The big question dominating all events at West Ham these days is whether manager Sam Allardyce is going or staying.
There was little in this match to confirm the matter either way. Allardyce himself appears to remain in the dark, lamenting that “everyone in football has very short memories” only remembering things that happened a week or two ago, not three or four months previously.
The manager set out his philosophy as being to entertain and win, not as was the case in this match to entertain and lose.
The game was played at a good tempo throughout with some good passing movements from both sides. The first half saw Leon Osman force a smart save from Adrian away to his right, whilst Stewart Downing broke through for the Hammers to see his rasping shot similarly dealt with by Tim Howard.
The tempo increased in the second half, when West Ham took the lead, with Alex Song slipping a ball through for the advancing Stewart Downing to sweep home.
The home side only held on though for six minutes before Romelu Lukaku got away on the right to cross over for Osman to finish expertly turning to lash the ball home.
It looked as though spoils would be even, until the curse of West Ham’s season struck once again in the final minute of injury time. A cross game over, letting West Ham’s bogey man Lukaku get inbetween defenders to head home.
Both teams remain in contention for the Europa League under the fair play rules, though it was Roberto Martinez who was the happier of the two managers, confirming he was happier to have won 2-1, despite having four players booked. In turn Allardyce declared he would have preferred to have had four, instead of one player, booked and come away with the three points.
The fans remain in the dark, as to who will be manager next season, the only clue being an interview Allardyce in the match day programme, where to the question: “if there was one place on earth you could visit where would it be,” he replied Hawaii. Strange then that as the players came out for their lap of honour after the defeat the tune theme tune Hawaii Five O rang out – is the club trying to tell us something?