Boleyn brief: West Ham United 0 Ipswich Town 1
It had been 560 minutes since West Ham lost a league game, writes Stuart Fuller… Last night, that changed. And though this defeat may not prove too costly in the long run, it certainly made inroads into a few Hammers fans’ bank balances.
In fact, only Middlesbrough had gone longer unbeaten than the Hammers this season, yet I still haven’t got the feeling that we are anywhere near a potential Premier League side. The Championship so far this year has not set me alight and, despite a decent performance a few weeks ago against Portsmouth, West Ham seem to be happy to play in third gear.
Last week in the hyped up atmosphere at The New Den, they looked content to take a draw from the first minute, whilst on Saturday they couldn’t break down a spirited Peterborough United, relying on a Mark Noble penalty early in the match to win the game.
Ipswich Town were the visitors last night. The two clubs have shared a good relationship in the past. Players (and managers) have moved down the A12 regularly such as Paul Goddard, Phil Parkes and in theory Kieron Dyer (I never saw him start a game for the Hammers). West Ham’s legendary manager John Lyall also went on to manage the Blues.
And do you know what else they share? Well, how about the most expensive tickets in the Championship? My one consolation for this game was that it was only a £43 ticket rather than the top price £47. Value for money? Well, you can decide that.
West Ham United 0 Ipswich Town 1 – Upton Park – Tuesday 27th September 2011
As the clock ticked onto the 86th minute of the game I pointed out to my fellow suffering fan Michael Miles that we would now see an Ipswich goal. I am no soothsayer but in five out of six home games this season West Ham have conceded in the final five minutes. If only I could have got a mobile signal on my iPhone I would have gone large on the in-play markets and won a fortune as ex-Hammer (of course it had to be didn’t it) Lee Bowyer smashed the ball home after the ball had cannoned off the upright.
Two minutes later and the announcement that the West Ham Man of The Match was Robert Green summed up the evening pretty well. West Ham were poor. They do not look like a team who have been fired up for promotion. At times the passing to feet is magical, with the opposition simply unable to get the ball. However, only doing this on the edge of your own penalty area when the rest of the players are sixty yards away isn’t difficult. As soon as an Ipswich player got within ten yards, the ball was lumped up front where Carlton Cole tried but failed to hold it up.
David Bentley showed exactly why he is on loan to a Championship club for the wrong reasons, drifting out of the game for huge periods, whilst Henri Lansbury has picked up that cynical Arsenal midfielder’s tackling habits and was lucky that he was substituted before he would have been sent off.
It is hard to remember many chances the Hammers had in a game that was played mainly in the middle third of the pitch. Nolan and Noble looked strangers whilst Sam Baldock apparently played the full ninety minutes in a forward role. Who knew?
Allardyce said afterwards this was the most disappointing performance of the season. I agree – it was also pretty expensive!