Monday, March 17, 2008

Deadly Sears

West Ham United vs Blackburn Rovers, Upton Park, East London, Saturday March 15 2008 3pm.

It's been a while since your Midlands-based mitherer has ventured to a home game for the Hammers, during which time his pre-match drinking buddies have found a new watering hole. Namely The Black Lion, which you can find by turning right outside Plaistow tube station and walking about 400-500 yards. This Plaistow public house doesn't contain anyone we could find by the name of Patricia, but does have an archway entrance; attractive, hard-working barmaids and a decent selection of real ales, including the always welcome Adnams' Broadside. Good to get an early result under the belt.

Manage to get into the ground just about on time for a change, to see the Hammers get off to a bright enough start, passing and moving with a reasonable amount of fluidity without much in the way of penetration. Scotty Parker goes on a good run but his final ball is poor and easily intercepted, resulting in a sweeping counter-attacking move that's despatched into the net by one-time Irons target Roque Santa Cruz. The home crowd tense themselves for another debacle (my beloved West Ham have lost three games 4-0 on the trot prior to today's game) but the players themselves seem to regain their spirit, shape and belief unusually quickly and the steadily churning pressure finally converts into an equaliser with Dean Ashton making Rovers' centre-back Samba look a bit gormless with a neat turn and finish past Brad Friedel.

Your cheerful correspondent amuses himself at half-time with a quick flick through the match programme, which contains some considered thoughts from gaffer Alan Curbishley, the revelation that American defender Jonathan Spector's nickname is 'Specs' (should've seen that one coming) and midfield kingpin Hayden Mullins confessing the one thing that really annoys him in life is Anton Ferdinand's face. Then it's a polite conversation with the trendy-looking geezer in the next seat and away we go with the Second Half, the Hammers continuing with most of the pressing, but with the visitors physical in defence and always looking threatening on the break.

The game is in danger of petering out when a clearly-not-yet-match-fit Scott Parker and an unusually ineffective Nolberto Solano are replaced by young local heroes Mark Noble and Freddie Sears. Eighteen-year-old Sears is making his debut, but his scorching form for the youths and reserves this season sees his introduction greeted with a huge roar of approval from the home support. Young legs and hungry hearts soon add a bit of zip to the game and the Upton Park faithful are soon rewarded when some more good work by Ashton guides the ball into the path of the onrushing Sears, whose initial shot is parried by Friedel only for the impressive youngster to follow through with a diving header that steers the ball into the net. Mayhem justifiably ensues with everyone seeming to feel they'd witnessed an iconic introduction to the first-team game of a real local find and former Hammers hero Geoff Hurst being shown on the screen joining in the celebrations.

The Hammers have to survive a few scares before the final whistle, a smart save from Robert Green and a woeful finish from Jason Roberts however means that the home side put a rapid halt to a potential mini-crisis and take all three points, just about deserved in a bright, breezy but largely unexceptional game that will be remembered mainly for the birth of a new Upton Park star. Freddie Sears may be short in physical stature, but his pace, persistence and presence-of-mind, if cultivated correctly by the coaching staff, gives him every chance of making a big name for himself in the professional game.

Parallax Player Ratings: Green 7; Neill 5, Ferdinand 7, Spector 6, McCartney 6; Solano 5 (Sears 8), Mullins 6, Parker 6 (Noble 7), Ljungberg 7; Ashton 7, Zamora 6. Pantsil came on for Ljungberg very late on, but too late to register a rating.

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Blogger Brand Machine said...

hey. its andrew from cellardoor. i've started a blog but have no idea how to get people reading it, or how to get it on google. any suggestions bud?

3:03 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Andrew, that's a big question, but the condensed answer, off the top of my head -

E-mail all your friends with the link, and try to get some feedback asap. Try not to take any criticism too personally, however, as most bloggers take a while to 'find their voice'.

Set up a blogroll with outgoing links to sites whose readers may have similar interests to what you're covering. If you have time, send emails to the webmasters involved asking for permission to put outgoing link on your site. Not everyone does this, but the extra courtesy improves your chances of a reciprocal link.

Google will catch up with your site eventually, but if I remember rightly, there's an addpage hyperlink if you scroll down the Google homepage.

Add comments (making them relevant to post concerned, and if possible be entertaining and friendly in the process) to websites, and join forums and get your site known that way (again, keep contributions relevant and interesting, rather than just blatantly hawking your site).

Write well, and often. Be mindful that people from work, family and friends may happen across your site even if you haven't told them about it. Don't write things about people you wouldn't say to their face. Be mindful of libel laws and other relevant legislation. Try to avoid 'statements of fact' you can't back up, particularly if it relates to big companies with expensive lawyers.

Other than that, welcome to blogging. Your life will most probably never be the same again, for better or worse...

You're glad this is the condensed answer, right?

10:48 AM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

You might also want to join up to Pete Ashton's Blogging Academy.

9:53 PM  

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