West Ham musings by Pete May, author of Hammers in the Heart, West Ham:Irons in the Soul and Flying So High:West Ham's Cup Finals.
Monday, February 14
Ooh ah Demba Ba! I said ooh ah Demba Ba!
West Brom 3 West Ham 3
Unable to get my fix of bottom of the table Premier League football, I’m at Dagenham and Redbridge versus Yeovil for bottom of the table league one football. Makes a change to be standing and the locals even have a drum… sort of like the Nou Camp in Victoria Road for 2,000 fans.
“See you at Oldham next season,” texts Nigel after eight minutes, so I know we’re losing. Robbie Keane is out for six weeks after pulling a muscle, so our big transfer window coup has failed to come off.
There’s a big cheer from the Dagenham fans when the half-time score reads 3-0 to WBA. But as Richard Keys/Alan Partridge knows, success breeds envy. And even Dagenham are laughing at us now.
But it’s a different story after 90 minutes. Dagenham beat Yeovil 2-1 sparking a chorus of “How shit must you be? We’ve won at home!” from the home fans and astonishingly we’ve come back from 0-3 down to draw 3-3.
“Never in doubt!” I text to Nigel.
But he’s in a glass half empty mood texting back “Still only one point from Brum and WBA. At least Demba Ba looks a good buy.”
It’s a great game for Match of the Day.
Our defence is always going to struggle with Tomkins, Upson and Gabbidon all injured and Da Costa and Reid in the middle. WBA score after three minute when Dorrans strikes from 30 yards. It’s an unstoppable shot, although our marking could have been slightly tighter.
But their second after eight minutes is shambolic. Pederson allows Odimwinje too much time and then Thomas is allowed an athletics track worth of space to stroke home past Green.
At 2-0 down Carlton Cole has a goal disallowed, wrongly, for offside. But it’s game over after 32 minutes when a mediocre free kick drifts into our box and no-one gets a head on it. Instead of marking a forward the hapless Winston Reid ghosts round the back of our defence to glance home an own goal.
We do show signs of life before the break. Ba has a snap shot turned on to the post and O’Neil hits the bar with a long-distance rocket.
Piquionne comes on for Boa Morte and makes a big difference in the second half. We score what seems to be a consolation when Ba shows good chest control as he takes Noble’s lofted pass and slides the ball past the keeper. Seems like the lad’s a natural finisher.
Their defence starts to look as bad as ours. The unmarked Piquionne is allowed to head across the box and Cole bravely heads home, getting a kick in the face as he does so.
Surely we can’t get another? Piquionne rises superbly to head against the bar. After Green saves well from Odimwinjie, we break again. WBA give away a corner off Olsson’s shoulder and there’s Demba Ba at the back to score with another skilful volley into the ground and past the Albion keeper. We’ve done a Newcastle. The away end goes effing mental. We go above Wolves! We’re 19th!
You’ve got to admire our spirit and on chances we should have won it. What do we make of all this? Terrible defending, but in Ba we’ve unearthed a possible saviour and it feels almost like a win. If we get Tomkins and Upson back we might have a chance of survival.