We take a trip to the Boleyn Ground to play 18th-placed West Ham United and travel as 11/5 underdogs. Stephen Darby is my only change, coming in for the injured Catalin Rentea. Jonathan Bond reaches a milestone, making his 75 league appearance for the club. As we kick off, it emerges that Blackpool boss Hector Cuper is one of the 25,046 in attendance – the media report that he’s interested in signing Bradley Johnson. West Ham start the stronger and get a few early corners, but nothing of note happens until the 22nd minute when Spence enters the referee’s notebook for fouling Michele Marconi. Three minutes later, Bertin Matip has a go from 25 yards, but his shot goes just over. Spence has an attempt from 10 yards in the 38th minute, but Bond pushes it over the bar for a corner. Sean Morrison ends a dull first half by picking up a yellow card for fouling Cole.
West Ham open the scoring six minutes into the second half through Jantscher and it’s completely out of keeping with, well everything that’s gone before it. Jantscher is 30 yards out, looks up and lets a shot go that beats Bond, hits the underside of the bar and goes in. I knew we were going to concede again after some good defensive performances and if we only concede goals as good as that, I’ll be a happy manager as we’re not likely to be conceding goals like that on a regular basis. West Ham’s lead lasts six minutes; Dacian Varga crosses from the right and Bradley Johnson slides in and converts from 8 yards for his 11th goal of the season; Varga’s assist is his 15th of the season, which is a new club record (beating the 14 by Petar Zlatinov in 2012/13) That’s certainly not going to result in Cuper losing interest in him. I bring on Federico Cenci in the 60th minute as a replacement for Jonny Hayes and two minutes after coming on, he takes a free kick from 20 yards that goes over. Four minutes from time, Faubert crosses and Jantscher gets his second of the game. Or at least he would if the linesman’s flag wasn’t up – he’s narrowly offside and the scores remain level. Noble tries to replicate Jantscher’s trick of scoring from 30 yards in the 90th minute, but Bond is able to push it around the post for a corner and we survive for a point. Daniel Berger claims Man of the Match with a rating of 7.5 and we stay 4th. It wasn’t a pretty match and with the exception of Jantscher’s stunning strike, it would have been guaranteed last place on any highlights show.
Tunisian M/AM (RC) Walid Abboud and Ghanaian midfielder Johnson Turkson both join on a week’s trial. I can only assume that they didn’t see the West Ham match, which was full of uninspiring football. It had the feel of an end of season match with nothing to play for, which certainly wasn’t the case. Still, a point gained and a performance to put behind us.