David Hautzig's Match Report
Onions. Lots of onions. That’s the key to a great brisket. My mom told me that years ago, and I can say that with as much confidence now as I say Andy Carroll won’t play more than ten games in a row without getting hurt. With over twenty family members invading my home this afternoon like a mob storming an embassy, we had some serious cooking to do. Do I tell our fearless leader I’m out of commission again? Or do I sharpen my ten-inch chefs knife, grab two dozen onions, and get to work while watching the match? The latter was the winner in my poll of one. Me. So times of match events won’t always accurate, stuff will have been missed, and players who I said did this or that may sometimes be wrong.
My brisket will be superb as always.
The opening minute of the match saw West Ham get an opportunity with a free kick from just outside the box when Cattermole took down Ayew from behind. Cattermole saw yellow, and Pickford saw the curling effort from Lanzini and was able to push it aside.
Minutes later, Sam Byram continued to make his case that he should likely have been at right back since August, especially when you consider the alternatives Bilic insisted on. He found Carroll in the box with a long cross as West Ham’s number nine peeled away to the far post. Carroll looked to attempt a volley but shanked it. However, the ball rolled to Ayew right in front of the Sunderland goal and he did what he does best. Scores junk goals.
West Ham 1
The Black Cats had an opportunity to level a few minutes later when Khazri sent a free kick into the box that O’Shea was able to get on the end of but his header was soft and right at Randolph.
Sautée the onions with a generous amount of olive oil, salt and pepper in a Dutch Oven. It takes a good ten minutes or more to cook them down and get some color to them. Once that’s done, put the cooked onions aside and use the Dutch Oven to sear both sides of the brisket. Again, apply generous salt and pepper to both sides.
In the 20th minute, the Hammers used some promising interplay between Masuaku, Lanzini, and Carroll to set up Snodgrass for a left footed effort on the edge of the penalty area. When the ball was struck, and Pickford didn’t move, I thought the former Hull man had opened his account at West Ham. But it went wide. A minute later, the “new Payet” gave Sunderland a free kick to the left of the West Ham eighteen-yard box. Khazri found Gibson with a low pass in the box but the shot went wide.
After Defoe was denied a penalty kick after a collision with Byram, Sunderland won a corner. Khazri again stepped up to take it. He curled his delivery into the box. Anichebe tussled with Randolph and looked to back into the West Ham keeper. Yet even if that interaction was a foul, and I think it was, nobody in the box for the visitors looked to make any attempt to get on the ball and it flew against the far post and into the back of the net. Come on. You knew Sunderland would break out of their scoring drought against us, didn’t you?
West Ham 1
West Ham should have gone back on top in the 37th minute when Byram intercepted a pass and started a break with a through ball for Snodgrass. A low cross to Carroll was played back into the box where Ayew tried a pirouette to get on the ball but his shot went over the bar. Snodgrass was right behind him and likely in a better position to shoot if Ayew had let the ball go. He didn’t, and Snodgrass showed his indignation at his teammate.
After the meat has a nice crust on both sides, take it out and rest it on a plate. Put half the onions in the Dutch Oven, place the brisket on top, and then cover the remaining onions.
In the single minute of added time, Defoe set up Khazri on the edge of the box for an attempt on goal that didn’t trouble Randolph. But after a good spell by Sunderland standards, the halftime whistle was more welcomed by us than them.
West Ham 1
A lot was made of Ginge’s contributions last week against Swansea. While West Ham’s central defense had looked like a Keystone Cops routine for months at a time, he never appeared to complain. Leaving the club was close to a dead cert over the summer. In the opening moments of the second half, West Ham earned their first corner of the match. With the guile of a seasoned striker, Collins maneuvered into position in the box and was able to guide the Snodgrass set piece into the back of the net with his concrete skull.
West Ham 2
Finally, pour in beef stock to halfway up the meat. If you plan to use store bought stock, I beg of you. Stop. Make stock. It’s so easy. Bones, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, water. A few hours later you’ve got stock. In terms of cooking temperature and time, think Joey O’Brien. Low and slow. I do 275 degrees for however many hours I want. Usually no less than four, but more often than not six or so.
Jose Fonte has, to put it mildly, not pulled up any trees since arriving in January. But when Fernandes gave the ball away at the top of the West Ham area in the 60th minute, it was Fonte who got in Anichebe’s way to snuff out a possibly disastrous situation for the birthday boy. As simple as it was, and yes it should be expected of a center half, it was Fonte’s best moment in Claret & Blue to date. Not that it says much.
All day long, Byram tried to battle Anichebe Mano a Mano. From a physical perspective it was no contest. Byram held his own to be fair, but in the 70th minute Mariner saw what he thought was a bit too much from the young right back and awarded Sunderland a free kick. West Ham handled it, but moments later Ndong was set up by Khazri for what should have been an equalizer with a rolled pass in the box and somehow Ndong hit the 40th row when the net was a significantly easier target.
I’m glad I was done cutting things and the knife was put away when Randolph did his idiotic clearance attempt. Borini. Adrian against Everton. Enough said.
Oh. This is important. Always slice the meat against the grain. That way it falls apart on your plate and in your mouth.
West Ham 2
Here’s the thing. From a completely unemotional, results based perspective today was an acceptable day. Swansea lost, we didn’t. So as it stands, they need to gain ten more points than us in the final five games of the season. ‘Boro have two games in hand but are thirteen points behind us. In all likelihood, we are safe. Yet like most of you, I feel defeated. As if our concerns about the issues at the club were somehow ratified with this result. Last year was the exception, and this year is the rule.
Thankfully West Ham aren’t cooked. But my brisket is.