Boleyn brief: West Ham United 2 Leeds United 2

The Seventy Two is finally settling into a rhythm now that the season is in full swing. One of the regular features you can expect is an update on the feelings of West Ham United fans as Sam Allardyce’s side get to grips with the Championship following the club’s relegation from the Premier League. Stuart Fuller is our man at Upton Park.


Two weeks ago I said “Keep calm and carry on” after the last minute defeat to Cardiff City. And sure enough, two good wins on the road, with five scored and none conceded, brought the confidence flowing back through the gates at Upton Park for the game with Leeds United. But just how much of a yardstick were wins against Doncaster Rovers and Watford? We were to see as the 90 minutes unfolded.

I hate saying “I told you so” but I told you so. Some weeks ago on this very website, I mentioned Allardyce would struggle to accommodate the “Holy Trinity” of Parker, Noble and Nolan and again there was proof of that. A 4-5-1 formation with a lumbering Carlton Cole, and the three midfielders unsure who should go forward and who should hold meant most of the time Winston Reid’s pointless long balls simply sailed over everyone’s heads into no man’s land. West Ham played brightly in spots but it was Leeds who can be slightly disappointed at two points lost rather than a point gained.

Both the Hammers goals showed signs of fortune – firstly Cole’s flick didn’t seem to be intended as a goalbound effort and took most of the Leeds defence by surprise as it went over the line, and you will not see many better strikes than for the second goal, albeit in the wrong net. There were some patches of play that were high in quality. The build up to the equaliser would have graced the Camp Nou. Julien Faubert, having just come on a substitute, revelled in a more forward role and charged down the flank before sending in an unstoppable cross which was turned into the Leeds net. The Hammers also had a purple patch, laying siege to the Leeds goal for a ten minute period in the second half with Andy Lonergan making a couple of great close-range saves.

But Leeds will feel they could have won all three points. Adam Clayton and Jonny Howson in central midfield were impressive, as too was Max Gradel when he decided to stay on his feet instead of falling over under the slightest touch. Gradel will also look back on his poor penalty in the first half which he put wide as a chance to be the hero rather than the villain.

The Leeds fans never gave up getting behind their side, and if they take that level of support everywhere this season it will really spur on the team. It was surely a factor in the last minute equaliser as Howson’s shot hit the bar and Clayton was on hand to smash the ball home.

Again, lots to think about for Sam Allardyce. Sorting out the midfield three is a priority, as well as getting a second option up front. With new signing Carew getting twenty minutes at the end, it seems that Allardyce’s preferred option is still route one, but with the kind of delivery we saw to the big Norwegian and Carlton Cole beforehand it will never be an effective strategy against well organised defences.

Still, the season is young. No need to panic just yet… again.

The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.

12 Comments

  1. trueyorxman
    August 22, 2011

    Nice to read a totally ‘unblinkered’ view, well done young man. I think Big Sam was watching a different game if he thinks the Hammers deserved all 3 points. West Hams ‘purple patch’ only came around because of Kisnorbos og, given you the momentum for 10 mins. Apart from that Leeds were excellent (& believe me, us Whites dont throw superlatives like that around very often when it comes to our team!) and although we are happy with a point a defeat wouldn’t have been so hard to take because of the manner of the performance. Onwards & upwards for both teams, see you back in the Prem

    Reply
  2. trueyorxman
    August 22, 2011

    and regarding our supporters, we sold out every away game last season bar Swansea (a lunchtime KO on Sky) and averaged 3’400 AWAY from home

    Reply
    • theseventytwo
      August 22, 2011

      I was going to make this comment. You know what you’re going to get with Leeds both for numbers and volume.

      Reply
  3. Sir Don Revie
    August 22, 2011

    “The Leeds fans never stopped getting behind their side and if they take that level of support everywhere they go this season it will really spur them on”

    You clearly have no understanding of football! Don’t you know about our support?! The mighty Leeds? We travel en mass everywhere!! Best supporters in the world son. We had over 250,000 applications for tickets when we got to the play off final! Says it all..

    Reply
    • theseventytwo
      August 22, 2011

      to be fair he’s a West Ham fan so he’s probably forgotten what it’s like to play Leeds.

      Reply
    • DAN
      August 22, 2011

      your having a laugh,best surporters do me a favour and 25,000 for play off final big deal

      Reply
  4. trueyorxman
    August 22, 2011

    Over 250,000 applicants to see us get beat by Donny, reign your neck in Sir Don why are’nt these fuckers at ER every other wek then. and to say the lad who wrote this report has no understanding of football…fuck me, he totally gets football if he can write an unbiased review like this one

    Reply
  5. paul lufc
    August 22, 2011

    yes…. good account by your man !!!

    Reply
  6. kev
    August 22, 2011

    as a leeds fan think we should stop blowing smoke up our own arses,yeah 2 good performances but lets not get carried away just yet,i think west ham’s problem is that u need to get used to being in the championship,you are here because you deserve to be here end of,think alot of the players need the fight in them abit more every team is gona raise their game just like they do against us,nolan was crap yestrday,and i’ve always said parker is overated 8 million for a 30 year old get real,but good luck for rest of season !

    Reply
  7. Stuart Fuller
    August 22, 2011

    Attn: Trueyoxymoran

    (I’m 41!)

    Reply
  8. Sir Don Revie
    August 23, 2011

    Yorkfag, the reasons for the home attendance are well documented luv. My reason for referring to the 250k was to simply express the potential of the club. When we kick on there are very few clubs to rival us IMHO.

    But I will reign my neck in because you said so boss.

    Reply
  9. Sir Don Revie
    August 23, 2011

    Dan; it’s 250,000 not 25k you dumbo! Why would we boast about 25k??!

    Reply

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