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.
Sunday, September 23
We need to talk about Kevin's goal
West Ham 1 Sunderland 1
Outed as a part-timer... Trying to fit in travelling on the 6pm train to Bristol for a Dexys gig meant that I left the match at 90 minutes, telling Nigel, CQ, Matt, Fraser and Michael the Whovian that we were certain to score once I'd left. Sure enough clucking Kevin Nolan netted while your man was jogging down Green Street. The lads tell me it was a Maradona-like run beating ten players or possibly a 70-yard screamer into the top corner or a Di Canio-esque volley.
Even if we'd lost though, I'd have been encouraged by the team spirit. West Ham go behind early in the game. After a Barcelona type passing movement at the back (ironic for an Allardyce side) Collins plays a terrible ball and Sunderland break. Fletcher nets confidently from Larrsson's cross. "Stephen Fletcher… He scores when he likes…" sing the away fans. McLean slices wide but WHU come back. There are some signs that Demel is returning to form. He makes one great challenge that sets up Vaz Te to cross for Nolan, whose overhead kick produces a brilliant save from Mignolet. Vaz Te with a header and Nolan again both go close.
In the second half West Ham batter the Sunderland defence in which O'Shea and Bramble excel. Diame has a storming game. Collins almost atones for his error by heading against the bar and the Irons force endless corners. Substitute Matt Jarvis makes a big difference and flights in crosses from every angle. Good to see Yossi get a run-out too. The crowd get behind the side though it looks like being a Sunderland away win until mystic May leaves and precipitates the equaliser.
In Bristol Kevin Rowland is on fine form for Dexys despite being older than Sam Allardyce and it's great to hear the whole of the new album and old classics like Tell Me When My Light Turns Green, What's She Likeand Come On Eileen. And in response to Matt's text, no I didn't leave two minutes before the encore...