Somehow it was just meant to be. I purposely got to the stadium early to soak up the earlt atmosphere. It’s easy for me to say now, but as I sat down I felt it might be our day. I didn’t say it to anyone for fear of jinxing us.
The reception for Carlos Tevez was astonishing. I suspect I wasn’t alone in having a tear in my eye. The whole crowd rose as one and sang ‘One Carlos Tevez’.
At first sight the team selection looked odd, with Deano being dropped to the bench. But with five across midfield Man U just couldn’t cope.
From the word go we got stuck in and harried them.Parker, Mullins and Noble were not just putting in some tough tackles but being creative too.
Our play in the first twenty minutes made us look like the top four team, rather than Man U. We should have scored when Mullins hit the crossbar and Noble hit the ball over the bar with the follow up. A few minutes later Man U broke down the left and Ronaldo scored with a powerful header. Previous West Ham teams might have folded there and then but not this one. For the rest of the half we played well, dug in and created chances. Carlton Cole held up the ball superbly and Nobby was inventive down the right. We also had two good penalty shouts.
The second half saw Man U come into the game more and when they were awarded a penalty after a Spector handball it seemed it might well be Game Over. Not so. Robert Green seemed to put Ronaldo off and he skewed the ball wide. That was the turning point. I screamed at Curbishley to put on Deano and take off Ljungberg. He duly obliged and I turned to my mate and said ‘we’re going to win this’. He didn’t look convinced!
Meanwhile Anton had replaced the injured Scott Parker and John Pantsil came on for Nobby, who also was injured.
Anton didn’t look rusty at all and made some telling headers before popping up at a Mark Noble set piece to grab the equaliser. And theb, what do you know but Matthew Upson headed a winner seven minutes from time from another Mark Noble free kick special. We went delirious.
John Pantsil was tremendous in the last ten minutes, tackling, harrying, running the ball to the corner flag. At last he’s been given the chance to show what he can do.
So a fabulous day and by far the best home performance of the season.
Now, can anyone name me the last club to beat Man U in three successive league meetings? No? Thought not!
29 points, eh? Woo hoo!!
Green 9 Awesome
McCartney 9 Brilliant
Upson 9 Stupendous
Spector 8 Great
Neill 7 Untroubled
Noble 8 Back to his best
Mullins 8 Powerful
Parker 8 Midfield general
Solano 9 Inventive
Cole 9 Man of the Match
Ljungberg 6 The only average performance
Pantsil 8 Supersub
Ashton 8 Held ball up well
Ferdinand 8 Super goal!
PS Tevez also played apparently!