Another TV game for the Hammers today, as we travel to West Brom for what will be a tough game against a team rejuvenated this season by their new manager, our old number 2, Steve Clarke. Both teams are due a win, and are beset by injury. Sam only has 6 subs because of injury. Diame being out is a massive lost for the visitors. But a back to form Carlton Cole could be a light at the end of the tunnel for WHU. This game has draw all over it, to be honest.
This will be a live blog, so probably a little disjointed in part.
O’Neill comes into the middle (as hinted in his twitter, last week), to replace Diame. Odd but probably better than Tomkins at this level, in this position. Liam Ridgewell is out for the Baggies, so no old boys scoring against us this week !
WBA started the game the livelier, with a couple of decent attacks early on. Mark Noble to his credit seemed to be on this wavelength and was stopping attacks and starting counters with aplomb. As long as he keeps his feet to himself, as he will be banned for the home game against Everton if he gets a yellow.
Just when WHU dont need it, Reid goes down after 9 mins, after getting a WBA player land on him during a WHU free kick. He gets up but is hobbling gingerly.
1st shot on target was after 15 when Peter Odemwingie hit a long ranger into the arms of Jussi. Joey O’Brien seems a little uncomfortable in the left back berth, if I’m honest.
On 27, Shane Long had a half chance go just wide of the post. That really is all there is to report on, its was all a bit dull. Matt Taylor tried to put Cole in with a header but hit the keeper instead. Then Joey O’Brien picked up a yellow for a very unnecessary challenge. Like i say uncomfortable.
First corner for WHU on 31. Reid is very unlucky to put the James Collins head back just over the bar.
On 35 CC springs clear and unleashes a thunderous shot , which is stopped, and just goes past the advancing Kevin Nolan.
After a minute of stoppage time, the refs blows for what was a very quiet first half for both teams. 0-0. Tight as. Sky reckon WHU on top, i don’t agree with that, but neither keeper has had to have a stormer. Did I say a draw at the beginning ?
The second half starts much like the first, with the Baggies on top, and getting a 6 yard chance in the first minute, and 4 corners back to back, including one that ended u with WBA hitting the bar. Great news if you have a spread on, not good if you support WHU.
Gary O’Neill goes really close after an edge of the box scramble, with a curling 20 yarder.
After this exciting start, nothing happens until CC wins an unlikely ball on 55, and instead of just passing back, tries some fancy flick up, which goes straight to a WBA player. Shocking. The next minute sees Taylor hit a poor shot across the goal.
On the hour mark, WBA hit an almost identical shot to Cole’s in the first half. Jussi Parries away, much to their dismay. On 65 Reid beats long to the ball, to stop the once WHU target opening his account.
Taylor gets fouled on what looked like a good attack for WHU. From the resulting free kick O’Brien goes close. Even though the game is scrappy, WHU seem to be slightly on top, slightly being the operative word.
Spoke too soon, the Baggies got right back into this game, and are getting all the corners again, including one cross that hits the bar. WHU are leading a charmed life here.
On the 75 minute, like clockwork, on comes Maiga. But not for Cole, for Jarvis. Sam obviously sees a game to be won here. Then another sub with 10 to go. Tomkins comes on for Demel. Semi straight swap. CC seems to get a bang in the mouth from the next corner. Personally i think he’s time wasting. There, i’ve said it.
On 82 Steve Clarke takes the draw as he brings off Shane Long. Meanwhile Kevin Nolan and Malumbu get carded for some handbags as the game heads towards in inevitable conclusion. On 85 Tomkins gets himself a card for a deliberate obstruction.
Today seemed to be a case of 2 teams who don’t really know how to break down organised teams, and don’t have that star quality to change a game. Maybe Diame could of provided that, we will never know. I think both teams are guilty of being able to raise their game against better opposition, but cannot do it when they are playing similar teams. However WHU did earn their point today, but the frailties of the depleted squad were obvious. Hopefully obvious to the board as well !
The draw was a fair result, and pushes WHU back into touching distance of the top half.
MOTM here was not an easy decision, but James Collins edged it for me. Noble played well, as did Reid and Cole, but Collins seemed to be exactly where you needed him every time. Winston for Sky. What do they know !
Did i say a draw ? The 30 points I picked up in my prediction league for a correct score says yes !