Writer: Ross Molyneux
Date:Monday September 24 2007
As they might say in France - 'Zut Alors!` Pardon my pigeon French but after a mightily impressive performance from our French left winger cum full back I`m positively purring about the lad. After such a bad season last time out, no doubt helped by Glenn Roeder`s necessary but brutal axing of his best mate Boumsong and his dalliances with t0m`s sister, Charlie N`Zogbia has proven any doubters wrong with a storming start to the season. He was the undoubted catalyst for a much improved, but not quite there yet, performance by NUFC as we turned over Cass Pennant`s ICF 3-1.
Following the sh*t shower against Derby, Big Sam refused to hit the panic button and instead kept faith with just about all of the team that were involved in the surprise reversal at Pride Park. Two Pools Taylor and Stroller made way as Habib Beye made his first start for the lads and The Duke slotted back in following hamstring bother. Owen kept his place despite a mackem wench Louise Taylor led media frenzy over his tight groin.
For the Hammers there was the disappointment of only one of five former Magpies starting against us, with Solano, Parker, Bellamy and Dyer all ruled out. Lee Bowyer was the sole representative. Carlton Cole replaced the injured Bellamy with the always impressive Ashton partnering him up front.
Most of you will have seen the game in the flesh or on the box so it`s pointless trying to review every single aspect. The Duke`s opener was a belter, finally latching onto the Zog`s cross to nod in. West Ham then bossed the next half an hour, converting through Ashton and testing Harper well, before the Zog stole a march on the left to cross for the Duke to stub the ball into the net.
Half time came and went, as did Michael Owen three minutes after. Once again the words 'scan`, 'injury` and 'England` were mentioned in the same breath. Our view? It was Sheep Teeth McClaren`s fault for horsewhipping him through two ninety minute games in four days. Doubtless that won`t be reported in the national media and it`ll be Allardyce`s fault for not resting him following his England exploits. P*ss off.
The game ebbed and flowed after that and Martins seemed to be stretching the defence a lot more than Owen had as the Hammers pressed for an equaliser. It was the Nigerian who crossed for the Zog to sweep home with 15 to go for a well deserved goal from my MOTM. Oba then contrived to miss with the goal at his mercy having rounded Green. In the end though a good value three points and a great reaction to Derby.
The defence looked reasonably mean again although Cacapa took a bit of a bruising from a physical front two pairing. Milner and the rest of the midfield were a little too quiet for my liking again - hurry back Barton. Up front The Duke was magnificent in his hold up play and a deserved runner up in the MOTM stakes. Harper continued to merit Big Sam`s backing by not putting a foot wrong.
On to the Emirates…
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Date:Monday September 24 2007
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