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Posts Tagged ‘Diafra Sakho’

WHUFC vs Manchester United 10/05/2016 EPL 2015-2016

May 11, 2016 1 comment

The 80’s are fashionable currently so I hear. Jordan 1’s are back in stores, as is garish gym gear. Women’s fashion seems to be very 80’s based currently and last week I swear I saw someone playing with a Rubik Cube on the train.

West Ham join in the revival and we get castigated ! I remember a time when smashing the opposition bus, having several thousand fans locked out the ground, starting the game an hour late, throwing bottles at their keeper (plus the obligatory, should be old enough to know better, pitch invader) ,  running a bar dry, and leaving the ground to make your way through riot police was a staple of most Saturdays. But now people just get hot about it.

OK I jest, but anyone who wasn’t there and has just read the websites and papers, and listened to Adrian Durham drone on (who wasn’t there either) will think (once again) WW3 broke out in Upton Park last night. I’m not condoning any of the above  (except the bar bit) but lets be real. Yes the streets were packed, yes loads of people without tickets were there, but a few idiots throw some bottles at a bus and it’s the ICF comeback. Nonsense. Absolute nonsense.

I spent about 5  hours there, and never heard a raised (angry) voice. But I heard many voices, all raised. The atmosphere was just something to behold. This fixture is always an occasion, but last night was off the chart. I was there for the last game of the South Bank, the North Bank and the West Stand, but this was something that will live with me forever.

All the stuff afterwards with the fireworks and all that, although I see some people liking it, isn’t for me and I scooted prior to the Rejects playing, which is a little annoying but like I say, that stuff isn’t for me

There was a video played on the screens, listing many of the players that had passed away but would technically been “young enough” to be there, and although John Lyall, and Graham Paddon were up there, obviously the big one was Sir Bobby Moore. The Man U fans spontaneously burst into a chant of his name. Class Act all round. It was that kind of night.

With all this going on there was a football game on as well, and although late, it was probably one of the best Premier League games of the season. Both teams still have their eye on 5th, and both put out very strong teams. Our nemesis, Mr Rooney, started for United which is usually ominous. But we seemed to contain him ,and he seemed a little off form, which doesn’t bode well for the Euros. Misplaced passes out wide were common place and we started to get the upper hand. For the first time in a long time we played two real strikers up top, I assume to keep the Utd centre backs busy, and it seemed to be paying off. Then Sakho bent one round De Gea from distance, and it was game on after  10 minutes. We had another chance when Carroll went clear from a great through ball from Payet but hit it straight at the keeper. Anyway, we held onto our lead to half time, and it looked like the dream night would happen. In the 2nd half Man U came out firing, and the wingers seem to be on their A game. In fact one of them, Mr Martial strolled though our defence to pick up a straight pass/cross and draw the visitors level. Did I expect it it ?  Yes. Did I expect a re run of the first 2 Swansea goals? No. Slaven needs to get the CB’s to work on position when there is an overlap, its just too easy for the opposition.

Soon after Martial got another one by getting into a stoppable position again, and the wheels were coming off. But the team fed off the incredible crowd, and in only 4 minutes, Antonio had equalised with a great header. Once again he had a set celebration ready, but Andy Carroll dragged him up the pitch. He knew it, we knew it, this was our night, and ours only, even if you are the most decorated team ever in the English game. Another 4 minutes, another goal, this time from the unlikely source of Winston Reid, whose other goal was pretty famous on the terraces as well, but will always now be the scorer of the last ever goal at The Boleyn.

We played out the last 10 minutes on the edge but for a change in control. So who won the game? The players played for the fans, the fans went berserk for the players, and Slaven was the architect. Did it mean as much to him as everyone else? Considering he was in tears at the final whistle, I think the answer was yes.

5th place is in the hands of others now, and I think the game at Stoke is a bit after the Lord Mayors show, so we have to see the shake out of FA Cups and UEFA cups to see if we get another shot in Europe in our new shed in season 1, but I for one will never forget this evening. Leaving earlier than most gave me a bit of time on my own taking one last look at the old girl and I left with a heavy heart, but hoping we can build this club on the potential that is now in place. Whether I will be along for the full ride will depend on how the new “experience” plays out, but I have my ticket, and we shall see.

Thanks for the memories, old girl..

MOTM: The Stadium and the Fans

 

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WHUFC vs West Bromwich Albion, EPL, 29/11/2015

December 2, 2015 Leave a comment

IMG_20151129_140203

Even the line up was a mess.

Not a lot to write home about for this game if I’m honest, hence why it’s been filed a few days late.

Ogbonna came in for Tomkins and Noble and Payet were replaced by Obiang and Zaurate.

West Ham started lively enough, but seemed to struggle breaking down a typical Pulis team. However that all changed when we got a free kick just after the quarter hour mark. Up stepped Zaurate who proceeded to bend the ball into a postage stamp space in the top corner. Mark Noble could have been out there forever and not scored a set play like that.

The Hammers proceeded to be on top for the rest of the half but had no clear cut chances to extend their lead.

At half time Pulis popped on the Liverpool failure, Ricky Lambert, who you always knew was going to be busy. Within 5 minutes he lashed a shot goalward, which hit Reid on the back, and deflected in for an own goal.

We then brought on our own Liverpool failure, Mr Carroll, as Obiang was struggling trying to cover the midfield. To be honest AC never looks comfortable with Sakho, which is a little bit of a worry. Not for Andy though, as Sakho was carted off with what could be a serious injury after a very promising attack from the Hammers ended up with his shot hitting the side netting. Antonio came on for a cameo appearance near the end, but we didn’t really get to see anything.

The game drew to its inevitable drawing conclusion, and West Brom went away happier I think. But after getting tonked by Spurs last week, we should take some comfort as well.

Points or order: Carl Jenkinson is going backward at a rate. Literally. He refuses to take on those runs he used to, and keeps passing backwards for no reason. Zaurate on the other hand, takes on too many runs and loses the ball too often, and holds on too long. Very selfish. No one else disgraced themselves, or played a blinder. MOTM to Adrian for his save late on, that kept the game at 1-1, and won us a point to go back up to 7th (for while).

Highlight of the game was the bags that invaded the pitch in the second half due to crazy wind. It made the game look more like a Sunday League game more than it already did.

Man U away this week, which I don’t expect much from, but the form book for both teams currently suggests a 0-0. After that we should be picking up points again heading into the new year, but we will have to do it with a skeleton front line. Did Carlton Cole go on loan to Celtic……….?

 

 

WHUFC vs Norwich City EPL 26/09/2015

September 27, 2015 Leave a comment

It's all kicking off at Upton Park

It’s all kicking off at Upton Park

Yesterday we welcomed one of the new teams to the Premiership. I for one, was not sure of victory as we had had a tough game at Leicester during the week, which was lost  in extra time. This was born out by the WHU start which was leggy to say the best. Noble and Kouyate especially were out of sorts and just looked knackered. Just as well we are not still in Europe !

Noble summed this up just before the 10 minute mark, by directing a lazy pass across our goal looking for Tomkins. This was intercepted by Brady who coolly opened the scoring for the canaries.

West Ham huffed and puffed throughout the half. Just after the half hour mark we managed an equalizer when Payet and Sakho combined well to finish with a tap in to make it 1 – 1 at half time.

No subs at half time for WHU , which surprised me, as I wouldn’t have been amazed to see neither Noble, Koutaye, or Jenkinson come out for the second half.

The second half was very much more of the same in what was becoming a easy to forget game. Nathan Redmond came on near the end and I imagine thought he had scored the winner when once again Noble fell short to allow Redmond’s shot to find Adrian’s bottom corner.

Then WHU woke up, and we threw everything at them including Andy Carroll who got himself into a couple of good positions, which were well covered by Ruddy, who also made a great save from Payet. Ruddy’s luck ran out when he tried to punch out a Free kick with Carroll bearing down on him and got it as far as Kouyate, who finished well to secure a draw with seconds to go

So, a point at home keeps us in 3rd and 1 point closer to Man City, but Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham, are 2 points closer to us. Fairplay to Slaven, who had no problem taking off our Captain, as he was having a shocker, maybe a little earlier next time. He also finished with 2 up top, which is encouraging, but with Moses and Payet, you will always have some sort of forward presence.

The Norwich fans seem to be turning into some sort of Palace style “Ultra” support model, which is funny if nothing else.

MOTM was both goalkeepers who kept the goals with some great saves, especially Adrian with his face, which must of stung a bit. With all these saves you would think the game was a classic, it really wasn’t. It was a bit of an attritional game and the score was about right, although Norwich may feel they shaded it, but they did sacrifice the lead twice.

WHUFC vs FC Lusitans (Andorra) UEFA Cup Qualifier 02 July 2015

July 6, 2015 Leave a comment

New job has meant I’m a bit behind on the blog. I still have 2 to do on our last trip to vegas (here) and one for this game. The first of the season, on the second day of July, in the boiling heat of old London town.

Despite the litany of dour behaviour that was Sam Allardyce, his poor tactics had one silver lining. You see, if you don’t tackle anyone, ever, and shake the 4th officials hand after the game, you get chucked into the 2nd tier of European competition, along with the Dog and Duck of Armenia, and Ebbsfleet under 17’s, right at the beginning. And so our European tour begins…..

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Tottenham Hotspur vs WHUFC EPL 22/02/2015

February 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Its been a while so even though I’ve watched this on the telly, I thought I’d put in a match report.

Spurs had a tough game against Florentina a few days earlier and WHU had a weeks rest after their embarrassing exit from the FA cup at the hands of West Brom the previous weekend. So we had a chance, but recent games would suggest the opposite with Spurs and Harry Kane on the rise and WHU losing form like a 3 legged horse.

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WHUFC vs Manchester City EPL 25/10/2014

October 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Over she goes

Over she goes

Last season Man City beat us 9-0 over 2 legs in the League Cup semi final and won the premier league, as well as the cup. Today was a test of how far we have come since then, with the new look team and style. Anything short of a hiding would be an improvement over previous encounters. Sam had suggested this was a good time to play them with their mid week trip to an empty stadium in Russia behind them, and I tended to agree. It worked for our Liverpool game !

Both teams lined up pretty much how you would expect, and the Song / Toure match up seemed a mouthwatering prospect. The ground was packed to the rafters, and for a change the atmosphere was electric and expectant. We actually thought we could win. Personally I thought if we could keep them quiet for half an hour, we may have a chance.

However City came out of the blocks flying, and as i thought he would be, Silva was dictating the play, and laid a couple off to Aguero which another day, would of had a different result. We coped with the onslaught by having Song cover every blade of glass, and drive his fellow midfielders on to get back and help out as well. One example was our attack breaking down, and City countering quickly. He must of run 70 yrds to collect the ball off the toe of Dzeko in our box.

After a long 10 minutes we started to get the ball and actually play. We were pushing them back and stopped them playing. Cresswell and Jenkinson were pushing their overlaps further and further back assisted by Sakho and Valencia getting among  the back four to stop any counters being launched. This set the tone for the rest of the half. One loose ball came to Song who threaded a world class ball through for Valencia out wide on the right. He went round Clichy and got to the byline to cross a simple ball avoiding Hart for Amalfitano to tap in to open the scoring for the Hammers. Crowd go wild with chants of “we’re going to win the league”. One nil West Ham.

City did not recover and at half time WHU were quite comfortable with their lead.

The second half was more closing down by WHU high up the pitch, and we started to believe. But you knew we needed at least one more goal. This came on 75 minutes with the ever impressive Cresswell getting down the line to cross for Sakho to head into the corner, and the ball was scraped out by Hart. From my angle, it wasn’t in, but it’s not up to me, and the lino and the technology adjudged it to be over (see photo above), and Sakho gets his 7th in 7 starts. Roof lifts off the ground, and WHU fans start doing the “Posnan” much to the chagrin of the City supporters. 2-0.

Literally from the kick off, Silva shows his quality, by running through half our team to slot in a great goal for City, and set up the finale.

I’ll be honest, some last ditch defending and some saves from Adrian and the post / crossbar kept the visitors out from here on in. Aguero will be having nightmares regarding his shot that hit the bar from within the 6 yards box. Talking of defenders, Kompany should of not still been on the pitch, as once he started to lose it, he decided to kick Valencia all over the pitch. At least 4 times, and only got one yellow. I think the ref needs to have a look at himself today.Nolan, Kouyate and Cole came on to see the game out, and did their jobs well. I hope Nolan (and Sam) understands this will be more the norm for him, these days

Anyway, all told, WHU won and we really deserved it, and that is the important part. The team has been upgraded, we have had a little injury scare, and brought squad players in, and we are still doing well, and find ourselves in 4th, and it’s not a false position. Will we stay there? Probably not, but with Stoke and Villa up next, we dare to dream with some justification.

As much as it pains me to say, Sam has had more than a shout in this, but he needs to deal with this with humility (not a strong point) and not ram it down the fans throats.

MOTM was Song by a mile. If we can change the loan to a permanent move, it could up Sam’s relationship with the fans immeasurably.

On another note, we spoke to a few City fans afterwards, and not one gave us a hard time, and said we deserved the win. Class

WHUFC vs Liverpool 20/09/2014 EPL 2014/2015

September 21, 2014 3 comments

Not a massive fan of late kick offs so I dragged myself down to Upton Park for this game which had been moved for our friends on the telly. Having a chat with Angry pre game, and some random turns up and gives us free beer as his mates had disappeared, so the day was looking up. Anyway the bottom line of this chat, was that for us to get anything out of this, Liverpool needed to be having an off day. But at least we have a chance after it appears that Sam’s attacking football ™ is starting to gel, following the Hull game last Monday.

So the game starts in front of a vocal full house and the atmosphere is electric. After 90 seconds it goes to 11 once Winston Reid scores from a Tomkins knock down, the put the hammers into the lead. As everyone was settling into the pattern, of Liverpool attack and WHU counter, when Sakho lofted over Mignolet from the right hand side to double the lead, within 6 minutes. Now, whether it was really a cross or not, I’ll leave for him to answer, but from the Bobby Moore Upper it looked fantastic.

Being a West Ham fan, you know this isn’t enough, so the more Liverpool got the ball, the more concerned for the final result you were. And they got the ball a lot, but Balotelli and Sterling didn’t really offer the threat of a Sturridge and Suarez. One other highlight in the first half was everyones favourite pantomime villain Balotelli, going straight through Adrian, and nearly get a hiding for his trouble, but in the end they both settled for yellow cards. Liverpool got one back just before half time, when a Balotelli shot rebounded off Cresswell onto an onrushing Sterling to fire into the bottom left corner, with a well taken strike. The half time conversation was not as comfortable as you would expect being 2-1 up, and we started the second half waiting for inevitable. Which never came. The scousers battled on and had way more ball. but there was no plan B outside of give it to Sterling. Gerrard wasn’t driving on and Henderson looked like he had regressed two years.

West Ham had the odd counter, but to be fair this period wasn’t as eventful as the first half, unless you count Lovren chasing after Valencia, because Valencia won the ball in the air, but Lovren was convinced he had been butted (he wasn’t, but he had taken a massive bang in the head in first half, so maybe can be forgiven for his reaction). With 2 minutes to go, WHU broke and an improving Downing threaded through a great ball for new boy Amalfitano to slot home the final goal of the game, and end any hope Liverpool had of points today.

I don’t say this very often, but Sam got it right today, keeping Sakho and Valencia up top, and putting in Alex Song with Noble. Alex Song. Now this guy is some player. He doesn’t do any more than anyone else, but everything he does is completed correctly, and without fuss. He makes every pass and sees balls that our other midfielders don’t. And he knows when to put himself out there to pick up a card, just to stop the game. Lets hope he stays. Also something else i don’t say a lot, Downing played well, and seems to be happier in his distribution now we have a quicker frontline. Lets hope Sam allows this midfield to continue to flourish, once Nolan is fit.

Sam also made the right call, by throwing on Collins as soon as Rodgers put in Lambert, to make sure the existing players on the pitch didn’t have to change their style to combat a new offence.

So well played Sam, well played West Ham, and well played Alex Song (MOTM). Going back to my pre game chat, I don’t think Liverpool had an off day, I think they are just at that level without Sturridge. They better enjoy the CL this year, because I don’t think they will be in it next year. Also, If Sterling and Borini would like to stop the diving, that would be nice as well.

Is Adrian angling for a move to Real Madrid. Nice kit anyway.

Is Adrian angling for a move to Real Madrid. Nice kit anyway.

Lovren getting some serious attention from the medical staff

Lovren getting some serious attention from the medical staff