Andy Carroll was the elephant in the room. The Liverpool striker on loan in the first big moment of the match knocked the ball down straight into the path of Ricardo Vaz Te who found Kevin Nolan steaming down the left to fire a snap shot past Mark Schwarzer.
The match was just a minute old. It should have been two goals minutes later as Carroll knocked the ball down for Diame to have a blast but his shot hit the crossbar and ballooned over. It set the tone for further panic every time Carroll was involved with even the hard core Brede Hangeland committing naive errors.
Steven Reid connected from a corner to put the Hammers up by two. The Cottagers were done for when Hangeland and Diarra crowding Carroll knocked each other off trying to get to a free kick. The ball ricocheted off the falling Norwegian’s head straight to Matthew Taylor. Three down and not even the silky smooth skills of Dimitar Berbatov could bring this back for Martin Jol, looking dyspeptic by now at how badly the match had gone for his side.
Carroll had to depart clutching his hamstring after falling in a heap colliding with said Hangeland. He will miss England’s World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.
Big Sam and Big Andy conspiring to put West Ham in sixth place? Who would have thunk it?