Wednesday 14 December 2016

Where's the Protection Ref?

Well, it certainly wasn't pretty. After a decent-ish first half we retreated into fearful hold-what-we-have football and nearly paid a big price. At half time we (just) deserved to be ahead after a late flurry of pressure that ended with Winston Reid being upended in the box.

Will Mark Noble's penalty count as a miss and push him back behind Geoff Hurst in successful conversion rate? Or will the fact that he slotted the rebound count as a successful penalty? We suspect the former, but either way the goal forced Burnley to show their hand in the second half.

With only ten shots on goal away from home all season (!) Burnley set about trying to boss the game and, concerningly for Hammers fans, duly took over. An amazing Vokes miss from 3 yards out will go down as the best opportunity to snatch a point, but there were plenty of half chances as the Hammers retreated into deep defence of their slender lead.

Chief amongst their problems was that referee Robert Madley failed to keep Burnley honest by allowing a series of crude challenges on Dimi Payet whenever West Ham tried to counter, finally handing out a yellow to Jeff Hendrick on the fourth or fifth such occasion.

In reality, the third breakaway looked very promising with a potential 3 on 1 developing until Payet was fouled. The challenge deserved a yellow for its malice as well as for its cynicism. Payet may well tire of playing in the lower reaches of the Premiership, but undoubtedly his departure will be accelerated if he is repeatedly asked to take a kicking for the side. Nobes, Kouyate and Obiang need to get a bit more assertive with opponents and the refs if we are to stamp out the cynical targeting of our talisman. 

Otherwise, we again looked without a decent game plan despite having most of our main players available. Sakho might add another edge, but we really need some new blood in January. 

Ultimately, you can never really complain when you prevail in any six-pointer, which this game certainly was. We also kept a rare clean sheet and with no yellow cards. Three points majorly lifts the pressure on Bilic and the side. Another decent result against Hull and we can start playing with a bit more of a swagger again, hopefully...

1 comment:

  1. It was a win luck rather than judgement burnley bossed the second half not good enough again


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