West Ham lose the plot
West Ham United have lost so much touch with reality that the Tannoy announcer congratulates fictional characters on their weddings, yesterday passing on his best to Alfie Moon the EastEnders publican. They are also losing touch with the promotion pack, having won just twice in their last 14 League games.
People always expect high drama from this part of town. West Ham were one-up, 2-1 down; Pablo Counago, Ipswich Town's Spanish substitute, scored his second late on, a glance off Martijn Reuser's skewed shot from distance.
Home manager Alan Pardew hopes that his players - who look so flimsy when they are behind - were going to have as "miserable" a night as the one he was expecting.
He doubts whether his team have enough to get out of this division. "I was waiting for a bit of desire. We've got great individuals, but it's not a great team structure. We're a long way from getting the sort of spirit which will get us promoted," Pardew said.
"The players are getting well paid. We've got the highest wage bill in this division by a country mile. I and the board expect better."
Four minutes after half-time, David James, the England goalkeeper, threw long - Marlon Harewood bullied and body-swerved his way into the penalty box where he rolled his diagonal pass for the incoming Jermain Defoe to score.
Still, the Tractor Boys - who lost their East Anglian derby to Norwich last Sunday - were playing their usual aesthetic football.
Just 12 minutes after being introduced, Counago collapsed on Kevin Horlock's touch, and sent James left and stroked his penalty right. Next, nine minutes on, came that twist.
Mark Hodgkinson (Daily Telegraph)