Photograph by Danny Lewis
On a personal level the 2016/17 season has been a big one for me. As a West Ham supporter it was the first one away from Upton Park, but also as a journalist, it was the first season that I started doing regular match reviews, it has also been the time where I have started getting into games for free due to my writing. At the beginning of the season I decided to keep note of all the games I went to and in the end I clocked up 42 with the teams ranging from HJK to Hillingdon Borough. I also visited 17 new grounds in the process. Here is the summary of my 2016/17 season.
Most Entertaining Game: Poole Town 3-4 Wimborne Town (20)
I only went to this game because of a university project but I’m glad I did! On a cold Tuesday night I didn’t expect too much from the quarter final of the Dorset Senior County Cup, but it was an action packed game. There was two goals in the first 10 minutes, a comeback from Poole Town which got the game from 3-1 to 3-3 and then a last minute winner from Wimborne Town. This game had it all!
Most Boring Game: Crawley 1-0 Blackpool (14)
It’s a good job that I went to this game with my mates and was able to have a laugh about it. The game itself was very poor, the tempo was so slow and neither team really showed much quality, even the goal was terrible and shouldn’t have stood.
Best Goal: Toni Martinez (2nd) vs Coventry City (9)
This goal alone made my trip up to Coventry worth it. The game was dying out with the score line at 4-1, but the ball fell to Toni Martinez just outside the box to the right and he managed to produce an outstanding volley on the turn that floated over the Coventry goalkeeper nestling into the inner side netting of the goal. It was a truly beautiful strike.
Best Individual Performance: Joshua King vs West Ham United (32)
It was Josh King’s hat trick that won AFC Bournemouth this match. He may have missed a penalty but he was a constant nuisance and he was too much for the Hammers’ defence to handle. His direct running caused plenty of problems and his finishing saw him walk away with the match ball and three points for his side.
Worst Individual Performance: Daniel Kollar vs HJK (2)
The fact that even his manager had seen enough of him after just 19 minutes says it all. The PK-35 Vantaa goalkeeper made two absolute howlers and probably could have saved the other two goals he conceded. In short it was a complete shambles from the Finnish goalkeeper.
Best Team Performance: Manchester City vs AFC Bournemouth (28)
It was an absolute delight to watch Manchester City play the way they did. The wing play from Sane and Sterling was tremendous and they were helped by brilliant service from the midfield. When Jesus came off injured early on Aguero looked unready to come on but he was soon linking up play and he was the one who forced Mings to concede that own goal. The defence also stood strong and Caballero was dominant in his box and his distribution was brilliant. Bournemouth gave a spirited performance but City were just too much for them.
Worst Team Performance: Langford vs Hillingdon Borough (10)
Hillingdon Borough played really well in this game and deserved their 4-0 win, but Langford were equally as bad. They weren’t helped by the fact that their goalkeeper got sent off early on, but they were so easy to play against. Their defence was so soft and easily dismantled, while the attackers and midfielders didn’t really offer anything at all. In all honesty they were a bit of a shambles.
Most Frustrating Game: West Ham 2-4 Watford (11)
For me personally this was even more frustrating than the Astra Giurgiu loss. This was my girlfriend’s first ever West Ham game and we missed the first goal, mainly down to ticketing issues. Then there was the complete capitulation on the pitch and the trouble in the stands. Somehow after all that, she decided she wanted to be a West Ham supporter and couldn’t wait to get back to the London Stadium, every cloud has a silver lining.
Favourite Game: West Ham United 2-1 Chelsea (16)
A lot of people will choose to focus on the trouble towards the end of the game, but this was a brilliant match for a West Ham supporter to watch. The Hammers played really well and it was the first time that I truly liked the atmosphere in the London Stadium (apart from the end). It did help that it was a win against Chelsea, which I will always enjoy.
Highest Scoring Game: Hillingdon Borough 4-4 Harefield United (24)
Whenever someone scored there always seemed to be another goal coming. Andrew Harewood scored two goals for Hillingdon Borough in two minutes and there were another two in the last five minutes. The goal tally was helped by a penalty for both team and could have been even larger if Aaron McLeish had scored his second penalty, but then again he did get a hat trick.
Matches Watched: 42
Total Goals Seen: 147
Teams Watched: 51
Total Stadiums Visited: 19
Goals per Game: 3.5
Home wins: 22
Away wins: 14
1st Goal: Atom vs Beroe Stara Zagora (1)
25th Goal: Jordan Turnbull (2nd) vs West Ham United Under 23s (9)
50th Goal: Steve Cook vs Hull City (15)
75th Goal: Lukas McCartney vs Bournemouth FC (21)
100th Goal: Callum Wilson vs Arsenal (26)
125th Goal: Patrick Wilson vs Whitchurch United (33)
147th Goal: Joshua King vs Burnley (42)
GK Silviu Lung Jr vs West Ham United (8)
This was a very frustrating night for West Ham and the Astra Giurgiu goalkeeper was the main reason why. He made tremendous saves and was definitely the main reason his side kept a clean sheet.
RB Edimilson Fernandes vs Chelsea (16)
Played out of position, Fernandes gave a very mature performance and helped his side out defensively. He also managed to pop up with the winner. The young Swiss international was one of the stand out performers in what was arguably West Ham’s best performance of the season to that point.
CB Ivan Tatomirović vs Beroe Stara Zagora (1)
He was the main reason that HJK kept a vital clean sheet in this game. His centre back partner, Lum Rexhepi looked a bit shaky and made a few mistakes, but Tatomirović helped him out a lot. Tatomirović was solid both in the air and on the floor, giving a very dominant performance.
CB James Collins vs Everton (39)
It is very rare that Romelu Lukaku doesn’t get a sniff at goal, but this game was one time that happened. He was marked out of the match by Collins and although Winston Reid and Jose Fonte did a great job at the back, the Welshman was the stand out performer in this game. He almost got himself on the scoresheet as well, but he definitely did his job and was a massive factor in the Hammers keeping a clean sheet.
LB Aiden Callanan vs Hillingdon Borough (40)
All of Broadfields United’s first three goals came from Callanan’s free kicks which shows how much Hillingdon Borough were struggling to deal with them. Aside from that he did well defensively and was rarely beaten, while he also helped his side move up the pitch. He was taken off in the 70th minute when the match was pretty much settled, before Hillingdon Borough managed to get on the scoresheet.
RM Junior Stanislas vs Hull City (15)
The fact that he got two goals and an assist shows how effective Stanislas was in this match. His delivery from set pieces was pinpoint and he didn’t put a foot wrong all game.
CM Cheikhou Kouyate vs NK Domžale (3)
Someone was bound to be the star of the first ever West Ham match at the London Stadium and Kouyate was that man. He got two goals and controlled the midfield expertly all game.
CM Joshua King vs West Ham United (32)
King may have missed a penalty early on but he more than made up for that with a well taken hat trick. He showed great skill to flick the ball over his head to set up the first goal and a poacher’s instinct to be in the right place at the right time for his third. He was a constant threat and too much for the West Ham defence to handle.
LM Leroy Sane vs AFC Bournemouth (28)
There were times when I felt sorry for Adam Smith because Sane was tearing him to shreds. From the first minute to the last the German winger was a constant threat. He was unstoppable when he ran with the ball and also had good delivery. This paid off for City, as it was his ball in that set up Sterling for their first goal of the game.
ST Simon Makienok vs AFC Bournemouth (13)
He bullied AFC Bournemouth’s defence and came away from the game with a hat trick after 120 minutes. The rest of the Preston players mainly focused on defending, as Makienok’s performance didn’t require too much help from his team mates. It may have been a weakened Bournemouth defence, but Makienok still did tremendously well.
ST Aaron McLeish vs Hillingdon Borough (24)
McLeish got a hat trick in this game and led the line well. He was a handful the whole 90 minutes and didn’t give the opposition defence a moment to think. He missed a penalty but his finishing was brilliant apart from that.
1) HJK 1-0 Beroe Stara Zagora
2) HJK 4-2 PK-35 Vantaa
3) West Ham United 3-0 NK Domzale
4) West Ham United 2-3 Juventus
5) Hayes and Yeading United 1-0 Hitchin Town
6) West Ham United 1-0 AFC Bournemouth
7) Crystal Palace 2-0 Blackpool
8) West Ham United 0-1 Astra Giurgiu
9) Coventry City 4-2 West Ham United Under 21s
10) Hillingdon Borough 4-0 Langford
11) West Ham United 2-4 Watford
12) Bournemouth FC 4-3 Verwood Town
13) AFC Bournemouth 3-2 Preston North End (AET, 2-2 after 90 mins)
14) Crawley Town 1-0 Blackpool
15) AFC Bournemouth 6-1 Hull City
16) West Ham United 2-1 Chelsea
17) Bournemouth FC 2-1 Blackfield &Langley
18) Wimborne Town 3-2 North Leigh
19) Bournemouth FC 1-1 Newport IW
20) Poole Town 3-4 Wimborne Town
21) Bournemouth FC 1-2 Alresford Town
22) AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Southampton
23) Baldock Town 2-1 Hillingdon Borough
24) Hillingdon Borough 4-4 Harefield United
25) Harrow Borough 4-2 Lowestoft
26) AFC Bournemouth 3-3 Arsenal
27) Bournemouth FC 1-2 Fareham Town
28) AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester City
29) Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 Reading
30) Bournemouth FC 1-0 Andover Town
31) Plymouth Argyle 0-3 Blackpool
32) AFC Bournemouth 3-2 West Ham United
33) Bournemouth FC 2-2 Whitchurch United
34) Bournemouth FC 1-0 Hamworthy United
35) Bournemouth FC 0-0 Team Solent
36) Harefield United 0-2 Hillingdon Borough
37) Hayes and Yeading United 0-2 Kings Langley
38) Hillingdon Borough 2-3 Southall
39) West Ham United 0-0 Everton
40) Hillingdon Borough 1-4 Broadfields United
41) Bournemouth University Women 0-4 Southampton Solent Women
42) AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Burnley