The three injury doubts before the game were Barry Robson, Scott McDonald and Marvin Emnes. The team news was announced that our forwards would make the game and Robson missed out through injury.
On to the game, I sit in the North Stand and never like it when we lose the toss and have to swap ends! Meaning we are shooting towards the North in the first half rather than the second half! Boro had a shaky start with passes going astray, bad control by a number of players and by the way we started I would have liked all the players to go off and change their boots!
The way we started the game it was only a matter time before we got punished, West Ham put the ball in from the left and Piquionne headed in from six yards. We weren’t at the races and you need to be to play the top teams in the division. As the half went on we got better and had a few good chances through Scott McDonald and Haroun had a good chance that lacked real power. Any power and it would have been a certain goal.
2nd half we had a lot of possession without creating a clear cut chance despite three corners in quick succession they all coming to nothing as there wasn’t enough Boro shirts attacking the ball. We were certainly missing Barry Robson’s drive, determination, runs forward and another leader on the pitch. I thought the game was crying out for a winger and a centre forward, hopefully it may be possible to do a bit of wheeling and dealing in this department. Haroun on the right won a lot of headers though they was no one for the knock downs and he doesn’t really have the pace to beat people out wide.
When four minutes of injury time go up, it gives you a bit of hope getting a chance to grab an equaliser. Not this time, West Ham were keeping the ball in corner and when the game was just about up Matthew Bates pass back to Jason Steele was short and Carlton Cole latched on to the ball and had an open net to make it 2-0.
It was the manner of the defeat for me against West Ham and away at Southampton, we never really played to our full potential and started so poorly. That is the disappointing and frustrating thing. I like to see us at our best against these sides and I’m sure we would take at least a point. I felt we had the more clear cut chances and West Ham weren’t that good. You really need to start a game well against any team with plenty of premier league experience.
I would like to see Curtis Main get a chance to come off the bench between now and January, he could offer us something different until we can do something in the transfer window. Since the news came out about Rhys Williams not signing a new contract while he was on international duty he has not been the same player.
That was our first home defeat since February when we lost to QPR, a great record and real progress. Time to start another home run starting against Brighton, before then we go to Bristol City and need to get a result. The main thing is we are still in a good position and must go put a decent performance in at Bristol City this weekend. As long as we keep collecting point to keep within the top 6 we are in with a chance of promotion. There will be plenty twists to come in this league and it’s important we bounce back quickly from this defeat.