Tony Cottee Column: A win against Millwall is sweet enough, let alone with 10 men!
PUBLISHED: 12:49 08 February 2012
"I have no problem with Nolan's sending off. I am sure that he regrets making the tackle."
The win against Millwall was the perfect way for West Ham to respond following the horrible Ipswich defeat and it was what all the fans wanted and deserved.
It was always going to be a difficult game against a rival team, but that task was made so much harder when Kevin Nolan was sent off for his tackle on Millwall’s Jack Smith.
I saw the tackle and I have no problem with the fact that Nolan was sent off.
In this day and age and in the current climate, it is a straight red card, no question about it.
It was a silly tackle and on reflection I think that Nolan will be disappointed in himself for making it.
It was early in the game in a hotly contested London derby and I feel he could have easily won the ball with one foot, not by jumping in with two.
However, what really pleased me was the way the Hammers responded when they went down to 10 men.
There are two ways that it can go when you lose a man, you either roll over and let the team with more players win the game, or everyone ups their game that extra 10 per cent to make up for the loss of the one that has been sent off.
And fortunately for West Ham, it was the latter on Saturday and that is what made the victory against Millwall that little bit sweeter.
There were quite a few players that performed well, but the two stand-out names for me were Mark Noble and Carlton Cole.
I think that Noble has been fantastic all season and he really stood up on Saturday when Nolan was sent off.
He controlled the game well and alongside James Tomkins dominated the midfield.
They are both local lads and it is great to see them still at the club, although the selection of Tomkins in midfield did surprise me, but he is a very talented player and did well.
Cole impressed me because of his strength and I am pleased that he is back scoring goals.
I have always been a fan of Carlton’s but I believe he is a confidence player, who needs to be told when he is going well.
It is hard enough playing up front on your own against 11 men, let alone 10, but he led the line superbly and provided a great outlet often against two Millwall defenders, and showed why on his day is he is easily one of the best strikers in the Championship.
This weekend, West Ham make the trip to Peterborough and I think it will be a tough game at London Road, despite The Posh’s recent dip in form.
They were high-scoring, but the goals seem to have dried up lately and I hope that the Hammers can take advantage of this.
The game provides a wonderful opportunity for us to extend our lead at the top of the table and I am sure the sell-out crowd will create a great atmosphere.
With Nolan out, I am sure Sam will be tempted to play 4-4-2 and there may well be a chance for one of the new boys to come in, such as Nicky Maynard up top alongside Cole, or Ricardo Vaz Te to start out wide.
Although, Sam won’t want to change the side too much, and will probably only bring in one player.
I am confident that we can get back to winning ways on the road following the Ipswich defeat last time out, and I think with West Ham’s new attacking additions, we should have too much for the Peterborough defence.
Tony Cottee was talking to Nathaniel John