2014/15 Season Review - February

Following the heady heights of the first half of the season, conceding late goals would prove costly
Following the heady heights of the first half of the season, conceding late goals would prove costly for West Ham United. 

Perhaps it was a sign of how far the Hammers had come in such a short space of time that fans left the Boleyn Ground disappointed after drawing 1-1 with Manchester United. 

A supercharged Cheikhou Kouyate was in scintillating form – a performance that would be recognised at the end of season Player Awards – and the Senegalese international capped a terrific display with the opening goal. 

The combative midfielder juggled the ball twice in a crowded area, before turning on the spot to lash the ball past David de Gea. Just when it looked as though his second goal of the season would seal the win, Daley Blind volleyed home a loose ball in the dying minutes to salvage a point. 

Just three days later, and this time a draw represented a good result as the Irons travelled to Southampton. 

The Saints shaded most of the game and when goalkeeper Adrian was sent off midway through the second half, it was backs to the wall stuff. 

Substitute Jussi Jaaskelainen, in his only league appearance of the campaign, pulled off a string of saves to secure a valuable point and a rare clean sheet.    

With the fixtures piling up something had to crack, and how it did away at West Bromwich Albion. They say the romance of the FA Cup has gone, and based on this Valentine’s Day showing, the Baggies certainly showed no love for the Hammers. 

A sluggish West Ham were punished by two goals either side of the break completed the rout, and insult was added to injury when Morgan Amalfitano was sent off ten minutes after coming on having petulantly struck out at Chris Brunt, a former teammate. 

Following the Cup exit, the Irons were looking for a response and what better opposition to do just that against that Tottenham at White Hart Lane. 

A hungry West Ham, full of intensity, took to the field and found themselves 2-0 up through goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho. Led by an inspirational Mark Noble, the Hammers really could have scored more, yet Spurs made them pay for missing chances. 

Danny Rose halved the arrears with ten minutes remaining to ensure a nervy finale. Just as it looked like the Hammers would survive the onslaught, Tottenham’s main man Harry Kane was felled by Alex Song in the 94th minute. He dusted himself down, and levelled with the last kick of the game. Adrian managed to get hands to the England man’s effort, parrying the penalty straight back to him who did not waste the second bite of the cherry. 

In the final game of February, Alan Pardew returned to east London for the first time as Crystal Palace manager. Glenn Murray proved a constant menace, scoring twice before getting sent off while Scott Dann piled on further misery from set pieces. Pardew’s rejuvenated Eagles were now really flying.