I wouldn’t mind betting that the Senegalese FA will want a steward’s after the allegedly injured striker left their ACoN camp to fly home for treatment and to rejoin his club. Thank goodness he did. He emerged from the bench just before the hour mark and injected the only real class that the afternoon had to offer. Before he eventually poached the undeserved winner, he had already threatened the Bristol City goal with a sublime turn and lob over the defender followed by a dipping volley that scraped the top of the cross bar. He was the difference and he was enough. The crossed Hammers salute to the relieved Hammers contingent will live long in the memory. We had won the game.
Quite how is something of a mystery. Once again, we were set up as we were in the first half against Hull. Once again we were played off the park, this time by league 1 opposition, albeit league 1 opposition flying high and playing well. Twice we cleared off the line as the Bristolians utterly dominated that first period. Added to that they missed several other good chances, particularly headers inside the 6 yard area, which persisted into the second half.
Nolan and Noble were once again accommodated, alongside Song, in the central midfield area, forcing Downing and Valencia into the wide areas where they were relatively unable to influence the game. Carroll looked isolated, Nolan was huffing and puffing ineffectually whilst Song failed to find a purple shirt with monotonous regularity. We created nothing in that first half and, as against Hull, it was something of a miracle that we went in at the break on level terms.