Sam Baldock is eyeing more time on the pitch after making an impact as a
substitute on Saturday
It has been a testing few weeks for Sam Baldock. Having seen his West Ham
United career explode into life with braces against Blackpool and Leicester
City back in October, Baldock hoped to cement his position as the club's
main goal threat. Since then, however, a thigh injury and competition for
places from Carlton Cole and new signing Nicky Maynard have seen the No7
named among the substitutes in recent weeks. After watching the Millwall and
Blackpool victories and Southampton draw from the bench, the 22-year-old
burst into action as a 73rd-minute replacement for Maynard in Saturday's
goalless home draw with Crystal Palace. Baldock was full of intelligent
running and movement, forging two clear openings for himself, only to see
his low shots saved by Eagles goalkeeper Julian Speroni. The forward felt he
should have done better, particularly with the second opportunity. "I've not
been on the pitch in the last three games so I was itching to get on," he
told West Ham TV. "I had a lot of pent-up energy which unfortunately didn't
result in a goal. "The second one I would back myself nine times out of ten
to score it. Maybe it was a little bit of rustiness - I don't know what it
was - but I think I should have put it a little bit further wide of him and
maybe he wouldn't have been able to stop it. "I was just trying to guide it
inside the far post. I hit it cleanly and maybe it would have been better if
I hadn't connected so well because it might have gone in as he'd already
started falling. That's football and I'll learn from it and get the next
An intelligent and considered personality, Baldock knows he faces a
challenge to win back his starting place with competition from Cole,
Maynard, John Carew, Frederic Piquionne and Frank Nouble. However, it is a
challenge that he is relishing as the season approaches a seemingly
thrilling climax. "I take the situation as it comes. Obviously I've been
frustrated and I think the other players have seen that frustration but I'm
not going to let it affect me when I do get opportunities to play. I'm going
to try to grab every chance that I can. "The players who we've brought in
have only added to the quality that we've got in the squad and hopefully
they'll help us to reach our aim of winning the league. "All I can do is try
to impress the manager when I do get a chance in training and in the games
and hopefully I've shown him again what I can do on Saturday and he'll bear
me in mind a bit more next time he is picking the team."
Baldock might have been out of sight in recent weeks, but he certainly has
not left the minds of West Ham fans, who welcomed his introduction against
Palace with a loud cheer. The player himself said he and his team-mates
would be spurred on by such vociferous support over their closing 14 league
fixtures. "The fans have always been good to me every since I scored my
first couple of goals against Blackpool. I think they know that I'll work
for them and I'll work for the badge. "The fans are a credit to the club
with the noise that they make and they inspire us."
Vinny's Crystal Palace Report
Vinny 10:58 Sun Feb 26
West Ham Online
West Ham United 0 Crystal Palace 0
In the early kick off West Ham failed to beat Crystal Palace and drop to
second in the league with Southampton regaining top spot in the
After destroying Blackpool earlier in the week 4-1 despite going down to ten
men and playing midfielder Henri Lansbury in goal for much of the second
half there was great expectation and confidence going into this game so to
put in such a mediocre display was extremely frustrating.
Instead of a confident display providing tenacity fearlessness and heart
what we saw was a very tired performance lacking ideas and we never seemed
to be able to find momentum against an impressive Crystal Palace side that
played some very nice stuff especially in a first half which they dominated.
Nothing about this performance was similar to the last three we have put in
which showed a resilience we have all been delighted with especially in the
adversity of having a man sent off in each of those games.
Despite the disappointing result the positive we can take is that we were
not beaten and in the second half Palace barely managed a decent effort on
goal. Our issue was that we had so little creativity and width that our
attacking play was so slow and led to very little.
Although I like most was unhappy with the way we played I cannot justify the
booing of the team at half time and full time. Who the hell do we think we
are? This is West Ham and not Barcelona, we will not win every game and I
cannot work out why sections of our support think we will.
Listening to some of our 'support' during the game you would think that we
were bottom of the league never mind at the top. The reactions to certain
players still baffle me in terms of how some cannot be criticised but others
will be no matter what they do.
Every fan of course has a right to an opinion and they pay their money blah
blah but I still cannot understand the mentality of turning up to watch West
Ham and deciding to slag everything about the club off for ninety minutes.
Certainly I have expressed my dissatisfaction over our style of football and
the direction the club is taking on the pitch but I would save those
grumblings for after the game in either conversation or on forums such as
Underneath it all it is perhaps supporters becoming disillusioned with the
state of football in this country and the lack of connection to any of the
players they are paying to watch. We as a club are fortunate to have players
in our side which at least have some affection towards the club such as Mark
Noble, Jack Collison and James Tomkins.
Not that I want to sit here and start dictating the way supporters decide to
support the team but I cannot understand why we would boo the team off
either at half time or full time. If we had lost three or four nil I could
perhaps understand but I am at a bit of a loss to the mentality of some.
Having beaten Blackpool so convincingly there was unsurprisingly no changes
made the starting line-up.
This saw Nicky Maynard up front on his own with Vaz Te on the left wing and
Faubert on the right with the midfield trio of Collison, Tomkins and Noble
(who was the captain in the absence of Kevin Nolan).
Despite the concern caused by Allardyce refusing to name a substitute goal
keeper on the bench last Tuesday, once again he opted to not to have one.
It was the visitors from South London who could and possibly should have
taken the lead within the first minute when Zaha found himself clear down
the right and he squared for Darren Ambrose who curled his shot wide in what
was a good chance.
Even early on in the first half Winston Reid seemed to be struggling to deal
with Palace forward Jermaine Easter and during the first period Reid won
next to nothing in the air. I am not sure if it was the sun in his eyes or
he was just having a tough afternoon but he did not look comfortable.
Easter got in behind Reid and looked to have a clear run on goal but Faye
got back to make an excellent block.
On the six minute mark many of the West Ham fans attempted to chant the name
of Bobby Moore whose anniversary it was the day before. Whilst it did not
really take off the way many had hoped it was still a nice gesture in
remembrance of West Ham and England's finest.
The first twenty minutes was a very disjointed affair which the game being
stopped for injuries and free kicks which prevented either team from
settling early and finding any fluidity to their game.
Tomkins went down with a facial injury which saw him receive treatment for
some time which Carlton Cole taking off his tracksuit and poised to come on.
But Tomkins recovered and was able to come back onto the pitch when it had
looked as though his afternoon was finished.
On the 18 minute mark we won a corner on which was taken by Jack Collison.
It was an awful corner and he would have another couple of attempts during
this half which would be just as bad if not worse.
A turn and shot by Martin saw Robert Green parry the ball and claim just
before Easter could nip in. It wasn't a great stop from Green who would have
been disappointed that he misjudged the movement of the ball.
Palace were picking up confidence and looked the team most likely to open
the scoring as Martin again saw his effort beaten out by Robert Green. The
ball then came out to Zaha who had reacted quicker and his effort came off
Tomkins with Robert Green having to make a reaction save to tip over the
The corner that came in was met by Jedinak but his attempt went over the bar
when he should have done slightly better.
The Place fans were in full voice and the only ones making noise inside the
Boleyn Ground. The had come in numbers and must have been delighted by the
way their side were approaching the game.
Green was called into action again when weak challenges from Noble and
O'Brien saw the ball break to Jedinak who hit his shot at goal which was
pushed away by Robert Green who was the difference at this point.
Five minutes of injury time were awarded due the amount of stoppages and I
was just hoping we would be able to get in at half time still on level
And we did manage to go in at half time at 0-0 but the half time whistle was
met by a number of boos from the West Ham support.
It was quite embarrassing really that being 0-0 at half time would be
greeted by boos from your own support.
Whilst we had not reached anywhere near our Top Gear those who booed should
be taken outside and shot in front of their families.
A change was needed and it was made with Carlton Cole coming on for Julien
Faubert who had not been in the game.
It was humorous that the people around me who usually slag Cole all game
long were actually suggesting during the first half that we needed him on
Whether it was Cole or just the way the team approached the second half we
instantly looked a better team and the performance in the second half whilst
not our best was a million times better and we created a few chances which
should have seen us take a least one of them.
Cole one his first challenge and gave the ball to McCartney who fed Vaz Te
who took on one defender but then lost the ball. The reason I bring this up
is that Vaz Te did this all game long and I lost count of the amount of
times he lost the ball.
A misplaced pass from Zaha saw Maynard nip in and he gave the ball to Cole
who curled his shot wide. This was a rare attack and it was positive to see
this so early on the second period.
And we should have done better just three minutes later when Noble put Cole
through but he opted to pass the ball to Vaz Te who took a poor first touch
and was challenged.
Vaz Te was wasteful when on the ball and his poor shot (almost a pass back)
was easily saved by Speroni.
A minute later and Vaz Te was replaced by Gary O'Neil who had opened his
account for the club last Tuesday at Blackpool with the third goal.
We were seeing a lot of the ball but did very little with it. We would get
to a certain point and then simply turn back or knock it sideward. McCartney
and O'Brien were both offering width but when they got the ball they were
reluctant to put a early cross into the area. In the case of O'Brien he just
seemed as though he did not have the ability to do so with many of his
crosses being blocked.
Palace had done very little in the second half but were always dangerous on
the break and they should have scored when a long ball over the top evaded
both Faye and Reid and Jermaine Easter was in on goal but thrashed his shot
On the 73rd minute mark Nicky Maynard was replaced by Sam Baldock. Maynard
had kept going but just could not get in the game enough to make any impact.
Baldock nearly made that impact just moments after coming on with Noble
played the ball through to Baldock who got in behind the defender but the
angle was very tight although he did manage to get a shot on target which
Speroni saved and pushed it behind for a corner.
Our best chance of the game came a few moments later when a ball towards
Cole saw the striker superbly find Baldock who hit it first time but Speroni
saved with his legs. Baldock should have done better with the chance and if
he had knocked it the other side of the keeper it was surely a goal.
Four minutes of added time were awarded and despite a bit of a scramble in
the area after Collison but the cross into area Tomkins couldn't manage to
get a shot in and it was easily saved.
The final whistle blew and boos rang around Upton Park. Later that afternoon
Southampton beat Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road to claim top spot again.
If you have to pick a West Ham man of the match then for me it was Robert
Green and that is testament to how well Palace played in that first half.
Green made a few excellent stops but you would expect that from an excellent
Troubled less defensively than he should have been given his lack of pace
but he made a few very strong challenges and didn't pull out of any 50/50's.
Going forward he was poor and lacked ideas, his crossing was poor and he was
Recently he has been one of our best players and his progression has been
remarkable. He deserves his place in the starting line up but this was poor
display and he looked very shaky. He was bailed out by Faye a number of
times. He could not get to grips with Jermaine Easter who gave him a hard
Read the game well, was great in the air as he usually is and made some
vital blocks especially in that first half.
A good display from McCartney although like O'Brien when going forward he
simply does not know what to with the ball which isn't his fault as he is a
left back and not an attacking left winger. He wasn't helped by the lack of
movement from his team mates when moving forward with the ball.
Just couldn't get into the game and when he did get the ball he generally
just gave it back to the opposition. I would have kept him on during the
second half and moved him to right back with O'Brien coming off for Cole.
Offered very little in his newfound midfield role and he was not very
noticeable during the game.
His passing was not of his usual standard and he was very frustrating at
times. Too slow when on the ball although there was very little to aim at.
Despite this when we were going forward he was usually the main supply and
Noble never hid during the game.
I received a text message from a mate near the end of the game saying
"Collison is shit, all he does is give the ball back to them". It was hard
to disagree on this evidence.
Ricardo Vaz Te
A lot of hot air from the new man who just couldn't make any impact on the
He also could not get into the game but in fairness, knocking the long ball
with him not exactly being a 'presence 'made it difficult for him.
Carlton Cole (on for Faubert 45 mins)
Certainly we looked better when he was on the pitch and if you are going to
play a 4-5-1 formation at home then you will have to play Cole down the
middle as there is no one else that can do this role better at the club.
Gary O'Neil (on for Vaz Te 58 mins)
Whilst Vaz Te was not doing much this was still a surprising substitution
given that we had lacked width and O'Neil is not exactly an out and out
winger. Apart from getting booked he was not in the game.
Sam Baldock (on for Maynard 73 mins)
Of all the subs used he was the one who made the most impact and perhaps
should have scored one of the two chances which came his way in his first
few minutes on the pitch. I like Baldock and would like to see more of him
but as fourth choice striker his chances may be limited.
Subs Not Used: Lansbury, Potts
Man Of The Match: Robert Green
Crystal Palace: Speroni, McShane, Parr, McCarthy, Gardner, Ambrose,
Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Zaha, Martin, Easter
Substitutes: Price, Garvan, Murray, O'Keefe, Scannell
As we enter March we are certainly in a position we would have wanted to be
and despite this poor display we must keep confident that we will achieve
what we have set out to do this season which is of course gain promotion
back to the top division.
Our lack of ideas going forward despite having brought in two attacking
players in Vaz Te and Maynard was particularly disappointing and I do not
feel I am being unfair to have expected to see a bit more from an attacking
Palace came with a game plan to frustrate and most teams do when playing us
on our own pitch but at the same time I was impressed with some of the
football they played and in Zaha they really do have a very good player who
sadly for them is unlikely to be there next season.
Next Game - Cardiff (a), Sunday 4th March 12.45pm KO
This is without a doubt one of our biggest games of the season and will be
very difficult. We certainly need to get something from this game and given
our good away form I would hope we can beat them. They are one of the best
sides in the division and today take on Liverpool in the League Cup Final.
The result of this one will tell you a lot about our prospect s from here on
out and I do not underestimate the importance on getting a positive result
in this one.
NOTE TO OTHER WEBSITES: You are expressly forbidden from copying and pasting
this whole article onto your own site. Quote by all means, and do link, but
wholesale copying and plagiarising may reap some SERIOUS consequences.
I think the last three games caught up with the lads today as the vast
majority of them turned out again.
I might have made a slight mistake in picking exactly the same 11 that
started at Blackpool, but I thought they'd done so well and deserved to come
and play at home in this game.
We livened it up in the second half and got a little better but still didn't
quite hit the heights we know we can. But it was still a very, very good
point - and one that increases our total at the top.
I thought Palace set out their stall very well; it was very difficult for us
to find the right areas to break them down today. I think they defended very
well and that prevented us from getting our passing as good and [as] sharp
as it has been recently.
We failed - certainly in the first half - to create any real chances at all.
We did a little better in the second half but all the lads are disappointed,
to be fair to them. What they've had to face over the last four games, it's
been a magnificent achievement getting two wins and two draws.
[On the Fan reaction]
The players are disappointed. As a manager you learn to accept anything, you
know what I mean? So anything that comes your way, you just have to try and
take it. Yes, I'll agree with one or two of the players [who] were a little
disappointed they got booed - they said that in the dressing room - because
we're top of the league.
But we've built up expectations by doing so well here against Millwall with
ten men, here against Southampton with ten men and by playing really well at
Blackpool - as all the travelling away fans would have told everybody. We
didn't deliver today, but I think I've just explained the reasons why.
But they've got to stay with us, they've got to stay patient and we'll all
benefit in the end. I've just said to the lads that we're all disappointed,
they've just shown their disappointment. They cheer us when we win, they're
not too happy that we didn't play so well today. That's the way it goes.
Season 2011/12 Scorers and Red Cards
Carlton Cole - 9 (9 League)
Kevin Nolan - 7 (7 League)
Mark Noble - 7 (7 League)
Sam Baldock - 5 (5 League)
Jack Collison - 3 (3 League)
Winston Reid - 2 (2 League)
John Carew - 2 (2 League)
Frederique Piquionne - 2 (2 League)
James Tomkins - 2 (2 League)
Own Goal - 2 (2 League)
Papa Bouba Diop - 1 (1 League)
Joey O'Brien - 1 (1 League)
Matthew Taylor - 1 (1 League)
Henri Lansbury - 1 (1 League)
Julien Faubert - 1 (1 League)
Frank Nouble - 1 (1 League)
Nicky Maynard - 1 (1 League)
Ricardo Vaz Te - 1 (1 League)
Gary O'Neil - 1 (1 League)
Scott Parker - 1 (1 League)
Junior Stanislas - 1 (1 Cup)
Callum McNaughton - 1 (vs Aldershot home)
Frederique Piquionne - 1 (vs Portsmouth home)
Joey O'Brien - 1 (vs Reading away)
Jack Collison - 1 (vs Reading away)
Kevin Nolan - 1 (vs Millwall home)
Matthew Taylor - 1 (vs Southampton home)
Robert Green - 1 (vs Blackpool away)
A Message to WHTID Readers from David Sullivan
February 26th, 2012 - 10:54 am by Iain Dale
West Ham Till I Die
David Sullivan has been reading your comments in the threads after the
interview posts. He just emailed me this.
If there is any way you can pass on my thoughts to all the supporters who
read the interview I'd appreciate it. I always listen to the views of
supporters and I hope everybody who read all the articles will know me a
little bit better and and know it's the best interest of the club is the
reason we make every decision. We don't always get it right, nobody does,
but we try our best.
I thought our football was OK yesterday, we just lacked energy and we didn't
take our chances, additionally too many passes went astray. We were very
poor in the first half, but a lot better in the second half and most days
would have scored from the number of corners/chances we had.
Jack begs Green to stay a Hammer
West Ham 0 Crystal Palace 0
By JUSTIN ALLEN
Published: 26 Feb 2012
JACK COLLISON last night urged West Ham team-mate Robert Green to sign a new
deal. The Hammers keeper produced an Upton Park masterclass to prove his
England credentials. Green, 32, is back in the Three Lions squad to face
Holland at Wembley on Wednesday. But his West Ham contract runs out in the
summer and midfielder Collison, 23, revealed: "I might have to start having
a word with him and give him a few rib shots to get him to sign. "He's been
brilliant for us this season - and long may it continue. "Greeny has been a
massive part of the team and he's a world-class keeper. "Some of the saves
he makes are just unbelievable but you can see from how hard he works, he
gives the team confidence to go and play."
Hammers traipsed off to a deafening chorus of boos after a poor display. And
boss Sam Allardyce admitted some of his players were miffed by the fans'
reaction - especially as the club were still top of the table until rivals
Southampton cruised to victory at Watford later on. But Green certainly did
not deserve to get the bird after stunning stops from Chris Martin, Wilfried
Zaha and Mile Jedinak. Even Palace boss Dougie Freedman conceded: "Rob Green
was the difference between us winning and drawing - and that's why he's an
Allardyce admitted he is working hard on keeping Green next season. He said:
"We're trying, we are still negotiating like we have been for a long time
with a few players. "We have not got that to a conclusion yet. Green has
been playing on top of his game and has done well all season. Today, he
showed he is worthy of his call-up. "His all-round goalkeeping is very
solid, his basics are very good and when we need something a little more, he
is always there for us. The early part of today's game was the reason why we
kept a clean sheet, because we weren't at our best in front of him. "That
gave us the opportunity to get better in the second half and try to win it."
In truth, Hammers were not that much better after the break - and Big Sam is
a great one to refer to stats. They read that Palace had 13 shots on target
to West Ham's 11 and eight off target to the hosts' five. And, to the
untrained eye, the Eagles deserved to win - although West Ham sub Sam
Baldock nearly nicked it with two late chances.
Allardyce's side did achieve one rare feat - they kept 11 men on pitch after
having Kevin Nolan, Matt Taylor and Green dismissed in consecutive games.
Hammers next game is at Cardiff on Sunday so Collison is camping himself in
Wales for the week, first representing his homeland against Costa Rica on
Wednesday before facing Hammers' promotion rivals. Collison said: "Cardiff
have a great fanbase and have done well this year. The past few years
they've been unlucky not to go up but they'll be looking to turn us over.
"We have to show how resilient we are, how good a team we are and make sure
we get the points."
Palace defender Paddy McCarthy said: "We're very exciting going forward and
we're improving every week. "We've got a lot of good young players at the
club and they'll just keep getting better."
SUN STAR MAN
ROBERT GREEN (West Ham). Showed his England class.
Crystal Palace boss Freedman: West Ham signed one of our targets
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman believes that the big difference
between his side and West Ham is that the Hammers can afford to bring in
high-quality players. Freedman admitted he tried to buy West Ham's Sam
Baldock when he was at MK Dons but was unable to afford him. "Sam (Baldock)
is a fantastic player and we were interested in him. It shows the financial
differences," Freedman told Talksport "Big Sam can strengthen with Baldock
and Maynard while we need to nurture our youngsters by the end of it." The
two sides played out a 0-0 draw and the Eagles manager was pleased with his
side's performance at Upton Park. "In the end I think it was a fair result,"
he added. "We created four or five opportunities and made them change their
team at half-time. "We were resilient and we deserved that."
The Eagles boss does not think his side can reach the play-offs this season,
despite having seven home games and four away games in their run-in. "I
don't think we're ready for the play-offs," he revealed. "We're three or
four players short of the play-offs. This year I believe we are four players
short. "If we can keep on performing we'll get there but it won't be this