Another home draw for Hammers
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 11 Mar 2012 12:46:00
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West Ham United remain 2nd in the table but are now only ahead of third-place Reading on goal difference after following up the disappointing 1-1 home draw with Watford on Wednesday with another stalemate by the same scoreline with 23rd placed Doncaster Rovers on Saturday afternoon.

Sam Allardyce made three changes from the clash with the Hornets. In came Henri Lansbury, Jack Collison and Ricardo Vaz Te as Joey O'Brien, Julien Faubert and Nicky Maynard made way. Maynard was dropped to the bench which also included new loan signing Danny Collins, as well as January transfer window recruit Ravel Morrison.

As they had done in midweek, West Ham nearly made the perfect start to the match as Vaz Te latched onto Kevin Nolan's superb ball forward and raced clear of the Doncaster defence to slot the ball past goalkeeper Carl Ikeme. However, referee Andy D'Urso ruled the effort out for an apparent push on the defender by the goalscorer.

Minutes later the Hammers went even closer when Carlton Cole's header rattled the crossbar.

The home side's early pressure did eventually pay off on nine minutes, when they went in front through skipper Kevin Nolan. Lansbury's initial shot was blocked and the ball found Vaz Te, whose cross was headed down by James Tomkins. Cole spun and tried to apply the finish but in the end, it was left to Nolan to knock the ball in from close range.

On 23 minutes Vaz Te came off after picking up a hamstring problem. Minutes later, Big Sam threw on Little Sam (Baldock) to replace him.

The half ended with West Ham clearly on top, but with only one goal to show for their dominance.

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In complete contrast to the first 45, the visitors applied the early pressure at the start the second half. After the opening ten minutes of the half, Allardyce made his second change replacing Lansbury with Gary O'Neil.

Doncaster tested Robert Green on a couple of occasions before they finally equalised when a cross came into the West Ham box which Simon Gillet connected with. Gillet then passed to James Coppinger, to finish from close range.

With ten minutes of normal time to play, Collins came on to replace the skipper and make his debut.

Minutes later, Green was called into action when he saved superbly from El Hadji Diouf's first time shot.

When the final whistle blew after four minutes of stoppage time had been played, the draw was confirmed and, again, the home crowd booed the team off. The Hammers face a tricky looking trip to Leeds United next Saturday, as they look for three points to keep them in the automatic promotion places.

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