West Ham 3 Leicester 2
In Ken’s Café Nigel is asking what is the only league club that doesn’t contain any letters of the word mackerel, while Jo enquires what is the only team whose letters you can’t colour in (it’s Hull City). While Matt is tearing out selected pages from Time Out so he can recycle the rest in the bins by the East Stand. Middle-class football fans, eh?
At least we’re back to full strength in the East Stand, Fraser has recovered from a stomach bug, Matt’s voice is back and Nigel is over his man flu. And Robert Green is back in goal too.
We start a little tentatively. “That was terrible control from Faubert, He was awful on Monday night, and he ‘s only ever scored one goal for us…” muses Matt. “Why did Curbishley ever pay £6 million for him?”
But after 21 minutes Noble finds Carew who gets to the line and pulls back a fine cross. Baldock, manages to show a poacher’s hunger by outjumping the defence to head home.
JULIEN JULIEN JULIEN!
A minute later Noble finds O’Brien with an excellent crossfield ball and the full-back pulls the ball back for Gustave Faubert to stroke into the corner. The French novelist runs to the half way line looking upwards in disbelief and possibly thanking his WAG Madam Bovary.
“Always said he was a good player,” claims Matt, as a text arrives from Lisa asking if he now takes back all the abuse he was heaping on Jules in the pub on Monday night.
“How shit must you be, we’re winning at home!” chant the Bobby Moore stand. We agree it’s time that chant ended – we’re actually a good side at this level.
The booked Carew goes off after half an hour to be replaced by Piquionne. In the last quarter of the first period Leicester show signs of a revival and just miss a couple of pull-backs in the box.
We have two chances early in the second half. Piquionne outmuscles the defence but shoots at the keeper when he could have crossed for Baldock, while Collison declines to shoot when he has a clear opening.
Leicester pull a goal back through King after some bad defending allows King to elude McCartney and Nolan to score at the far post.
Leicester have most of the game now, but Schmeichel makes a brilliant save from Baldock’s low shot after McCartney’s fine cross.
But we appear to have won the game after 75 minutes when from Green’s kick Piquionne heads on and Baldock expertly prods home. A three-touch route one goal that will surely have had Big Sam salivating.
Only this being West Ham we soon concede a goal – albeit a brilliant volley from Andy King that flies into the top corner. Not much we could do about that one.
Journeyman striker Howard causes all sorts of problems for us in the air at the back. Leicester then go agonisingly close to equalizing as Tomkins’ deflects Howard’s effort on to the bar.
Young Freddie Sears comes on and has clearly been promised extra sweets when he goes trick or treating if he keeps the ball in the corner.
Noble manages to calm things down with some cool passes out of defence and after four minutes of stoppage time we celebrate victory.
“In a perverse way it’s encouraging. We’ve taken six points from two games we could have drawn,” says Nigel, at the end of a very entertaining match. Noble has played well and appears to be coming out of Parker’s shadow, while Baldock looks a quality striker.
We retreat to the Black Lion for some soothing Maldon Gold. Bottom of the table Bristol City next and the chance to go top — what could possibly go wrong?
George Osborne and Radio 4 channel Essex Man
18 hours ago