David Hautzig's Match Report
I normally cannot do reports for midweek matches because I would be hopping from one customer to another selling lovely fermented grapes. But today, I guess luckily for me, there were no customers available. With my country pretty much on fire, I wasn’t that surprised that a traveling salesman could be skipped for a day. In retrospect, I would have welcomed the time away from the TV.
The starting eleven had one change with Yarmolenko in for Lanzini. While I understood the argument, I was worried that the Ukrainian would be exhausted by the hour mark and that his role as a “super sub” had worked so why change? Perhaps linking up with the engine that is Antonio was what Moyes had in mind.
Burnley should have taken an early lead when Vydra held up the ball nicely inside the West Ham eighteen yard box and laid off a pass for Pieters ten yards out. But with time and space at his grasp, he skied his shot over the bar. Moments later West Ham won a free kick that Pope couldn’t keep hold of, but West Ham couldn’t take advantage and the threat ended with an ambitious but fruitless attempt by Ogbonna. Down the other end it was Burnley with a chance from a set piece, but despite a good delivery Vydra didn’t produce much power and Fabianski made the easy save.
West Ham had a good spell on the ball midway through the half, with Soucek particularly impressive. He moved the ball side to side, and when he lost possession he fought to get it back. He cam very close to giving The Hammers the lead when Fredericks put a cross into the box that Soucek got to, but his point blank volley was right at Pope. Seconds later it was Antonio who tested the Burnley keeper, who put the temporary striker’s attempt out for a corner. The home side was huffing and puffing, but the Burnley house was holding firm.
The Hammers had another opportunity in the 35th minute when Antonio went on a good run down the left, cut inside and tried to find Yarmolenko in the box. He did, but the pass had a bit too much on it and Yarmolenko couldn’t one time it. And when a Burnley defender is given a millisecond to regroup he will often get the job done. Long did that job.
The breakthrough came for the visitors in the 38th when Taylor put in a fine cross for Rodriguez, who headed it past Fabianski against the run of play.
West Ham 0
West Ham should have equalized seconds later when Antonio beat the Burnley defenders and was in on goal alone. But he put somehow put the ball wide when virtually anywhere else would have done.
West Ham 0
Burnley started the second half on the front foot, winning an early corner after a good buildup down the left. A floated ball into the box was put out for a corner by Soucek but West Ham got through it unscathed. But instead of growing into the second half the way they did in the opening forty-five minutes, West Ham looked uncomfortable. Balls went astray, players looked out of position. An opportunity to solidify survival was turning into a drop back down into a possible abyss. And to make matters worse, Chris Wood came in for Vydra with plenty of time left for him to stick yet another dagger through our collective hearts.
Burnley were very lucky not to be down to ten men when Tarkowski literally put the bottom of his boot into the left knee of Bowen. At first glance I was very, very concerned about a serious injury to our latest signing but thankfully he was OK. He even took a corner a few minutes later.
With the rain pouring down, Moyes made his first substitution in the 62nd minute when Yarmolenko gave way for Haller. And seconds later the Frenchman should have scored when the ball fell to him right in front of goal. His point blank shot went off Pope’s foot and out for a corner. But it should have been a goal.
A few minutes later Taylor put a low cross into the box that found Wood. But for the grace of some kind of higher power he didn’t score, putting a light effort into the arms of Fabianski.
West Ham probed and pondered, winning a corner that they took short and eventually won a less useful throw in. Antonio tried to turn a Long and make a run along the end line. But his touch betrayed him, and Burnley had a goal kick. Tick tick tick went the clock.
While I often cannot stomach the last minutes of a match like this, today I had a legitimate reason. In the 81st minute UPS arrived at my house with an important package that needed a signature, and since it was refrigerated needed to be unpacked immediately. My wife was on a call, so leaving it in the garage was not an option. I was back inside to see Haller on the ground, lambasted by Efan Ekoku for staying down and not being injured.
West Ham 0
I think we can officially call Burnley a Bogey team now. It doesn’t seem to matter if we play better than them. They find a way to get it done. And what felt like it may be a day to put serious daylight between us and the drop zone turned out to be a day that could see us back up into the Abyss.
The West Ham Way is getting very, very old.