West Ham defender left shellshocked by Reading defeat
West Ham left back George McCartney couldn’t believe that the Royals had taken all three points at Upton Park on Saturday
Never suggest that the West Ham players don’t feel the pain every bit as much as the fans that had to sit through Saturday’s pulsating, but ultimately fruitless showdown with Reading on Saturday.
Hammers defender George McCartney looked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders as he shuffled along the Upton Park corridor to talk to the waiting press.
He stared wide-eyed into the distance as he contemplated what had gone on in 90 minutes of football that may well have cost the team an automatic promotion spot.
“I think for 43 minutes there was only one team out there,” he said at last. “We passed them off the park, created chances, got the lead and had chances to make it two, maybe three.
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“But in the last couple of minutes of the half we have let them score from a set-piece and as for the second goal, I don’t even know what was going on there.
“They went in 2-1 up and I think our lads were a bit shellshocked really. To go in level at half time would have been an injustice, but to go in 2-1 down was incredible.”
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McCartney seemed to be in the sort of shock reserved for mugging victims and watching the goings on at the end of the first half, the whole team had suffered something resembling a mugging.
The full back has been an integral part of one of the meanest defences in the Championship, but when the pressure was on, they came up short, something that the left back found hard to fathom.
“I don’t’ know what happened,” he said. “For the majority of the season we have defended really well and not conceded that many goals.
“But I think throughout the season, our downfall has been conceding off set-pieces and their first goal has come from a corner and the second has come from a long kick from the keeper, which we haven’t dealt with either.”
It is easy to blame the defence for Saturday’s failing, but just as importantly, the failure to add a second goal when they were on top was something that West Ham were made to regret.
“I actually said to Matt Taylor in about the 39th or 40th minute, we need a second goal, because I think that would have seen Reading off,” said the 30-year-old, who has made 37 appearances in claret and blue this season in his loan spell from Sunderland.
“Reading weren’t playing with any confidence, they didn’t really have much of the ball and never really threatened us.
“Every time we had the ball we were getting forward, creating chances, getting crosses into the box, but it just evaded us really.”
Hopes were still high for a comeback after the break, but as McCartney said, it just wasn’t going to be West Ham’s day.
“We came out in the second half and started to play the way we had started in the first, passed the ball well and got a couple of corners and free kicks,” said the Northern Ireland defender.
“But they went up the other end and got a penalty – 3-1 - and from there the game is more or less over.
“We got ourselves back in it at 3-2 and I think everybody is looking for a big finish and then we have given away another stupid goal.”