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Premier League
Saturday, 4th May 2013

West Ham United 0
Newcastle United 0

by Gordon Thrower


Not much to write about for this one. Bit of a non-event all round. Even TFL got in on the act, engineering works messing up my usual rendezvous venue with my Geordie pals, still it was a nice view of the Cutty Sark I suppose.

Team news was that it was the standard line-up of recent weeks, namely JJ, Demel, O’Brien, Reid, Collins, O’Neil, Diame, Jarvis, Vaz Te, Nolan, Carroll.

Oh.You wanted some description of the action as well. Well, er, on 8 minutes Joey picked up a yellow for a late trip on Taylor. A tad harsh but when you’re as fat as ref Phil Dowd every breather is welcome.

The big talking point came on 20 minutes when Cisse got round JJ and sent the ball goalwards. Reid hooked the ball off the line with the Geordies baying for a goal. The lino shook his head before falling over. I didn’t think it had crossed myself, but I did wonder if the lino’s tumble had had an impact on the decision. However, a look at the tv later in the evening showed that he’d come to his conclusion before his collapse and, like the rest of us decided that he didn’t have enough to go on.

Er, I’m struggling now. Really. The only other entertainment to be gained was from watching the increasingly erratic efforts of Dowd to keep up with play. Not that the pace was particularly frantic or anything – the general torpor being enhanced by the fact that the weather had finally worked out what month it was leading to all right thinking people to start thinking in Fahrenheit at last.

Dowd didn’t appear worried by such complex maths as temperature conversions (CX9/5+32=F if you’re that fussed). He was having trouble with the slightly easier job of estimating ten yards for free kicks. The funniest effort came when he had awarded a free-kick to the visitors placed right on the line of where the pitch had been mowed, A rough calculation suggests that the shaded bits are about 6 yards long so we placed the wall, er, about 6 yards away. The visitors seemed understandably miffed at this. So Dowd paced out the distance and, somehow, managed to cram ten increasingly smaller steps into the 6 yards before warning the wall not to encroach.

The other moment of high farce came as Gutierrez went down as if shot by a sniper when Carroll won a ball in the air. Carroll got nowhere near the player, which didn’t stop Gutierrez laying motionless on the floor for a while. Eventually we put the ball out whilst Dowd tried to work out what to do. Whereupon, in a miracle of biblical proportions, Gutierrez sprang to his feet, the cure having been managed without intervention from the physio. Feigning injury to stop a match is on the list of things that qualifies for a caution but it was a warm day and the thought of having to spell Gutierrez was clearly an exhausting one for the ref who took no further action. Still at least it gave the home support a pantomime villain to boo, in a half devoid of anything else to react to.

Half Time: West Ham United 0 Newcastle United 0

I’d love to say that the second half was more eventful. I suppose it was – marginally- but it was still languid stuff. We ought to have had a penalty as we finally worked out that if Jarvis was to cross the ball we had to give it to him first. A cross from the left saw Carroll bearing down menacingly. Coloccini’s none too subtle two-handed shove on Carroll’s back sent the striker flying. Dowd elected to ignore it, realising that he’d have to go all the way into the penalty area if he were to award a spot kick, and it was a jolly long way to go without hailing a cab. The lack of decision prompted chants of “You’re too fat to referee” which, to his credit, Dowd acknowledged by conducting the Bobby Moore stand choir in the tune – though the effort of moving his arms did seem worryingly exhausting for him.

There were chances at both ends. Carroll headed over and Nolan pulled a double save out of Elliott whilst, probably as a result of the boredom, JJ came rushing off his line for a ball he had as much chance of getting as I did. Cabaye put the ball towards the empty net but got the angle wrong and the ball rolled harmlessly wide of the far post.

Otherwise tired-looking efforts from distance were the order of the day. These brought forth the odd “ooh” but this was really only down to the absence of anything genuinely “oohable” to go “ooh” at.

We made all three substitutions – Collison for Vaz Te on 57, Taylor for Demel on 79 and Cole (J) for Jarvis on 82. None of these changes had much effect. In the absence of any genuine stand out performances, Andy Carroll won the sponsors’ “Player We Want Our Photos Taken With” award. Dowd added an extra four minutes, which were every bit as nondescript as the 91 that had preceded them and the game was put out of its misery.

Full Time: West Ham United 0 Newcastle United 0

One could understand that, with our Premier League place assured, there might have been a tendency on our part to have had one eye on the beaches of wherever it is professional footballers take themselves in the summer these days. It was a little bit more baffling as to why our opponents seemed so reluctant to go for it. It was notable that, on the rare occasions that they could be bothered to make a real push forward there was a lack of bodies in the box. – the two clearest chances might have borne more fruit had Cisse or Cabaye actually had some company from a team mate – a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by my Geordie pals. The result from Wigan didn’t exactly improve the mood either. Let’s hope Swansea can do the Geordies a favour in Wigan’s game in hand – Whelan’s lot staying up at the expense of Newcastle is not a prospect that appeals to be honest.



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Player Ratings

Jussi Jaaskelainen
Didn’t have an awful lot to do but nearly cost us with a couple of rushes of blood to the head.


Guy Demel
Solid enough in defence. Didn’t get forward much.


Joey O Brien
Might have been on a knife-edge after his early booking but seldom looked troubled.


James Collins
Kept Cisse quiet for the most part.


Winston Reid
Another assured performance without ever being under the cosh. MOTM I suppose.


Momo Diame
Comments to follow...


Gary O Neil
The odd interception here and there but a bit wayward with the passing.


Matt Jarvis
Looked capable of causing problems when we gave him the ball. Which wasn’t nearly enough.


Ricardo Vaz Te
His most memorable contribution was the eternity it took him to leave the field when substituted.


Kevin Nolan
Brought a double save out of Elliott. That was about it.


Andy Carroll
Should have had a penalty on an otherwise largely quiet afternoon.


Substitutes


Jack Collison
Nothing of note springs to mind of his half hour or so on the pitch.


Matt Taylor
I’d forgotten that he had come on at all, to be honest.


Joe Cole
No real influence on proceedings – though I expect he’d have appreciated longer than seven minutes in which to have tried.


Stephen Henderson
Did not play.


Emanuel Pogatetz
Did not play.


Mark Noble
Did not play.


Carlton Cole
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: 34,962.

Man of the Match: Winston Reid.

West Ham United

Jussi Jaaskelainen, Guy Demel, Joey O Brien, James Collins, Winston Reid, Momo Diame, Gary O Neil, Matt Jarvis, Ricardo Vaz Te, Kevin Nolan, Andy Carroll.

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Newcastle United

.

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: .

Sent Off: None.

 
Gordon Thrower's Man of the Match: Winston Reid


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