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The first West Ham game I haven’t watched in years ends in victory!

Article by Tom Burford

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I wish I could tell you in great detail how West Ham made it safely through to the 2nd Qualifying round of the Europa League last night against FC Lusitans, but unfortunately I can’t due to the distinct lack of a live match stream.

As a supporter who struggles to get to every West Ham game due to the soaring prices of tickets and rail fares (and also beer) I am often left scouring the internet for some live action. I had a 100% hit rate until last night, as did many fans who couldn’t make the trip to the Principality of Andorra.

After trying every source possible, I was forced to make do with updates from the official website which only seemed able to refresh itself every 10 minutes. This was until I discovered the wonderful world of live match streaming from a well-known betting site. The page follows the movement of play with a graphic explaining what exactly is happening during the game, it took me back to my Championship Manager days.

13 minutes into the game a big picture of a red card appeared on my screen advising me that striker Diafra Sakho had been sent off for violent conduct, what a dreadful decision! He clearly never touched him…. I thought to myself. Surely we couldn’t throw this away!

Elliot Lee put those fears to bed scoring the only goal of the game which I can only imagine was an absolute screamer I reckon, an acrobatic effort from about 25 yards out…. Until we see the highlights at some point.

The page then informs you of who’s currently in possession whilst also informing you of an attack and even a dangerous attack. I’m not exactly sure what this site constitutes as a dangerous attack, but Lusitans seemed to have a lot of them in the second half, despite only registering 2 shots on target over the whole 2 legs.

The game seemed to ebb and flow towards its conclusion and I punched the air with delight when a big picture of a whistle with ‘full-time’ written underneath it appeared.

My next concern turned to the Valletta v Newtown game. I’ve made arrangements to attend the 2nd qualifying round 1st leg on 16th July but a Valletta victory after fellow Maltese team Birkirkara made it safely through would mean a fixture switch! Disaster.

The match event stream didn’t let me down, what a game this was!

Newtown won the 1st leg 2-1 and were 1-0 up before an equaliser right at the start of the second half bought Valletta back into the tie. Surely I wasn’t going to miss another game! A red card for Valletta defender Ryan Camilleri and a late penalty gave Newtown a deserved win, from what I could make out! Well done The Robins!

So I’ll be off to the game on Thursday to see Slaven Bilic’s 100% start to managerial life at West Ham. That’s 2 wins and 2 clean sheets from 2 games….. Be careful what you wish for!

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