Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Little by little

West Ham Utd 0 - 0 Newcastle Utd

It's funny. At lunchtime on Saturday, if you'd offered me this result, I'd probably have taken it. A point away from home against a team who have only lost once on their own turf all season would, in the scheme of our relegation struggles, appear a point gained.

At five o'clock, results elsewhere (notably Wigan's win) meant that our solitary point left us looking at the table willing the results of 5under1and's game against Stoke and Wigan's game against Swansea to go our way, but fearing that by the time we kick off our next game we could be in the bottom three.

Now, writing this report with the benefit of knowing the outcome of those two subsequent games, it again looks like a point won, with Swansea's heroics doing a great deal to calm the nerves.

Looking back on Saturday, we once again performed like a side possessed in the first half. With Sideshow Bob back in the side we looked organised and composed at the back and, while chances were limited for both sides, we definitely looked the more likely scorers, with the principal talking point revolving around whether or not Papiss Cisse's dink past the keeper had crossed the line before it was hooked away by the covering defender. In the instant he got to look at it, our least favourite assistant referee concluded that he didn't see it cross the line (hardly surprising when you recall he didn't see all of that tackle on Massimo Haidara a few weeks ago). With multiple TV replays to pore over, it looked from at least one angle that it had crossed the line, but until goal line technology is introduced next year, we're left with the decision of the officials and they weren't sufficiently convinced.

Unfortunately, having been much the better side in the first half, we started to struggle badly in the second as our defence came under increasing pressure from old boys Rocky and Kevin Nolan. Having been a spectator in the first half, Rob Elliot now found himself much the busier keeper, producing one outstanding double save to thwart Nolan, whilst Rocky threw himself about and was just about neutralised fairly by Sideshow Bob and Danny Simpson (although on another day both could have conceded penalties for their physical efforts to impede West Ham's principal goal threat).

At the other end, Dreamboat saw a shot curl wide and Goofy almost profited from a Jussi Jaaskelainen rush of blood, only to see his effort drop wide; however, we were definitely the side under pressure.

Big Lad replaced HBA and Dan Gosling replaced Goofy, but neither was able to do much to pose a significant threat to Jaaskelainen's goal and in the end a point looked a decent result.

As highlighted earlier, when news of other results filtered through, the picture looked significantly bleaker, but with games still to play it could yet prove to be a crucial point on the road to survival.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian

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