The second half exposed West Ham's soft underbelly..but we shall overcome !Saturday was a game of two halves alright,the first although not perfect,saw West Ham produce possibly their best football of the season at the Boleyn Ground,the passing and movement being truly exellent.Carlton Cole ,although his first touch let him down again,resulting in him giving the ball away cheaply, led the line extremely well,and was a constant menace to the Hull City defence ,with his pace and power.Vaz Te even on a off day proved how vital he is to West Ham's cause,keeping defenders occupied by having to guess what he was going to do next.Make no error about it,West Ham need Vaz Te performing at the top of his game,to win the play offs.If not i have my doubts whether we will get past Cardiff.
Once Vaz Te departed in the second half,and Cole to a lesser extent,for the rest of the second half,the soft underbelly of the team was exposed.We were like a punch drunk boxer,clinging onto the ropes,waiting for the gong to go, to signal the end of the fight.We were that bad if the game had gone on another five minutes,Hull City would of got at least a draw.With the sole creative outlet in Vaz Te gone,the ball was hoofed forward to Baldock and Maynard,no wonder they looked out of sorts.What chance did two midgets stand amongst two huge central defenders? Baldock became so frustrated by the lack of decent ball played to him and Maynard,that on occasions, he dropped so deep to collect the ball,he was in his own half !
So brittle was our confidence,that Hull City cut through us like a dose of Epsom salts.Im afraid with Green in goal the opposition always have a chance.He makes the defenders nervy !People accuse me of being a Green 'hater',im not,he's been a great club servant.But he's ALWAYS one mistake away from disaster.People always say he 'saved' us,but thats no use if you make an error five minutes later,that cost us the game.His big weakness is crosses,he used to be like a startled rabbit,come for them and punch the ball onto the opposition strikers head, the next thing,the ball is in the back of the net.Nowdays,knowing that he is weak with crosses,he stays rooted to his line offering the opposition a free header !
A goalkeeper is supposed to take command of his penalty area,come for crosses and collect them,launch an attack ,by releasing the ball quickly.Come on admit it !The defence didn't wobble with Almunia in goal !The sudden conceeding of last minute goals stopped overnight.He would come and collect the ball , releasing it instantly.Robert Green's best form this season has been when Andy Faye has been in the team, and playing well.Think back yourselves,as soon as Faye's not been in the team ..problems.Faye is immense in cutting out crosses ,before they hit the danger zone,as a result Robert Green's obvious weakness was not exposed.During that period Robert Green was relaxed ,confidence was high, and he played well.
Both Reid and Tomkins have been immense,especially Reid who was outstanding in defence,and foraging forward in attack.So Allardyce has really got a hard choice to make ,as far as the first leg against Cardiff is concerned.But you can't go into a vital game with a rocky goalkeeper and defence.So i would be sorely tempted to start Faye in the team .However their are a lot of plus points,so no need to be too negative.We have played a lot of really good football lately.Individuals are also starting to lift their game,Demel although making the cock up ,alongside Green,that gifted Hull their goal,is getting better each match.Always wanting the ball,he is like a tank when he strides forward with the ball ! Taylor does well comming from the back,in the diamond formation.
Gary O'Neill had another good game in a more central position,his workrate is unbelievable !Lansbury put in a sublime cross for the second goal,this boy is also going to get better the longer he stays in the team,he has the ability to take the game by the scruff of the neck, be able to win the game with a moment of magic.The play off's are the perfect stage for Lansbury.Their are rumours that should we get promoted,there is a contract on the table for Lansbury.Every time i see Tomkins play im impressed,composed,elegant,read's the game well,a goal threat at corners,no longer easily turned,by the opposition strikers .When we can still produce a player of Tomkins calibre,their is not only hope for The Academy Of Football,but a promise of an exciting future
Saturday i managed to have a quick word with David Gold,i then went back too my seat,some eight rows beind him,i continued to watch him,as the players did the lap of honour,Mark Noble with his little kid the last to leave the pitch.Other supporters left,still Gold sat,almost like a little kid,mermerized by being taken too the circus.It dawned on me that at the age of 75,he was living the dream,The message was clear,he still believed in the dream,despite a roller coaster of a ride as chairman,he was as passionate about West Ham as ever
Its a passion like that shared not only by David Gold,but by the thousands that love our great club,that deserves to be rewarded.It is strenghth like that,that makes me believe that:We shall overcome.Its going to be tough , we can't afford to be arrogant ,or wallow in self pity.The first game is the dangerous one,where you can get caught cold,suddenly your 2-0 down after twenty minutes,you don't recover and lose the game.Leaving you with an often unsurmountable task in the second leg,and it's good night Vienna.
Cardiff will come at us like hell fire in the first twenty minutes,we've got to take the sting out of the their attacks,impose ourselves,do that and we're half way too Wembley.Should we reach Wembley,i don't care who we play,Blackpool or Birmingham ,we'll beat them.After the Hull game,Ricardo Vaz Te was smiling and signing autographs,joking with the fans,he looked up smiled and said to the one lad :"Me ? Jokerman "So often in recent years fate has been unkind to West Ham United.Sometimes i think we've never recovered from that last minute Steven Gerrard strike ,that cost us the FA Cup.How fitting for the joke to be on another club this time round.How fitting would it be, should the curse be lifted at Wembley,by the jokerman !We are more than a football club,we're a way of life !COYI'S