Hammers Take Up Drawing
By Tom Dowsett
Wednesday 21 Mar 2012 13:47:00
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West Ham United fans must currently be thinking that their team are like artists - they keep drawing at home! Yes, they picked up their fifth draw in as many games when they only achieved a 1-1 scoreline with Middlesbrough at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

James Tomkins and Abdoulaye Faye both passed fitness tests before kick-off, so Sam Allardyce only made one change to the side that grabbed a late point at Elland Road on Saturday, restoring Carlton Cole to the starting line-up in place of Jack Collison.

The Hammers started the game well and were applying pressure on Tony Mowbray's side but just could not find the finish to get an opening goal. On 34 minutes however, the home faithful thought they should have been given a penalty when Matthew Bates hand-balled Tomkins header, but nothing was given by referee Scott Mathieson.

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The second half was much more even. Again, West Ham started well by creating a chance straight from kick-off and then Middlesbrough made a chance for themselves straight after when they were given a corner, which Robert Green initially fumbled but recovered well to save Nicky Bailey's 30 yard shot.

West Ham were still having spells of pressure and trying to find an opener but nothing was forthcoming until Faye grabbed his 1st goal for West Ham when he was found by George McCartney's cross from a Hammers corner. He tried to head the ball back across goal but it hit Joe Bennett and looped past Jason Steele to spark jubilation amongst the majority inside the ground.

Having just seen his side go in front, Big Sam made a double change when Collison and the returning John Carew were brought on for Nicky Maynard and Cole.

The Hammers came within inches of scoring another goal but were denied by a superb save by Middlesbrough keeper Jason Steele. Carew's freekick was curled into the box by Mark Noble for Tomkins to head, but Steele was there to avert the danger and tipped the ball over.

West Ham had two chances to increase their lead before Middlesbrough equalised through Bart Ogbeche as he found space, took a touch and had a shot which eluded Danny Collins and rebounded into the back of the net via the post from 25 yards.

With three minutes of normal time to play, Allardyce made his final change as he threw on Sam Baldock to replace Noble.

Before the game entered stoppage time, Middlesbrough had two chances to claim all 3 points. Firstly, Lukas Jutkiewicz shot but Faye got a boot in the way and it clipped the bar and went over for a corner. Then, when the kick was taken Bailey was found but his shot was cleared off the line by McCartney.

There was still time for West Ham to create a couple more chances. Baldock could have snatched it with a header but it just couldn't beat Steele. Then Collins nearly repeated his trick from the weekend, only this time it would have been the winner as he headed the ball but Steele was there to collect and the ball was pumped upfield.

The final whistle blew and the Hammers were again booed off by a small section of the crowd. With a win much-needed to boost their promotion hopes, they now head on the road to face Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon.

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