The Hammers earned a much deserved point against Sunderland today, despite the dubious tactics of Martin O'Neill to see the game out. Having seen Fraizer Campbell go down for an injury only to start rising to his feet, O'Neill visibly urged his player to go down again and then spend an age walking off the pitch when subbed. This farcical episode was topped off when Campbell was around 10 metres from the touchline and O'Neill gestured for him to come off quicker, at which point he suddenly found the strength for a light jog. I generally like MON, and have advocated him as a Hammers manager on many occasions, but his un-sporting like behaviour was not on today. It seems I'm not the only one angry by this, having a look at the Sunderland forum, there are definitely grumbles of discontent. even more so having heard an interview where he claims they should have won – o'really?! Our 20 shots to their 4 would suggest otherwise. Worth adding however, that their fans are giving us credit for the point, fair play to them.
However, it was us who had the last laugh, with super Kevin Nolan bagging the equaliser. It was an odd game in the first half, a flat atmosphere was married to a team who did not seem to want to take the game by the horns. Things were pretty even until Calamity Collins played an awful pass that lead to the Mackems taking the lead. The second half was different and we plied almost constant pressure on their penalty box, but as against Norwich, lacked the killer touch. I will be so excited to have Andy Carroll back to start putting away these chances.
The introduction of Jarvis and Yossi certainly made a difference, though I do think Yossi was a bit out of sorts on the right hand side of a top 3. I think he would be more effective a central Nolan type role. But the disruptiopn they caused was enough and the lads got the point in the end. Makes a chance from teams coming and nabbing something from us, Big Sam is making us more resilient with every game and I love it. Well done today Hammers, time for the ratings…
Jussi – 5 – not much to do, some dodgy kicks
O'Brien – 6 – occasionally careless but definitely battled all the way through
Collins – 5 – another sloppy moment from JC, surely time for Tomkins to be given a run?
Reid – 8 – excellent performance from our hard man Maori
Demel – 6 – still seems reluctant to take on the man when going forward but did okay
Noble – 7 – a very important cog in the wheel, an understated but crucial performance
Nolan – 6 – Super Kev popped up and did the business again
Diame – 8 – the beast was superb, very skilful and great tackler
Vaz Te – 6 – disappointing for me, needs a bit more self belief
Cole – 6 – oh Carlton, you're probably one of my favourite Hammers and footballer, but you didn't bring miuch to the party today
Taylor – 6 – did alright but must surely be making way for Jarvis soon?
Overall, a point that felt like three, good work from the lads and think everyone felt happy after that….
PS A quick word about referee Lee Mason – your performance was atrocious and showed no authority or consistency, not good at all