I have only just calmed down enough to write something that is not riddled with expletives. Deep breath. Okay, if we cannot score goals when we are dominating a match, as we did today, and if we cannot close out a game we are going to get relegated. End of.
Yesterday’s team had the expected forward line of Bellamy and Sears, with Bowyer and Parker starting in midfield, meaning only the bench for Mullins and Collison. Diego Tristan did not even make the bench. We started well, with plenty of possesion, and some good-looking football. Bellamy and Sears were looking dangerous against an Everton defence that looked slow and nervy. But surely we were due an injury to one of key player as we hadn’t had one for at least a game or two? Oh yes, 17 minutes on the clock, Upson falls awkwardly and is stretchered off. Neill moved into the middle of defence, Faubert to right back and on came the impressive Collison.
We should have been two goals up by half-time, with Sears the main culprit. He played well, but has to work on his finishing, one particular chance from six yards after good work by Boa-Morte springs to mind.
Everton looked a better side after the break, Moyes had clearly given his team a rocket over the half-time lucozade. But it was a goal for the Hammers, 18 minutes into the second haf. Bellamy broke down the left, fed Parker, who flicked the ball through to Collison who made no mistake and curled the ball into the top right-hand corner. An excellent goal, and even better that it was Collison scoring it. At this point we should have moved up a gear and finished Everton off, we did not, but neither did we look like losing the game.
The Everton equaliser came on 83 minutes. That’s right mathematicians, they scored three goals in seven minutes. The first came from a Saha cross. It was like our defenders were playing statues, Lescott rose to head in completely unchallenged. Take a long hard look at yourselves Messers Neill and Collins. The team looked utterly stunned, and the crowd were livid. We all knew what was going to happen, and true enough two miutes later Anichebe crossed for the impressive Saha to shoot hime via a deflection. I can’t tell you too much about the third goal because I was leaving the ground gutted, but I believe it was a(nother) Faubert error leading to Saha’s second of the game.
Any positives from the game, such as Collison, or the quality link-up play from Sears and Bellamy are just blown away by those nightmare last seven minutes. Zola, and perhaps more so Steve Clark need to sort the defence out. Clearly we missed Upson after he had to go off, but that is no excuse.
Gianfranco Zola: Can’t blame him for the shocking defensive capitulation. Needs to buy a striker in January, someone who knows where the net is, and can stay fit.
David Moyes: His hairdryer treatment at half-time clearly did something.
Zola on the game:
‘It’s very difficult to accept. It is not the first time we’ve spoilt a good job in the last 10 minutes of a game.
‘It is something that concerns me very much, obviously. The only thing I can say right now is that we need to find a solution.
‘Maybe I have to give something more because the Premier League is punishing. You cannot afford to drop your attention for a minute.’
Moyes on Saha:
‘He is a top talent. He has not missed a day’s training since we signed him.
‘If he can continue to get goals then it will help him and us. He is on a two-year contract and signing him was a bit of a ‘no-brainer’ for us.
‘The only question was his fitness. I think it was a little bit of a gamble as we’ve tried not to sign too many players with an injury record.