Saturday 1 November 2014

Narky Sparky Rails against Officialdom while brave Hammers make their point

After a ding-dong 2-2 encounter that contrasted considerably with some of the drab fare these two clubs have dished out in previous encounters, Stoke City manager Mark 'Sparky' Hughes could not resist the temptation to wreck everybody's buzz by having a go at the match officials in his post match comments. The outburst was all the more outlandish given that his own side, as usual, had been guilty of a number of Orc-like challenges, one of which resulted in Winston Reid having to be substituted.

Totally unacceptable
Putting on his most dreary voice Narky Marky began the whinging about an Alex Song tackle before expanding to include a variety of snide comments about the match result but thankfully stopped short of launching a stinging  attack upon the whole capitalist system that underpins the lie of modern life. Hughes delivered a performance that will undoubtedly narrow the gap between the Welsh curmudgeon and Chief Premiership contrarian Neil 'Whingyarse' Warnock, who will undoubtedly use Monday night's match against Sunderland to increase his season's points tally for post match complaining.

The match itself was a high tempo affair where Stoke scored two scrappy goals to take a deserved 2-0 lead. The Hammers refused to throw in the towel and after the second Stoke goal changed formation with Stewart Downing moving more centrally - and boy did it work! 

On the hour mark, against the run of play Downing broke down the right before delivering a tantalising ball to the onrushing Enner Valencia who neatly steered the ball into the net. Stoke huffed and puffed, and then the Hammers struck again with Valencia the provider for Downing on this occasion as he dribbled his way down the left flank before pulling the ball back for Downing to slam it into the Stoke net. From there we almost stole it as Valencia went very close just before the end.

On fire!
Although the performance was nowhere near the best we have seen from West Ham this season, it was fantastic to see how we managed to get a result simply because we are so good going forward right now. On a more cautious note, both full backs received a torrid time today and we only mustered 40% possession against a pretty modest Stoke midfield. The early departures of Reid, Amalfitano and Noble were also concerning. 

Diafra Sakho did not get on the score sheet, thereby confirming the suspicions of some observers that his goalscoring prowess does not extend to matches that he is not actually playing in. 

Next up, home to Villa. We'll be hoping to revert to the scintillating stuff we witnessed  last week against Man City. It looks like Sakho will be back but we will have to wait to find out more about Today's casualties.

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