From the Olympic Stadium to the East Bank, a trip down the leagues to see a possible FA cup winner ? Continue reading “Aldershot Town vs Torquay United FACQ4 14/10/2017”
Gutted is not a word I have used at Football since Mr Gerrard smashed in a 40 yarder past us in Cardiff in the FA Cup Final in 2006. That was a game we had led and should have won, and one moment of brilliance meant FA Cup glory eluded the Hammers once more.
Don’t know where to start with this one. For the first time in a long time (Everton in the league cup last year 🙂 ), WHU delivered on a night under lights..
It’s that time of year again, when thoughts turn to cup glory and the romance and fantastic stories that the FA Cup normally delivers.
None of these were apparent at Upton Park yesterday where an uninventive WHU beat a Wolves team looking for a draw.
The main problem from a hammers perspective was there was no one in the midfield who wanted to go forward until Payet came on. Noble, Song, Zarate, and Obiang were happy to pass it sideways all day long. Zarate tried a couple of shots from distance, and as usual refused to pass to players in better positions. Song and Noble seemed to be trying to make the perfect pass through defence with little success. All in all, this left Jelavic isolated and he lost interest pretty early on.
What also didn’t help was that Wolves played with 8 players back most of the time, which as Sheffield United demonstrated to Man U yesterday, is a little frustrating. This surprised me ,as they had some good breaks, and made the space, but then ran out of people to pass to due to them all being in their own penalty box.
It will not surprise anyone to know the first shot on target for either team was in the 16th minute.
Finally , Payet and Carroll were introduced and the game changed, for the better. It’s amazing how Payet lifts the whole team to play better. With 5 minutes to go, Carroll laid off the ball for Jelavic to smash in a great half volley.
So , we are in the hat for the next round, but will have to up our game to progress in this competition.
MOTM (after my slagging of the midfield) was Pedro Obiang. He kept breaking up play through tackling and sharp reading of the opposition passes.
As luck would have it I was working in Manchester the day after this game, so rather than watch on the telly, I ponied up the £45 quid and drove up to the icy Northern wastes of England to my date at Old Trafford.
Old Trafford was nearly full with over 71000 including 5000 noisy Hammers. Thats a lot of dough to watch 2 teams not even close to putting out their first teams. I’m of the assumption Fergie thought he had enough, and Sam thought Man U was a one shot game, and so sent out the kids in Spence and Potts, and had the weakest midfield i’ve seen start a game for some years. One good thing was Reid getting the armband. The way he has played this season, he deserves it (there I said it)
The game started pretty quiet with WHU on the back foot. This is starting to become a worrying trend for WHU, and something stat happy Sam needs to look at. So as expected after nine minutes, Hernandez crosses an easy pass for Rooney to sort out. One nil Man U.
This was a bit of an inconvenience, as the WHU fans were just getting into full voice (as no one else was) and were mid way through “Lets all do the Bartez”, when we had to take notice of the game. A small cheer from the 65000 + (!) utd fans, and then we got back into “who’s the w**nker in the white”. Now this was entertainment. Mr White was a guy in a white (surprise) jacket he enjoyed jumping up on his own to wave his arms about in response to the WHU fans songs. From what i understand, the Utd stewards are not big on “banter” or standing up. So despite that fact that about 20 ft away from Mr White there were 5000 WHU fans standing , our new friend got removed by the banter nazis, and was slung out to that well know East London ditty “He’s on a train back to London !”
Anyway, back to football. The first half played out a bit boring, with WHU looking a bit slow if I’m honest. RVT was bottling in a big way, and as I’ve said before, is not up to this level as yet.
Second half was way better with WHU moving the ball about, and Man U attacking in numbers as well. Potts and Spence came into the game well, especially Spence once he realised he could do Buttner 7 times out of 10. CC had a couple of chances and Diame started to get on things in the middle. Even Diarra seemed to be putting a shift in .
With about 20 to go Giggs rolled back the years and weaved through the WHU back line to have his cross met by Jordans Spence’s arm. It was ball to hand, but in front of the Stretford end what ya going to do ? So up steps Rooney and takes probably his last penalty for Man U, as he blasts it not just over, but Waddle circa 1990 over.
By this time Nolan and Collison were on and WHU smelt blood. For the last 15 we were on top and only some bad choices stopped us getting some shots off, as we were making spaces all over the Utd box. Best chance fell to Matt Taylor who was becoming more influential. All he needed to do was pass to CC (8 ft away) who was clear in front of goal, but he took on a shot that hit the side netting. Fergie noticed he was starting to dictate the game, and so put Paul Scholes on, who made it his first job to chop Taylor in half, and only pick up a yellow, which would of been a red card in any other ground. Not really my style to moan like that, but that’s how it was. Happy to have the debate as i would love to hear the defence ! Just as well he’s retiring again, as this season he is ruining a hard won reputation with fans outside of the red half of Manchester.
Elliot Lee made his debut in the last 10. I’m sure Dad Rob will be proud.
Anyway, game ends one nil ,and overall not a bad performance from the Hammers, but they really need to sort this 1st 10 minutes business out.
Oh and it was bloody cold.
MOTM. Didn’t looked phased by the venue, and is getting better every week, and now starting to show some skill to go with the basics. Dan Potts. Closely followed by Jordan Spence
Illness meant I had to give up my ticket for todays game, but watching it on the telly allows me a better blog, if albeit a little disjointed.
So just after Xmas, JC makes his appearance at Upton Park. Joe Cole make his return the the club that taught him his craft. This time though he is a WHU player meaning if he scores, its not so much of an issue this time!
Man U are Rooneyless today, and my condolences go out to Coleen on losing her younger sister thus weekend. However with RVP on the bench and Hernandez and Wellbeck starting they obviously fancy their chances. Vidic comes back in, and Scholes gets a rare start. Fergie has picked a strong team, and i feel they are the slight favourites.
Dan Potts and Joe Cole go straight into the team. Dan was a solid player when required last year and hopefully will be the same this term. JC could be the difference for a mostly flat looking WHU midfield. Nolan and Collins return from suspension today, meaning no starts for Joey O’Brien, scorer of the winner earlier in the week or Mark Noble, the other scorer in the game against Norwich. Collison and Diarra have also come in to the starting line up, suggesting Sam’s not that fussed regarding the tie, but does need players getting game time. However the fans will demand a decent display.
One bit of interest for me, is whether Vaz Te turns up or bottles against stronger players.
We get underway, and the opening exchanges are all Man U, with WHU getting their first kick after Jussi comes out to collect a pass (1.35 mins). Not looking great for WHU. After 5 mins they have not had a meaningful touch of the ball, suggesting the Hammers might get some sort of hiding here. Hernandez should of scored on 8.30 after a good cross from Smalling following an excellent cross ball from Scholes.
Vidic makes a massive save with an intercepting header from CC after a rare WHU attack led to a corner. After the first 10 minutes the game starts to open, and Jack Collison tries his chances from 30 yrds, just going over.
Just before the 20 minute mark, Dan Potts makes a classic goal line clearance from a Man U corner. That will do his confidence no harm at all. On 22 Man U open the scoring as expected, with a good cross from Hernandez finding Cleverly on his own to take an easy finish. Paul Scholes gets a booking just after for his 2nd cynical challenge of the game.
On 26 minutes Joe Cole crosses in an innocuous ball post a free kick, and finds James Collins who nods in well past De Gea to equalise. No one more surprised than me !! One one. JC has seemed to move over to the right, and swapped with Vaz Te and seems to be getting purchase.
Vidic is lucky not to give away a pen with a shove on Nolan just after the half hour mark. On 35 Danny Wellbeck makes a great breakaway post a WHU corner only to shoot straight into Jussi. Collison picks up a yellow for a Scholesesqe challenge on Rafael.
As the game winds up towards half time Utd are still on top but not to the level they were early on. One observation is Smalling doesn’t look to confortable at right back, he has knocked a forward pass out for a throw or goal kick three or four times. Just on half time CC powers through Vidic to pass to JC but just puts its behind him.
The 2nd half starts as you would expect, but with not a lot happening. On 56 CC goes close from another JC cross. Then on 59 JC throws in another great cross for Collins .2-1 WHU, well well.
First sub is made on 60 with Jarvis coming on for RVT. Question really is how long before Van Persie comes on for Utd. The answer is about 7 minutes when he comes on with Valencia, for Hernandez and Scholes.
On 72 Diarra comes off for Mark Noble. Hopefully he can sure up the middle of the park. The game goes a bit cold if I’m honest and Giggs comes on at 77. Joe Cole leaves the field at the same time to a standing ovation.
Back to back corners for utd on 80 were dealt with but you could tell WHU were getting more edgy. Matt Jarvis made a good run past Vidic, and encouraged a yellow card from the Utd skipper.
On 87 CC went so close after Nobes cushioned the ball back into Matt Taylor who moved it on to CC. Just as we head into Fergie time, up pops Van Persie as expected, to equalise after a great ball from Giggs.
Roll on a week for a replay at Old Trafford. United to go through. WHU had their chance today.
MOTM: Joe Cole was superb, CC played his arse off. Potts was magnificent. But James Collins scored 2 important goals for the hammers, so it goes to him. For Utd, Vidic was great against Cole all day, but his bit of madness on Jarvis took the edge off.