United welcomed West Ham to St James’ Park on a blustery Sunday afternoon coming into the game in our best run of form of the season. We’ve been conditioned during thirteen years of Ashley austerity to think that avoiding relegation in the Premier League is the achievement, the limit to our ambition. We had achieved it this season with games to spare, and even though mathematically our safety wasn’t confirmed until Vile lost to Liverpool later this afternoon, our performance had a distinct end of season, job done feeling about it.

4 minutes in and we’re behind. A mistake from Lascelles, a doubt in the build-up, gifted West Ham the easiest of perfect starts before United even got going before Krafth, making his second consecutive start put a great ball across for Almiron to level, following some quality transition play from St Max and Joelinton through the middle of the park.

The first half played out without much else of note, other than what looked like a definite penalty shout for United for handball – does anyone know what the actual rules are on handball now? Bowen, heavily linked with a move to Tyneside last summer, had Manquillo’s number for the whole game and forced a great reaction save from Dubravka in the only other moment of note. After a great game at Bournemouth, Manquillo was found out by Bowen and clearly struggled in the unnatural position on the left which begs the question why Rose didn’t play, with only five more games to audition for a permanent move.

West Ham started the second half the better side and thoroughly deserved going ahead. Rice could have scored with a virtually free header from three yards crashing against the woodwork, and some equally awful defending allowed the follow up to be swept in unchallenged.

The lead didn’t last long, with Shelvey (who has clearly been listening to me on the last few podcasts in getting higher up the pitch – one of his best performances of the season? Thank me any time Jonjo) linking up excellently with Gayle and finishing smartly into the bottom right corner with his left foot. Our lads we’re switched off for West Ham’s second, but nowhere near as badly as the West Ham left back who looked about ten yards deeper than the defensive line, comfortably playing Gayle onside. Moyes, true to form but with justification this time, was absolutely furious.

After the goal the lads looked tired and barely strung together three passes, with West Ham dominating the closing stages, and although they never really threatened Dubravka it felt like United held on for a point. St Max has already been confirmed to be missing Wednesday’s trip to the Emptihad and the injury toll is mounting – I feel like we’ve been here before?

The silver lining to today’s result is a point for West Ham means Vile are a point more likely to be relegated, and that can never be a bad thing. With safety secured, we can look forward to PL football next season, fingers crossed with new owners at the club who’s aim isn’t just to stay in the league.

by Micky Carling – @mmmiiiccckkkyyy

P.S. Hear the thoughts of new TF signing Keith Gillespie(!!!) on this week’s podcast below.