|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Andy Carroll’s double sinks Middlesbrough as West Ham climb table
Louise Taylor at the Riverside Stadium
datePublished Saturday 21 January 2017 17.26 GMT
Andy Carroll not only scored twice but made a compelling case for an England recall as West Ham United’s mid-winter revival continued with a fifth win in seven league games.
Much more of this from Slaven Bilic’s side and the striking Dimitri Payet will seem both increasingly dispensable and an even bigger idiot than he already appeared.
As hard as Adama Traoré tried – and, illuminating the bleakest of Teesside afternoons Aitor Karanka’s winger played like a man auditioning for a role at Chelsea next season – Middlesbrough could not quite avoid a defeat that leaves them far too close to the bottom three for comfort.
They are now without a win in their last five games and, perhaps unwisely, their manager bizarrely took his frustration out on the home fans. “The atmosphere was awful,” said Karanka. “They demanded too much. I don’t know how many thousands of people were asking for long balls at the end but it’s a style we don’t know how to play and the team was broken on the pitch. I was really upset.
“We have to improve but they need to understand where we were last season. They have small memories. These players deserve more respect. It’s something we have to fix – and while I’m here we won’t be playing long balls.”
Bilic was somewhat happier. “We were way the better side,” he said, before revealing Angelo Ogbonna had played his last game of the season and is due to undergo knee surgery. “And Andy Carroll gives you everything. He’s brilliant. He’s quality.”
The same has been said of Payet but West Ham’s manager acknowledged that the Frenchman’s downing of tools had bonded and galvanised his team-mates. “You lose something and you gain something,” he shrugged. “But it would be ridiculous for me to say we don’t miss him playing.”
Karanka’s mood might have been different had Carroll not recovered from the whiplash he sustained in the course of scoring that acrobatic volley against Crystal Palace last week. Indeed, it did not take the centre-forward many minutes to prove a real pain in the Boro manager’s neck.
His opening goal was quintessential Carroll, involving him out-leaping both Calum Chambers and Ben Gibson before connecting with Manuel Lanzini’s corner and powering an unstoppable header past the helpless Victor Valdés and into the net.
At least Karanka had Traoré on his side and the winger’s amalgam of rapid acceleration and a clever, shoulder dropping trick destabilised Bilic’s defence to the point where Chambers was able to cross for Cristhian Stuani to side-foot a shot beyond Darren Randolph at the end of a glorious eight-man passing move that encapsulated Karanka’s vision.
Unwilling to be upstaged, Carroll offered a swift riposte, pouncing on the rebound after Valdés could only parry Michail Antonio’s low shot from the edge of the area into his path. As Carroll extended his left boot to steer the ball into the net, Valdes must have rued his failure to push Antonio’s effort around the post.
Bilic wanted a penalty when George Friend went through the back of Sofiane Feghouli in the area and the sense of visiting grievance grew when Bernardo Espinosa’s nasty, cynical, foul caused Mark Noble to hobble off nursing an ankle injury. Badly missing Noble’s intelligence in midfield, West Ham lived dangerously for a while.
Randolph did well to keep a Marten de Roon header out and only Stuani’s body and the bar came, rather fortuitously, between Aaron Cresswell and an own goal.
Yet although a tight groin forced Carroll off, his replacement, Jonathan Calleri, enjoyed the final word, the substitute’s stoppage-time shot deflecting in off Adam Clayton before gentle boos greeted the final whistle. “I wouldn’t say the atmosphere was awful,” said Bilic. “It was just that we played real good.”
Daily Mail: PLAYER RATINGS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
Middlesbrough (4-1-4-1): Valdes 5.5; Chambers 6.5, Bernado 6, Gibson 6, Friend 6; Clayton 6.5; Traore 7.5, de Roon 6.5, Forshaw 7 (Gestede 83), Stuani 6.5 (Bamford 80); Negredo 6.5
Subs not used: Da Silva, Leadbitter, Fischer, Guzan, Downing
Scorers: Stuani 27
West Ham (4-4-2): Randolph 6; Byram 5.5, Reid 7.5, Ogbonna 6.5, Cresswell 5.5; Feghouli 6 (Collins 83), Noble 6 (Fernandes 54, 5.5) Obiang 6, Lanzini 6.5; Antonio 7, Carroll 8 (Calleri 67, 6.5)
Subs not used: Adrian, Fletcher, Oxford, Quina
Scorers: Carroll 9 and 43, Calleri 90
Referee: Martin Atkinson 6.5
Att: 30, 848