Astonishing Fight Back Earns Point
By Tom Dowsett
Tuesday 10 Apr 2012 12:55:00
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An astonishing comeback saw West Ham United come from 3-1 behind to end up with a point against Birmingham City at Upton Park on Monday evening.

Sam Allardyce made two changes to the team that broke the record for the most away victories in a season against Barnsley on Friday. Guy Demel and Matthew Taylor dropped out and in came Abdoulaye Faye and Carlton Cole.

Although the Hammers started well in the opening stages, it was the visitors who nearly scored first, despite having one day less rest, but fortunately Robert Green dealt with Chris Burke's shot and pushed it around the post to give Chris Hughton's side a corner.

Birmingham took the lead on 27 minutes when George McCartney misplaced pass to Mark Noble allowed Jordon Mutch to run into space and shoot past Green from 22 yards. Minutes later, another West Ham pass was misplaced allowing Cole to give away possession and Wade Elliot. He then found Marlon King in the clear who was able to finish past Green.

On 34 minutes George McCartney had to be taken off on a stretcher after a clash of heads, so Danny Collins came on to replace him.

After two successive corners just before half-time, Ricardo Vaz Te gave the hosts hope when he powerfully headed in Noble's second flag kick from 6 yards out. Knowing there wasn't too much time in between the two Birmingham goals, the Hammers were desperate not to concede another before referee Jon Moss blew for half-time but that is just what they did. When a corner was given, Kevin Nolan initially dealt with the danger but the ball found its way back to Chris Burke who thumped a shot which looped over Cole and into the net giving the East Londoners a real mountain to climb in the second half.

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The second half started and Big Sam had made a half-time change; Henri Lansbury came on to replace Nicky Maynard.

West Ham thought they should have had a penalty when Vaz Te was shoved over by Curtis Davies but Moss ignored the loud appeals from the home supporters and gave nothing.

With 20 minutes of the match still to play, West Ham were really back in the game as Cole scored. Nicola Zigic blocked Noble's free kick but could only give the ball away to Nolan. The captain then found Cole who sent a right footed shot flying past Boaz Myhill.

5 minutes later Cole should have equalised. He recieved a long ball from Faye which Nolan latched on to, before cutting back to Cole whose attempt hit the bar.

On 82 minutes another change was made by Allardyce as he withdrew noble from the action and replaced him with Sam Baldock.

With Birmingham seemingly heading for the win, only 3 minutes remained when Chris Burke stupidly handled Lansbury's shot and a penalty was finally given the home side. Vaz Te confidently stepped up and earned the point as he sent Myhill the wrong way and the home crowd into a state of delirium.

West Ham pushed for a winner by putting pressure on their opponents but unfortunately they just could not muster another effort. It was fair to say no that earning a point, coming from such a large deficit is better than getting nothing from the game.

The final whistle blew, leaving the East Londoners facing an anxious week before Brighton and Hove Albion arrive at Upton Park on Saturday. Reading play the Seagulls tonight before an even bigger game on Friday as Brian McDermott's side play away against leaders Southampton on Friday.

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