David Hautzig's Match Report
“Listening to game. Heart is not really into it this morning with what is happening to our country.” That’s the text I got from my best mate, Jon right before kickoff. I was out all morning, completely unaware of what had happened in Pittsburgh, and found it hard not to switch to news websites. I didn’t because I couldn’t handle watching real life. There was also a nasty storm called a Nor’easter where I live, with heavy winds and rain. Power and satellite signal were intermittent.
When power came back on, the first thing I saw was the cross that Balbuena tried to head away but instead caused Fabianski to dive to his left and punch the ball over the bar for a Leicester corner. The announcers here said West Ham needed some possession to take the pressure off. That gave me the distinct impression that I could be thankful for the lack of satellite signal during the opening minutes of the match.
But West Ham sprang to life for a few seconds, with a some time on the ball in the Leicester half, which culminated with a low shot by Anderson that Schmeichel did well to gobble up. A few minutes later, Snodgrass did well to fake with his left foot and open space for a right footed shot. He didn’t connect well, and the ball fizzled away wide.
West Ham had another opportunity in the 24th minute when Anderson, Hernandez, and Snodgrass did their best to gain control of the ball in the Leicester eighteen yard box. Eventually it was the born again Snodgrass who did much of the work, but his low shot rolled wide.
And then, the power and satellite went out. When it came back, Balbuena had scored. Yay. Seconds later, Noble saw red. Groan.
The West Ham Way.
Leicester came as close as you could to an equalizer without scoring when Iborra timed his run perfectly on a Leicester free kick from about 35 yards out, but Fabianski made a stunning save on the header. Masuaku inexplicably looked to pass the rebound back to Fabianski instead of hoofing the ball from danger, but West Ham escaped that lack of brain cells. Minutes later it was Diangana who momentarily lost his mind when he tried to carry the ball out of the West Ham half, ran into a problem in a blue kit, and made an ill timed pass at the top of the West Ham box. The TV flicked and froze, so I don’t know how we got out of trouble but we did.
Leicester City 0
West Ham 1
The narrative of the second half started from the opening seconds, with Leicester on the ball and West Ham back in numbers. Chillwell worked down the left and sent various crosses into the box. When West Ham tried to counter, it seemed to break down with one person at fault. Anderson. Whether it was a bad pass, or an ill advised dribble, he was the culprit. That’s not a judgment. It’s an observation.
In the 55th minute, the home side had their first real chance of the half when Albrighton attacked on the right and sent a cross to Vardy in the box. The England international and current Instagram star got a piece of the delivery but his flicked header went wide. Then in the 57th minute Iheanacho got the ball right in front of goal. He turned quickly and tried a left footed shot that glanced the arm of Zabaleta before Fabianski took control. Of course there were shouts for hand ball, but Oliver was right there and waved it away.
In the 62nd minute, it was Fabianski again to the rescue when Chillwell sent a cross from the left that Albrighton caught perfectly on the volley. But the signing so many supporters initially questioned made a superb stop. A minute later it was Albrighton who sent a cross from the right that Vardy leapt to meet but he couldn’t keep his header down and it went over the bar. Moments later Maguire sent a ball goal bound but it clipped the bar and went over for a goal kick.
As the TV flicked on and off while the satellite signal came and went, it was pretty easy to tell that Leicester was in full attack and we were all hands on deck in defense. Nigel texted he was sure we would win. I replied questioning his stability. The addition of Okazaki to the Leicester attack did nothing to dissuade me from my analysis of the situation. He always seemed to score on us, I thought.
West Ham had a good opportunity on a set piece in the 81st minute to add an unlikely second goal when Antonio won a free kick about 35 yards from goal. Snodgrass found Ogbonna with a picture perfect delivery, but the Italian couldn’t put his head on target. Amazingly, Antonio worked himself into a shot on goal in the 86th minute surrounded by three Leicester City defenders.
In the 90th minute, Ndidi did what we all feared. He scored. His shot deflected off of the Man Of The Match, Balbuena, and floated past Fabianski. To add salt to that wound, a minute later West Ham had a four on two break and with nobody in front of him Ogbonna skied his shot after a pass from Snodgrass. My picture became so bad at that point I turned it off, deciding if we did give up a second I wouldn’t have to suffer through it. We didn’t.
Leicester City 1
West Ham 1
I guess if we had given up a goal in the 50th minute and held on for the draw, we would have felt pretty good tonight. But it’s impossible to feel good about football when you give up the goal in the 90th minute. Which means today I don’t feel that good about much of anything outside of my wife and kids.