David Hautzig's Match Report
“Think we stay up or go down”? That’s what I asked Nigel Kahn the other day, after West Brom’s reserve team handled us with relative ease.
“Ask me after Brighton” was his reply. I cannot say that filled me with anything other than more nest and anger because Brighton have been a bogey side for us.
We are truly a train wreck, quite possibly the worst run top tier sports team on the planet. I’ve had arguments with some who say the New York Knicks of the NBA are worse. But being in the top two of that league is an even worse position to be I than our current spot in the league. Me? I think we are 50-50 at best to retain our top flight status. If going down is what it would take to get rid of Sullivan, Brady, and Gold, I’d be tempted to take that deal with the devil. It might be a deal we have no choice but to consider.
And as I sat down to proofread and then post, I made the choice not to add pictures. I didn’t want to look at them to be perfectly honest.
It only took until the second minute for Brighton to show how truly shambolic we can look at times on defense. Brighton broke down the left, and with Mooy and Hammer killer Murray in the box it looked like we were doomed. Montoya crossed, and if Mooy had put his header on target it would have been a very early goal for the visitors because Fabianski was beaten. Moments later it was West Ham on the attack, with Haller rolling a pass to Fredericks while flat on his back. The Hammer’s right back floated a ball into the box that Montoya put out for a corner. A minute later Soucek directed a free kick from Noble that Ryan did very well to save.
Pace. We have almost none in the squad, with the notable exception of Antonio. Numerous time early in the match he began runs that Montoya could not handle. I could see Antonio begin his run, and Montoya still lost the race. He won a corner making such a run, he won a free kick making such a run. Oh to have more of that. And two healthy hamstrings on the one that does have it.
Brighton had another chance to take the lead in the 25th minute when Fredericks and Diop simply fell asleep at the wheel, allowing Trossard to run in between them and get onto a pass from Stephens. All alone in front of Fabianski, his shot went straight at the keeper. A minute later West Ham won a corner when Webster put a cross from Antonio. The Hammers went short and got nothing out of it. A moment later Noble won a free kick. But whatever the plan was between the captain and Snodgrass it didn’t work when the eventual set piece flew over everyone, with Haller very offside anyway.
The pace I mentioned earlier came to the forefront again in the 30th minute when Antonio again beat Montoya and won a free kick. Snodgrass put a good ball into the box, and Diop directed it behind Ryan for his second goal in the past three league matches. Maybe he should play striker as his defending has been suspect of late.
West Ham 1
West Ham countered in the 36th minute, but instead of crowd noise the best soundtrack for what occurred would have been the theme from Keystone Cops. Noble sent a low pass for Ogbonna to run onto in the box. He couldn’t get a shot off, and tried to tee up Noble in the box. But our esteemed servant completely missed his shot and fell over himself. A minute later Fredericks sent a cross that Antonio hit perfectly on the volley but Montoya blocked it. Moments later Antonio took a long crossfield pass from Rice, cut to his left and tried one of his usually poor long range shots. At least this one was on target, albeit right at Ryan.
West Ham was on the attack again in the final minute of the opening half with Snodgrass on the run. He slowed down enough to let Fredericks overlap, and the Scot rolled a pass for the right back to get to. Fredericks looped a pass into the box that was initially cleared, but right to Snodgrass. The one time subject of the inept owners bullying fired a shot that took a deflection off Webster and into the net.
West Ham 2
In the opening moments of the second half Brighton won a free kick from a dangerous position when Snodgrass took down Bernardo. The free kick was sent out for a corner, and that’s when the Keystone Cops music started again. Fabianski came out to meet the corner, but his attempted punch came right out of the Roberto playbook and hit Ogbonna in the head and bounced in for an own goal. Comfortable to Panic Stations in the blink of an eye.
West Ham 2
West Ham won a free kick in the 51st minute when Antonio refused to stop running. After two attempts, Stephens finally took him down. But he stayed down. With his brittle body, from shoulders to legs, it was a sight nobody could say they were shocked by. He was able to continue, but the additional worry was there.
Despite the pain, Antonio went on yet another marauding run that ended in a corner. Cresswell’s delivery was headed clear, but right to Snodgrass. In a scene eerily reminiscent of his first half goal, Snoddy struck the ball very well on the volley. This time, however, the deflection was courtesy of Bernardo. Ryan was helpless.
West Ham 3
In the 70th minute, Antonio decided that Montoya had suffered plenty and wanted to share the pain with Webster on the right side. He crossed the field and got on the end of a rolling pass from Rice. His shot, however, didn’t trouble Ryan. Two minutes later Cresswell conceded a corner after a head to head battle with Brighton substitute Schelotto. The initial delivery was handled, but the ball went to March and he let loose a rifle shot that Fabianski did well to save.
A minute later, the farcical nature of West Ham’s defense was beyond pathetic. I don’t even know what to say to be honest. I blame Diop more than Ogbonna, because it was Diop who just stood there and watched a ball in front of him. Gross didn’t really do much other than put his body where the ball was. And it bounded off him and behind Fabianski for a slow, painful roll into the net.
West Ham 3
A minute later, Propper sent a cross into the box that once again nobody on West Ham dealt with. It looked to hit Murray on the arm, but as it turned out it was his chest and the comeback…and possibly West Ham’s relegation…was complete.
West Ham 3
The last ten minutes were a bit of a blur, mostly because I decided not to sit in front of the TV anymore and got up to keep busy and move around a bit. The shambolic way in which our defense blew these vital three points was enough for me to throw in the towel. I cannot see a way back, but if that means the absurd way in which the current board have found fit to run this club will come to an end than maybe it’s worth it in the very long run.