Well the dream is over. Once more the bubbles have died or, in this case, Dyered. I know it's not all about Kieron, I know others are culpable, I know we have to ask questions about what happened in the two dressing rooms at half time, but fcuk me, how easily was Dyer knocked off the ball for Birmingham's winner and how pathetic was his effort that could have won us the tie? How appropriate that this good for nothing £83,000 a week tosser should be involved in the two incidents that ultimately cost us the game! I loath the guy, just as much as I loath that other shit Bowyer, who, inevitably got himself onto the score sheet!
I'm not sure I'm in any mood to write a match report to be honest. I feel sick with depression. At half time we were in complete control. Then on came Zigic and we had no answers. How weak was Upson when Johnson scored to bring Birmingham level? How pathetic was Dyer when Carr ran through him to set up the winner, and how dozy was Hines when Bowyer was left unmarked in the box to score the first? Bowyer, of all people! For Christ's sake, you superglue somebody on Bowyer in the box! But not West Ham! No, he is a complete surprise package when he pops up in the box apparently! Well done Wally!
To be fair, Birmingham deserved the victory. They hit the post twice and Green pulled off a couple of superb stops. Apart from Cole's wonder goal, for all our possession, we didn't create many clear cut opportunities. Noble played the pass of the match but Hines was at a difficult angle to score and didn't have the presence of mind to check back or look for a cross. Cole was played in too but he was at a tight angle and under pressure. There was the Cole cross too, after another lovely piece of play by Noble, but nobody gambled. And the Hines cross that found Boa completely flat footed and dreaming. Birmingham had cleared the ball before Boa reacted. Had that been Bowyer, it would have been a goal. And the acrobatic effort from Hines but did he mean it? All those were in the first half.
Second half, we were truly inept. Once again there were no captains out on the pitch and no leadership from the sidelines. We retreated deeper and deeper and it was always just a matter of time before Birmingham scored. We desperately needed a second but we saw the same old nonsense of long aimless balls or players running, running, running until they lost possession. Noble tried to link play but looked out on his feet second half. Cole did his best to bring others into the game. Bridge worked the left flank well. But Boa, Parker, Hines, Dyer and Spector forgot that there were team mates on the pitch who you could pass to. The game was crying out for somebody to put his foot on the ball and tell everybody to calm the fcuk down, but it didn't happen. It never does with this bunch.
Did Tomkins deflect that third goal or did it dip viciously? I'm not sure. Ferguson should have been sent off for that kick at Dyer, it was every bit as bad or worse than Obinna's in the first leg. I mean Dyer is fragile so kicking him deliberately on the shin after the ball had gone was dangerous in the extreme! Shame he didn't kick him harder, the forced withdrawal of KD might just have won us the game!
Did anybody come out of the game with credit? Tomkins put in a stirling performance, except for that dreadful moment where he didn't know where the ball was. Green was impressive but I felt it could have kept the third goal out - it seemed to be eminently deflectable unless it had taken a deflection off Tomkins. Cole also ran his heart out and did score that sensational goal. Bridge was good going forward but Zigic kept pulling onto his shoulder and gave him a torrid time in the air. Faubert tried but his crossing was woeful. O'Neil? Not sure. Again his final ball wasn't great.
Let's face it, Arsenal would have stuffed us in the final so it's probably best that we focus on the Prem . The trouble is, we don't seem to be trying to sign any defenders and this team cannot defend corners or crosses into the box. And it struggles as soon as a team goes route one.
And Grant? How hopeless was he before extra time started? Why wasn't Sears used for God's sake?
Player ratings: Green 7; Faubert 6, Tomkins 7, Upson 5, Bridge 6; Hines 5, Parker 5, Noble 5, Spector 5, Boa 6; Cole 7 Subs: Dyer 1, O'Neil 5, McCarthy 1