Hammers Fail To Break Club Record But Earn Leeds Point
By Tom Dowsett
Saturday 17 Mar 2012 17:36:00
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West Ham United remain in the play-off places after they couldn't equal the club record of 11 away wins in a season, but they managed to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Leeds United at Elland Road this afternoon.

Sam Allardyce named a team that showed three changes to last week's 1-1 draw against Doncaster Rovers. Danny Collins made his full debut, as James Tomkins moved to midfield to replace Henri Lansbury, Joey O'Brien returned to the defence after recovering from an injury and Nicky Maynard was brought back into the side to replace Carlton Cole who dropped to the bench. New goalkeeper Stephen Henderson was named amongst the substitutes.

In a tight first half, where both side's defences had been on top, Leeds had the better of the possession but no real chances had been created until 20 minutes in. Good team play from West Ham set up Matthew Taylor, who tried crossing but it was cut out by the home defence.

Two minutes later, good play from Taylor and Tomkins set Maynard up but Leeds keeper Andy Lonergan was alert to the danger and averted it quickly.

In the closing stages of the first half, West Ham started to apply some pressure by winning two corners and a throw, but unfortunately nothing came of the late onslaught.

There was just enough time for referee Peter Walton to rule out a Leeds opener as a foul was committed on Tomkins. He was clearly in pain and was last to leave the pitch at half-time.

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A second half replacement had to be made by Big Sam; Tomkins was unable to continue so on came Gary O'Neil, who had the first shot of the half. Jack Collison set him up from a throw in as he beat two defenders and passed the ball square. Unfortunately, the shot was wide.

Another substitution was made on 56 minutes as Maynard was brought off for Carlton Cole.

West Ham were once again applying pressure, but on 64 minutes Abdoulaye Faye's header, following a corner kick from Mark Noble, flew wide and behind for a goal kick.

On 70 minutes, Green was called into action as he made a superb save from Paul Connolly's header and the resulting corner from Robert Snodgrass came to nothing.

There was a slight scare for O'Neil on 72 minutes as he was challenged strongly. Thankfully, four minutes later he was back on his feet.

With nine minutes of normal time left to play, Ravel Morrison was finally given playing time by Allardyce as he came on to replace Collison.

Leeds broke the deadlock on 83 minutes. A mix up in the Hammers' defence allowed Luciano Becchio to head the ball in from close range.

With time running out, West Ham dug in and grabbed an equaliser. Collins, on his full debut, rose highest to head in Noble's cross, sparking wild celebrations from the travelling supporters.

Both teams did their best to find a winner in the closing stages but in the end had to settle for a draw. West Ham will try to collect three much needed points when Middlesborough arrive in East London on Tuesday.

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