WHUFC vs Cardiff City 17/08/2013 EPL 2013/14

The new season has finally come round and where better to start than against a recently promoted team? Two years ago we entertained CCFC in our first game in the Championship. This time both teams are in the Premier League, but one has an extra years experience.

This summer Sam had been quietly going about his business. Securing Carroll, picking up Ratz and Downing, reintegrating Morrison back into squad. The net result of this pitchside was exactly the same team from last year with Maiga replacing Carroll / Cole.

BUT…. we looked fit. Joe Cole and Nolan for example had definitely dropped some timber over the summer. Ravel had made the bench, along with Downing. RVT was there as well, but Downing coming in might accelerate his exit (hopefully). I will also mention at this point that i was wearing shorts, the first time in nearly 3 seasons. About time !

West Ham started the game looking assured, and Cardiff started at pace, moving the ball around snappily. But after a while it was apparent where the experience laid. One thing i noticed in our first year back in the prem was the fact that the game, although slightly slower than the Championship, is way more accurate and bad passing is punished. This was happening to Cardiff who made a sequence of bad passes, particularly when in attacking positions. Nolan and Noble seemed to be picking up presents everywhere simply by closing down quickly.

One of these led to Matt Jarvis getting down the wing with 13 mins on the clock. His cross was looking all the world like a normal ball into the air until he cleverly cut back and found Joe Cole with a well placed pass. Cole collected, spun and smashed it past Marshall to open the Hammers account for 2013/14.

The game pattern had pretty much been set. Cardiff attacks breaking down and West Ham keeping Marshall and the Cardiff back four busy. As usual the second half came around and we still hadn’t got the second goal we needed. Cardiff showed signs of reinvigoration through Bellamy and Campbell’s interactions, but with no other assistance, most of this effort came to nothing.

We were also looking stale so Sam mixed things up a bit. He brought on Downing after 70 mins. JC should of made way as despite his goal, Jarvis was tearing Cardiff apart on the left. But BFS being BFS he took off Jarvis (is Sam scared of big name players ?).

For a fella who had reservations about coming to WHU, Downing looked like a man reborn, getting straight into the game. Just four minutes into his hammers career, he shot down the right again, and fed in Mark Noble. Nobes in turn pushed it into Nolan who wasted no time in firing past Marshall to double the score. This left the result in no doubt.

I have it on good authority that Cardiff have not finished spending and on watching this game, this is really needed. Some of those lads need to adjust quickly if they are serious about staying up. Their fans will follow them everywhere though, and this must help. Special mention to Craig Bellamy. A firm favourite of mine in his short spell at WHU, he still makes those lung bursting runs, and still looks a class act. He also got warm applause from the West Ham fans when he was substituted.

On the subject of fit for premier league. Maiga? Please. He was getting shoved off the ball all the time. If he has been kept in favour of Carlton Cole, then someone really needs to have a word with BFS.

In short a great start for the Hammers and a 3 point lead on a team we could be struggling against come the end of season. Will Cardiff stay up ? Judging on one game is harsh, so i’ll just say investment is required.

MOTM: On the first half performance, JC by a mile. But over 90 minutes, it has to go to the new trim Kevin Nolan. A goal, loads of blocks, tackling and running back,  he gave the Hammers a real captain’s performance.

My view of the new season.

Can I leave you with this. You really need to take a look at yourself if you are wearing a shirt with the name of a player on the back who is younger than you.

Oldie with Moore 6. Acceptable. 30 years old with Greaves 9. Fine. 40 years old with Wilsher 10 (saw 3 on the way home). Sad and unacceptable. You are not 12.

West Ham United vs Cardiff 07/05/2012 Playoff Semi- Final second leg

After the great result away from home last week, today’s game should of been a walk in the park, as long as the first half an hour went well. Cardiff had sold their allocation, and fair play to them being 2 0 down after the first leg.

After quarter of an hour , the summers went or nil up after Nolan followed  up from a corner to header in our first. West Ham were dominating, and got the clincher just before half time when Vaz screamed in a cracker across the Cardiff  goal and into the top corner.

The second half was dire as you would expect with the tie in no doubt, but Nicky Maynard also hit a screamer to make it 3 0 in the dying minutes, and 5 0 on aggregate.

The only downer was Jack Collison leaving the field with a suspected broken collar bone, which would be a shame as he has started to look the part again.

Short report for a short game.

2 weeks till Wembley !


MOTM Winston Reid

Told you it would be OK !

Cardiff City vs West Ham United 03/05/2012 Championship Play Off Semi Final

Come the hour and all that. Here we are at the end  of the season, with West Ham having failed in their quest for automatic promotion, only to meet their start of the season conquerers Cardiff City, in a game that ‘dif fans are delighted about having sneaked in the top six on the last day for their third consecutive play off campaign. Normally the team with momentum win out, but it’s been a long season for both teams, and now the slate is clean. The punters are saying West Ham with their squad and money (!), but Cardiff have the experience of this situation. Once again this game finds me on the sofa, for a bit of live blogging. Having read the last one, i apologise up front for mixed tenses.

West Ham lined up with a nearly unchanged team from the win against Hull, with Collinson coming in for Lansbury.

Cariff nearly get a sneaky of the bat with Whittingham putting one just over the bar after 1 minute, the Rob Green made a save from Miller after 2 minutes. All in all a shaky start from WHU. Nerves ?

Obviously not, after withstanding the early pressure, Jack gets on the end of a quality Vaz Te cross to go one nil up in the 9th. Get in. Nice work chaps.

WHU seem to settle, after this but not without some continued pressure from Cardiff. The game then went a bit tit for tat niggly, which seems to suit Cardiff better. By half an hour the game appeared to be going flat but the Hammers seem to have most of the possession. By 35 Cardiff were back on top after a dismissed penalty claim, and a near miss ranger from Miller. It also appeared that CC had taken a knock, as he slowed dramatically. Then after 40 minutes, WHU doubled their lead against the run of play, as Jack again got the second from distance (with some help from a defensive deflection). Great save from Marshall to deny CC a goal just on the stroke of half time.

Cardiff started off like a train in the second half, with several chances in the first 10 minutes. WHU appeared unsettled with James Tompkins getting a card for losing the plot with the ref. And then Noble gets a yellow for half a tackle just after the hour mark, about 30 seconds before Miller fires another ball over. Then Nolan get a card for diving in on the ‘dif keeper. In amongst all this McCartney came on for Vaz Te, who did seem quiet.

With 70 mins gone, WHU seemed to be back in control, of tempers and the ball. Nolan could of put the game beyond doubt when he put a clear header wide from an excellent Taylor cross (one of few tonight). At 74 Faubert replaced an improving Guy Demel.

With 2 mins to go McCartney nearly gave away a penalty, luckily the ref didn’t agree. But he did find 5 mins of ET from somewhere.

The game ended as the last game here for the Hammers, in a 2-0 victory. A professional victory but not an easy one. The first half hour on Monday will tell where this tie is going.

Told you it would be OK !

MOTM Jack Collinson (who else). Ran close by Carlton Cole.

Cardiff City vs WHUFC 04/03/2012 Championship

Watching a game on the telly, when it’s raining outside is never a bad thing. I could claim a family connection today as apparently Don Cowie is a second cousin of mine, but as we have never met and he doesn’t read this, I’ll leave it there. Don, if you do read this , Hi Cus. LOL.

West Ham had lost Winston Reid and Faubert during the week, so Nolan came back post ban, and Tomkins moved back into the back 4. Lansbury came in to the midfield after his 2 goals for the under 21’s during the week. With Maynard and Vaz Te up front, I assuming Sam wants a quick front line. Nolans reinclusion meant Noble had to drop into a holding and carrying role, despite playing at his best in the last 3 games, in a further forward position.

The first 15 passed with no excitement, but both teams had half chances. Cardiff were showing no signs of tiredness after their Carling Cup exploits the previous week. Maynard missed an absolute sitter in the 20th after a nice head back in from Collinson.

After 35 Gesate had the be replaced for Cardiff, after pulling a hamstring, so maybe there were some cup final gremlins about.

At the 42 minute mark, Collinson broke up play to get the ball through to Maynard. He delivered a great ball through to Nolan who struck a sublime pass into the net. That was the first shot on target in the whole game. One nil WHU, half time.

Early in the second half Faye played a beautiful ball to Vaz Te, who rounded the keeper, but was cut off from putting into an empty net. 2 minutes later Vaz Te showed some serious inexperience in not putting Nolan through. Maynard missed another stone wall chance after  headed a pass back straight to NM on his own, who then shot straight at the keeper.

At 61 mins Faye got away with murder father he blatantly brought down an oncoming Cardiff player in a great position. Everyone saw it, except the ref

CC came on shortly afterwards for Maynard. wrong decision IMO. Should of taken off VT if anyone. Whittingham hit the post with a fantastic free kick from some distance at 67. Cardiff at this stage were in the ascendency and WHU were starting to look sloppy, and tired.

For the last 15 Gary O’Neill came on for Lansbury, who had been quiet. In the 76 minute McCartney ran over the half the length of the pitch, go a luck bounce of a defender and pushed it in the bottom corner to register his first goal for WHU in this spell of his tenure.

So another hard won 3 points for west ham, but we do need to look at some issues within the team. Vaz Te needs to get some bottle and put his foot in when needed. Collison played better than recent weeks, and maybe now will take to the left hand side, instead of wanting to play in the middle.MOTM for me was again Mark Noble. He had a very solid game and shepherded the Cardiff middle well.

The main issue I now have is this Portsmouth business. Why should anyone lose 6 points after working hard for 2 good wins. Should this happen and we don’t go up, it will be a disgrace and give Southampton effectively another 5 points. I don’t care if Pompey play their youth team in a park every week, they have to see out their fixtures. I do feel sorry for their fans, but ,I have no sympathy for bad management of both money or personnel.