Wasn’t it great to see Billy Bonds back at Upton Park? Eggert Magnusson had apparently rung him up and asked him to be his special guest at today’s game. Bonds had vowed never to return after his sacking more than a decade ago. The fact that Terence Brown was no longer the chairman presumably had something to do with his decision to accept Magnusson’s reputation. Well, Billy is obviously a good luck charm to us as he watched West Ham put in one of their best displays of the season – and there haven’t been too many of them, as well all know only too well.
The first 45 minutes were a joy to watch. Tevez and Zamora really clicked together, probably for the first time. They both laid off balls to each other beautifully and Tevez in particualr was a constant danger to the Boro defence. Boro never really had a look in and didn;t have a single attack in the first half which threatened Green’s goal. Only in the last ten minutes did they look anything like an attacking force.
I’d like to single out George McCartney and Mark Noble for outstanding performances. McCartney has never looked very safe to me as left back but today he was excellent defensively and was a constant threat going forward. Noble was tenacious in every tackle and precise in every pass. He exemplified West Ham’s renewed fighting spirit, which some of us thought they had lost permanently.
The second half was never going to live up to the first half and West Ham’s dangerous attacks were few and far between. But they defended a lead, and how many times have they done that this season?
Green – 9 Never under threat and always confident
McCartney – 9 Best game yet – excellent defensively and attacking
Collins – 8 Masterful in the air
Ferdinand – 8 Many good defensive headers
Neill – 8 Excellent attacking run in the second half. His best game yet
Bowyer – 8 Really good first half, quieter in the second
Etherington – 7 Good attacking runs and a couple of shots
Noble – 9 Great all round performance. A real terrier
Reo Coker – 7 Several powerful runs, but substituted with 15 mins to go
Tevez 9 A constant danger but too many mazy runs which were going nowhere
Zamora 7 Held the ball up well and took his chance. May have had another
Finally, apologies for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks. Normal service will now be resumed!