Hartlepool Report: Job Done

Oh, how ITV were hoping for an upset. I had to turn the commentary down in the end, it was getting so irritating. Yes, in the first half Hartlepool gave us a real game, right up until the 43rd minute. After then it was just a question of getting to the end of the game without slipping up. The substitution of Mullins for Di Michele said it all.

It is penalty decisions like the one we got that inspire the hopeless optimists among us to think our name is already written on the Cup. If only it were that simple, eh? It was a scandalous decision as the handball was clearly way outside the area. But up stepped Mark Noble and he put it away with aplomb. I don’t think he has even missed a pen, has he?

This is exactly the sort of game which we normally specialise in tripping up in. And under Harry Redknapp, Roeder or Curbishley I would have been nervous. But there is something about Zola that gives me confidence. He has taught the team how to play in a professional manner and to close a game down, and a very good thing too.

As an aside, Jeff Stelling has just remarked on Sky Sports News: “What a good week for Barack Obama – becomes US President and West Ham win away!”

Rob Green didn’t have an awful lot to do, although he completely missed a cross near the beginning of the game which Scott Parker cleared off the lines. He made one superb instant reaction save from a Hartlepool header in the second half, which was world class.

Defensively Tomkins and Collins both put in excellent performances. Ilunga had little to do in defence but he often went storming down the left in the first half, causing havoc. It was no surprise that our goal emerged from the left. Faubert, however, did little to impress, I’m afraid. He looked slow to the ball and contributed comparatively little.

Parker and Noble did a great job in the centre of midfield, with Parker playing the anchor role allowing Noble to rampage forward. Collison was quiet, but Behrami was his normal impressive, busy self. He took the goal brilliantly.

Up front Carlton Cole put himself about a bit. His booking, in my opinion, was totally undeserved. It was a ball he was entitled to go for. He could have bagged a couple of goals and his miss in the second half sent shudders down the spine as it reminded us of Carlton Cole misses of days gone by. Di Michele didn’t get into the game until twenty minutes had elapsed, but he played some great through balls to Cole and they look as if they are developing quite a good understanding. It was his cross which led to the Behrami goal.

Boa Morte came on mid way through the second half. He had a couple of good runs but didn’t really threaten in a dangerous way. Both Mullins and Sears came on later but did nothing of real note.

Once the second goal went in, it was game over, which is probably why I don’t feel that excited by the result. It’s the kind of result we should have expected and we should be content we got it. So that’s 7 games unbeaten now. Let’s make it eight on Wednesday.

Green 7
Faubert 5
Tomkins 8
Collins 8
Ilunga 7
Behrami 7
Parker 8
Noble 8
Collison 6
Di Michele 6
Cole 7
Boa Morte 6


32 Responses to Hartlepool Report: Job Done

  1. HAMMER says:

    I don’t think I would’ve given Noble and 8, unfortunately his passing was at times atrocious. He played a lot of poor passes and I would definately have given Behrami a better rating.

    Also I couldnt understand why they didnt bring Sears and Dyer on. Muggins and Boa Morte were for me more defensive substitutions but they only invited the opposition onto us.

    Sears and Dyer wouldve gotten rid of Di Michele and provided a real threat of pace with players to hit the ball up to. Attack really is sometimes the best form of defence. And Dyer needs playing time. We need to bring him on for some time, 5mins at the end of every match will not get him match-fit

  2. jpt says:

    The commentary was truly awful but did you notice that the commentator switched sides so to speak in the second half when he realised it was all over for Hartlepool?
    Full marks to Zola by the way for the way he handled the tie, his line up was first class (are you watching Harry Redknapp?) and his substitutions spot on.

  3. Paul M says:

    I wanted to give Faubert a run out just to see if he could finally fit in. The answer was a definate NO !!!! I hoped he could prove us all wrong and show against a lower calibre team he might be able to turn his form around. He MUST go now, simply not good enough as a premier player, I would prefer to give Jordan Spence a run out now as back -up to Neil.
    We really do need a good right back – any ideas?

    Good professional job by the boys today, no frills but certainly no threats apart from the odd chance from a battling Hartlepool side, well done to them for trying to the final whistle.
    Carltons yellow was in my opinion unlucky. If you look at a slow mo replay he gets a BIG nudge from the defender just as he was going for the ball and as he stretched the keeper collected his foot in his midriff. Illunga on the other hand deserved his, no need to be quite so aggresive.

    Lets hope for a nice home draw in the next round – Covenry or Torquay would do for me.


  4. Matt.R says:

    Ian, how on earth did you give LBM 6??? He was a 3 at most!!! Back to his old donkey ways!!!

  5. eleeNYC says:

    Still not confident in DiMichele and Cole partnership. and i think that with the matches coming up GZ needs to make some assessments. I want to see more hunger for Hull. Beginning of second half Hartlepool was owning us. But overall another WIN!!!!

    Lets hope Manu take no prisoners

    Are we getting Savio or what?

  6. Alfred Levin, Swe says:

    loveley report, couldn’t see the game but this novel gave a good picture of the event.. thanks alot.. now lets get Hull and that other team next week!

  7. geoff says:

    A solid performance, littered by errors, to be expected in such a match. Parker, Ilunga and Behrami worked tirelessly. I was annoyed with the Cole booking. Their centre half pushed Cole into the keeper and then had the audacity to stamp on Cole. He was the one who should have been booked. Still, into the last sixteen and a nice unbeaten run forming. COME ON YOU IRONS

  8. BAC says:

    I didn’t see this game (compulsory shopping duty) but was mighty relieved to see the score on return home. This was just the sort of bananaskin we used to slip up on with monotonous regularity.

    Zola and Clarke are shaping up as a sound management team.

    Let’s hope we get drawn at home in the next round.

  9. James says:

    I am with HAMMER I think Behrami was more worth the 8 than Noble!!

    I am a great admirer of Noble but at the moment I find he always gets caught out in the midfield, Even if it be a quick turn or going through the middle when he should have dinked it to the wings!! Suppose it’s just a moment he is having!!

    Proffessional Game and a great result, COYI!!!!

  10. djclipz says:

    compulsory shopping duty lol. sort it out!!!

  11. CC says:

    Confident, professional and all done with ease… good win when it could have been tricky. Zola/Clarke regime really seems to be taking shape… its no coincidence Chelski have sagged since Clarke left.

    Only 2 queries from today… First one is LBM, did anyone count the number of balls he gave away when he came on? I had him at 6 out of 7 at one point… can’t wait to get rid of him.

    Query No2… whats the story with Freddie Sears… anytime I’ve seen him come on he seems very languid and almost disinterested?? Is that just his sytle or is something wrong? I’d have thought he be bursting to make an impression every minute he gets on the pitch, but each time he comes on he’s the opposite.

    Anyway, upwards and onwards… European football next year?? COYI !!!!!!!!

  12. Frankie D says:

    Noble was nowhere near an 8.

    Behrami and Parker were excellent and they do Noble’s donkey work. He was slow and lethargic and cannot see a pass until it is to late.

    Agree with Geoff on the Cole incident.

    The commentators were a joke.

  13. brooking still the best says:

    Solid around performance, nothing to get to excited or, strangly for us, stressed about. We are in the hat for the next round.

  14. chris says:

    sorry crap game!
    Worked hard but we dont have much quality just plenty of legs,noble has composure on ball and di michele when he bothers,parker turns in and out and is neat and tidy,hope we buy a forward player with some real pace.
    Was dyer a sub? will Tristan ever play?
    Second half posession was pleasing.

  15. DevoDevo says:

    Yet another comfortable win against a team from a lower division – Arry, take note!

    The boys are really playing like a TEAM now and the goal was only threatened once. Same happened against Fulham, never in the game. I like boring. 😉

    To answer an earlier question, Dyer strained a calf in the reserves in the week and wasn’t on the bench.

    Faubert confirmed he is one of the worse players to have donned a West ham shirt and his attitude stinks – come and get him Lyon.

    Green 6
    Faubert 4
    Tomkins 7
    Collins 7
    Ilunga 7
    Behrami 8
    Parker 8
    Noble 7
    Collison 6
    Di Michele 6
    Cole 7
    Boa Morte 6
    Sears 6

  16. budgie says:

    Solid and competent perfomance in a game of the type where we have so often let ourselves down before.

    Peter Drury has to be the worst commentator on TV. I feel convinced he writes down a list of cliched comments that he uses as the moment that seems appropriate arrrives.

    Todays classic comment was someting about the east enders doing well at the Vic in todays soap opera although there was also a comment about Nelson not experiencing a victory.

    Onwards and upwards.

  17. HammersWest says:

    4.40 am kick offf for me, and had to watch it with chinese commentary, still decent result, professionally done. The biggest plus for me was seeing Cole smiling, it looked like he was actually enjoying himself, compared with his awful negative body language a few weeks ago a huge step forward. Thought the substitutions spot on, though not exciting, especially keeping Cole from the imminent red card which we cannot afford. All in all job well done. Can’t decide whether to root for Charlton, or hope we get the blunts in the next round.

  18. 4737 Carlin Sir says:

    Upson doesn’t have much luck does he? Every time we get a cup tie he’s ill……. I seem to recall Neill was missing from the 3rd round tie too.

    No prizes for guessing who the club have identified as being either overpaid or easily replaceable.

  19. SwedeHammer says:

    Hammerswest. where did you get the game?

  20. HammersWest says:

    I always go to http://www3.myp2p.eu/index.php?part=sports and then football they usually have several choices and at least one of them is usually good, apart from the commentary is not always in English

  21. SwedeHammer says:

    That is brilliant..thank you very much.

  22. danibadd says:

    Job done says it all. Lets all hope we get the blunts next round, coyi!

  23. Goatygav says:

    Very professional performance. Let’s hope we get drawn away in the next round (with ref to our away fans and form compared to home).

  24. Goatygav says:

    Got to agree with not giving Noble an 8. Their best chance of the game came when he got caught in posession in the first half.

  25. Goatygav says:

    Plus the away fans allocation of seats in the FA Cup. Great away day. Perhaps another 7-8 thousand making the most noise “Old Stretford” has heard in several years?

  26. Falvo says:

    Very professional, i thought they only had one or two clearcut opportunities and we cancelled the game out well.

    Big test after Hull, with Man U and Arsenal following after. Lets hope we give Tevez thunderous applause as always and he’ll be unable to play properly.

  27. E1 says:

    Noble for me did’nt really influence the game enough for the role he was given and gave the ball away far to much, I Think we should have taken him off and let collison play more central when Lbm came on. Anyway we won and overall a professional performance job done. Green 7 collins, tomkins and illunga 8 berahmi and parker 8
    collison 7 faubert 6 noble 6 Di michele and cole 7. Cole showed another side to his game he can role up his sleeves and mix it, if needed. Millwall and spuds both out fingers crossed we get a good draw,that followed by 3 points on wed and we just keep marching on. I do think our home support should be making more noise now maybe the club should look at an area for singing so we can get the hard core all together and get something really going next season.

  28. E1 says:

    where is everybody ?

  29. Ozuptonparker says:

    Agree wid 4737 suss leavin’ out Upson and Neill only sub, could be a sign of impending departures, had setanta coverage over here pretty crap commentary.
    Faubert was awful LBM makes little impact when he comes on. pleased to see Tomkins get a run we have a lot of promise wid players like him Sears, Collison Reid and Spense on our books not to mention Eyjolffson and Bajner, GZ has proven himself at U21 level, if he and Clarke can get the best out of these kids we could be on track to bigger things,,credit to Tony Carr the mans a genius……

  30. Dott Cotton says:

    Job done, bring on the 5th Round.

    We need to offload Boa Morte and Faubert asap. Can only guess their combined salaries are over £60k per week, surely this can be put to better use.

    This continual dross that Boa Morte will improve once his confidence returns is boring. The guy is truly awful.

    Faubert, one of the worst players I have seen at West Ham for a while (taking into consideration we paid £6.1m) for him.

  31. jon.london colney says:

    i think thats whats called winning ugly? and im more than happy to win 2-0 ugly every week.nice easy home draw today please.coyi.ps well done zola n clarke,weve started looking like a team with purpose.

  32. Daveip1966 says:

    Happy with that result, although it was, as someone else remarked, winning ugly.

    The Cole incident, in my opinion, was a disgrace on the part of the ref (ok, what did he do that wasn’t). Six players surround a guy on the ground looking like they’re going to give him a severe shoeing for going after a loose ball – and he gets booked? FFS that is wrong.

    Still, we’re through. I haven’t seen the draw yet but in this New Year of the Ox I’m feeling relatively bullish about our chances

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