From the Terraces - Joe Difford

Fan blogger Joe Difford looks back at Saturday's 2-2 draw with Manchester City
Fan blogger Joe Difford looks back at Saturday's 2-2 draw with Manchester City...

West Ham maintained their magnificent home record with an entertaining draw against Manchester City, but Slaven Bilic's men could have come away with all three points.
For the first time in years, there was a genuine sense of optimism before Saturday's game, helped by the fact that we have become somewhat of a giant-killer this season.
I'm sure you'll all remember the reverse fixture at the Etihad Stadium, where we scored early through Victor Moses and went on to claim the win. Well, the same very nearly happened at the Boleyn Ground.
Just 55 seconds after the game had begun, we were ahead courtesy of Enner Valencia. Cheikhou Kouyate burst forward, easily going past Yaya Toure, just as we have seen Toure do all his career, before crossing the ball low and hard. A fortunate deflection saw it fall to the Ecuadorian striker, who smashed home past Joe Hart.
Manchester City responded immediately as expected, with the in form Sergio Agüero lobbing Adrian and seeing his effort bounce off the inside of the post.
Just a few minutes later, he brought his side level. Having exchanged passes and darted into the box, Carl Jenkinson felt the need to make a challenge, knocking the number 10 down and injuring himself in the process.
The Argentine slotted the spot kick home coolly, and we had a real game on our hands after just 15 minutes.
New signing Sam Byram was forced on because of Jenkinson's injury and even though he had only been in east London for a matter of days, you could have been fooled into believing he had been there for years.
The Essex-born defender looked confident and comfortable on the ball, exchanging some impressive cross-field passes with Dimitri Payet just minutes after coming on.
Payet himself was the main talking point throughout, and he came close to putting the Hammers ahead with what was a perfect free kick. He curled his effort over the wall and it was heading for the top right corner, before Hart flew to his left and tipped it clear. There was literally nothing more the Frenchman could have done, and you'll be hard pushed to find a better save all season.
The free kick was earned when Martin Demichelis brought down Michail Antonio when the winger was almost in on goal. He was booked for the challenge, but it's difficult to see how he wasn't sent off, as Antonio's pace would have sent him through one-on-one.
The second half started well, with Antonio heading narrowly wide from a corner, before Fabian Delph hit the post after his shot deflected off the heels of Byram.
We were largely the better side in the second half, and credit must be given to Bilic, who has well and truly brought attractive, fluid, exciting football back to East London.
The excellent Antonio put us 2-1 with a bizarre but intelligent goal. The ball went out for a throw inside the City half, and Antonio picked it up immediately and threw it all of 30 years, over the City defenders and into the path of Valencia who poked home.
It was a piece of genius from the West Ham winger, who saw that the City back line were napping and took full advantage.
However, Hammers hearts were well and truly broken ten minutes from time, as substitute Kelechi Iheanacho drove into the penalty area and knocked the ball off of two Hammers defenders and into the path of Agüero, who neatly finished past Adrian.
It was a magnificent game for the neutral, but one that we really could have won, with Kouyate heading onto the crossbar with the last kick of the game.
City have their Capital One cup tie against Everton to look forward to next, whereas Bilic and Co. face the red half of Merseyside in the FA Cup this weekend.
Saturday's close affair means that we are still sixth, but going strong, and the idea of European football is becoming increasingly more possible.
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