "Delia Smith, she burnt the toast."

Stretcher and brace

The last action of ordinary time with three minutes left ended up adding 7 minutes to the 90. Katan made a lovely pass to Konch down the left and he got over a dangerous cross which Green got to but not without clashing with the waiting Marlon. It looked serious as the stretcher and neck brace were brought on rather hurriedly and a long time elapsed before the injured keeper was taken off. The Norwich fans were accusing Marlon, but it looked like he had every right to challenge for the ball.

The best chance in added time fell to West Ham as Marlon turned quickly in the box and fired in a low shot which the replacement 'keeper Darren Ward managed to turn around the post. Norwich had one last go, but like the few efforts earlier, a shot from outside the box was well off target.

Although there was only one goal in this game, we pretty much ran it and Norwich offered very little indeed. We certainly look so much more solid when Gabbidon is playing and Matty has hit a rich vein of form. No-one could live with him today. Z-man looked very confident and our midfield pretty much bossed the centre of the park. All in all, an accomplished performance and unlike last year I think that we can allow ourselves the luxury of a little cup run. Let's hope we get those Lillysh*te tw*ts at home. Bring the f*ckers on, I say.

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Player Ratings

Shaka Hislop
Comments to follow.

Tomas Repka
Comments to follow.

Paul Konchesky
Comments to follow.

James Collins
Comments to follow.

Danny Gabbidon
Comments to follow.

Hayden Mullins
Comments to follow.

Nigel Reo-Coker
Comments to follow.

Shaun Newton
Comments to follow.

Matthew Etherington
Comments to follow.

Marlon Harewood
Comments to follow.

Bobby Zamora
Comments to follow.


Carl Fletcher
(Replaced Mullins, 68) Comments to follow.

Christian Dailly
(Replaced Etherington, 79) Comments to follow.

Yaniv Katan
(Replaced Zamora, 81) Comments to follow.

Stephen Bywater
Did not play.

Jeremie Aliadiere
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Shaka Hislop, Tomas Repka, Paul Konchesky, James Collins, Danny Gabbidon, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Shaun Newton, Matthew Etherington, Marlon Harewood, Bobby Zamora.

Goals: Hayden Mullins 5 Bobby Zamora 56                .

Booked: None booked.           .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Norwich City: Green, Charlton, Jarvis, Drury, Doherty, Fleming, Henderson, Etuhu, McVeigh, Thorne, Jarrett.

Subs not used: Shackell, Brennan.

Goals: McVeigh (pen 70).

Booked: Drury (86).

Sent off: None.

Referee: M.Riley.

Attendance: 23.

Man of the Match: tbc.