Man U Match Report: Proud to be a Hammer

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!


23 Responses to Man U Match Report: Proud to be a Hammer

  1. Croydonian says:

    Thought you’d be pleased. Me too…. As my old man (a season ticket holder for 20 odd years) used to put it, on our day we can beat anyone, but equally we can lose to anyone too. Same old WHU, but it works for me.

  2. Ed Thomas says:

    May I say what a fantastic report that was Iain?! Great stuff- easier when inspired I know. I’m a proud Hammer just now too and I only read about it!

  3. Painter says:

    great result – couldnt get to the game but all accounts say we thoroughly deserved the win – great to see cole continue to grow in confidence and i have always thought upson was powerful in the air and it was only a matter of time before he started scoring goals. great to see noble back and playing well.

    bit worried tho, anyone got any news on parker and solano’s injuries? they are our top players at the moment.

  4. Brooking is a legend so is Devonshire says:

    Oh what joy, after recent home games, i was thinking it had to turn around soon and it’s just like us to out fight, out play and out score Man U. I was also thinking why wasn’t Ashton playing but Curbs got it 100% right. Man U couldnt cope with our lads in midfield.

  5. Big Casino says:

    A deserved win. Top marks all round. Think you’re being very harsh on ljungberg still. I thought he was excellent today, though i’m not entirely sure he’s match fit.

    Difficult to pick a MoM as there were so many good individual performances, as well as a superb overall team performance.

    I would like to give a special mention to John Pantsil though – thought his performance personified everything good about our performance today; work rate, confidence, energy, determination, never say die attitude, composure and passion.


  6. Phil says:

    I’m still shaking. First half was one of our best performances for years and we were still 1-0 down and then lose two of our best players and get a penalty awared against us (why don’t we ever get any penalties – Rio on Nobby was a cert). Bur our luck turned and we certainly deserved it. My man of the match would have been Solano but I’ll give it to Upson with Carlton a close second. Also thought Noble was superb second half.
    Bit worrying about the injuries.
    Bring on Arsenal.

  7. Prince H says:

    Today I agree with everhyting you said. It was the TEAM that won the game. I love everyone! For me Solano, Cole, Upso and Coel were the icing on the cake! But everyone did what they shold be doin – and I love to see Pantsil – he gave the team new energy!

  8. whufc4eva says:

    didnt see the game but it sounded like we played well! could this be a new westham classic that could be on espn iain? ha ha 2-1

  9. mac says:

    What a game. At last, passion and integrity throughout and two goals at home! Bring on the Gooners…

    But sadly all put into perspective by the tragic death of Motherwell’s Phil O’Donnell. RIP.

  10. Rooster says:

    here here, points awarded correctly. The Jinx returns!!

  11. Rooster says:

    Do you know the answer to your Puzzle question Iain?

  12. ironsmith says:

    A case of fortune favouring the brave and you told it like it was Iain. We were just too good everywhere(particularly ‘will to win’ factor) and would not accept anything other than a win. After green defeated ronaldo for the penalty miss the whole ground took charge, players and fans alike on the same mission for 3 points. I watched the game with my brother here in thailand and the thai people with us(mainly man u) looked quite bemused as we continually joined in with the lads back home singing ‘bubbles’ and they will know all about us soon!

  13. Iain Dale says:

    Rooster, no I don’t. I suspect no other team has done it in living memory. But I may well be wrong.

  14. Hammers & Zvezda says:

    Stayed up till 2 in the morning to watch this match live in Aus – if I didn’t wake up the neighbours then I obviously wasn’t screaming loud enough! What a result! What a team! What a CLUB! For those that understand economics and the Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC), West Ham fans have the greatest MPC in football !!!

  15. Woking Hammer says:

    I am so emotional and bit the worst for wear so sorry for any errors or utter dribble

    I got home in time to watch the game on Match of The Day. As ever did not look like the game I watched at the ground, there again that’s the BBC’s bias towards the big clubs. What a result, that was a nailed on pen for us in the first half, well it looked it from where I was standing, there’s was a pen but would it have been given to us at Old Trafford I doubt it!!.

    I thought all the players were outstanding today, they looked comfortable not like those players in cup games against top teams playing above their abilities. Mullins for one stopped thinking he was Zedan and played the ball simple, god he is so much a better player when he does that. Noble , Parker, Solano looked liked they had played together for years, I hope the injuries are not that serious but I suspect we will not see Parker or Solano New Years Day, I would rather not risk them. I know some don’t like Ferdinand but what he does do is try and play the ball out rather than hoof it, let’s keep the ball rather than give it back to them!

    Two (headed) goals from two set pieces, when was the last time you saw that at Upton Park, then again was the last time did you see us commit so many forward at set pieces.

    What I do hope is that Curbs realises we are a far better team attacking teams than trying to contain them and play around them. If we had a few of the other players fit would he have played in the same way, in deed did we play as Curbs wanted or was it the nature of the players, particularly in midfield, to play the way that they felt more comfortable with.

    3 wins in 3 games against the Mancs, were not becoming their bogie team are we!!

    The players have now set there stall out, it is now up to them keep it up!!
    They have no reason to complain if the crowd get on their back for sub par performances like that against Reading.

    Come on you Irons!!

  16. Wavid says:

    Glad to see some mention of Pantsil – he was a mare in defence when he first came to us, but now given the freedeom to roam more from mid-field with someone covering behaind he showed what we were about yesterday, although I thought he was going to be sent off at one point! Beating Man U in this way was the perfect tonic after a miserable Xmas – Boxing Day was depressing! Like others, I looked at the team and formation and thought ‘That’s it, we will lose’ but Curbs got it just right – can he do that again? His substitutions, although responding to player injuries worked and the shift in team formation and tactics made sure we continued to out play the opposition. A whole team performance, but must say that when Anton came on, yeah I wasn’t happy like others probably wasn’t, but he did an excellent job and showed focus and composure from the first moment he was involved in play. Well done the whole team!

  17. Megalosaurus says:

    Painter. Injuries are Solano, Tweaked hamstring. Parker, Jarred his knee (Again).

    Both could be dodgy for the arse game. ;-(

  18. Kiwi Iron says:

    Like Hammers & Zvezda I suspect I woke up the neighbours too. However it was shown here as a replay at 8am so at least I gave them a bit of a sleep in.

    What a perfect way to end 2007.

  19. Brian Sains says:

    Fantastic performance, especially after the Reading game. Noble brilliant. Is a 4-5-1 system the way to go ?? I thought dropping Ashton was right as he was woefull against Reading.

  20. DevoDevo says:

    Only saw the extended highlights on Sky, but it looked like the best performance of the season for me – we actually kept the ball!

    Hard to single out any player but the return of Noble certainly strengthened the midfield.

    Final word for Curbishley who – and I’m not sure why, seeing as he is a Hammer himself – but the supporters seem to be ultra critical of him, quick to judge when something goes wrong and reluctant to concede when he gets things right.

    This season has been extremely testing for any manager considering the number of injuries he has endured, yet we sit just below the top 7 with a game in hand.

    Compare that to where we were last year and give the man some credit. He cleared the club of the ‘Baby bentley’ mentality and has a set of players working TOGETHER as a team.

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that with the iminent return of key players, we could break into the top 7 this year.

    Who would have said that a year ago?

  21. WHU Kim says:

    It’s days like Saturday that make it all worthwhile. Well done Curbs for getting the tactics right. We played so well all through the team and went at Man Utd from the off which I think rattled them as they certainly made plenty of mistakes. I never thought we were out of it and once that penalty was missed it was lift off at UP! After the game it was great seeing the joy and happiness of fellow Hammers and a much needed left after the Boxing Day disappointment. Onwards to the Emirates and fingers crossed for another fine display.

  22. The Headmaster says:

    Thoroughly agree with your ratings, Iain – although for me Freddie had his best game for us by a distance and would merit an 8.

  23. Upton Spark says:

    On the subject of Carlos Tevez,there was such an overflowing feeling of love from the fans which was reciprocated by Carlos,it was no wonder that he was hardly able to even kick a ball afterwards.
    The last time I can remember such a reception for an ex player was when Rio first came back to Upton Park when he was with Leeds.
    I can only imagine what sort of reception Di Canio might get?

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