Hammers keep unbeaten home record
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 23 Sep 2012 16:40:00
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West Ham United remain unbeaten at home but have lost 100% home record at Upton Park thanks to skipper Kevin Nolan's lastgasp equaliser, which meant they grabbed a well-deserved point in a 1-1 draw with Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.

Sam Allardyce was able to name an unchanged side from the team that drew with Norwich City at Carrow Road last weekend, meaning that Winston Reid made his 50th  appearance for the club.

The Hammers dominated the early stages but it was the Black Cats who went ahead on ten minutes when James Collins tried to clear the ball, but instead it dropped to Sebastien Larsson who played a great pass to Steven Fletcher. Although goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainengot a hand to the shot, he couldn't prevent Sunderland from scoring the first goal against West Ham at Upton Park this season.

There were then chances at both ends, but West Ham couldn't find an equaliser when a chance came their way on 43 minutes. Guy Demel and Danny Rose challenged to pick up the knockdown from Ricardo Vaz Te's pass before the striker took control of the ball and found Nolan, who volleyed, only to see his effort spectacularly saved by Simon Mignolet.

The second half started with West Ham again piling on the pressure but with nothing to show for it. In an attempt to change his team's luck, Allardyce made a double change in the 57 minute, as he gave both Matt Jarvis and Yossi Benayoun their home debuts in place of Vaz Te and Matthew Taylor.

Minutes later, Jarvis was straight into the action as he was fouled when he tried to take on Sunderland defender Craig Gardner. Gardner was subsequently booked for his troubles and West Ham were given a freekick. From freekick, Rose tried to set the visitors on their way again until referee Lee Mason awarded West Ham another freekick for an off the ball incident. This time it was left to Mark Noble, to send the ball in from that, Carlton Cole headed over the bar. There was still action at both ends as Fletcher was denied another goalscoring opportunity by a block, Mohamed Diame then controlled on his thigh and raced down the left flank, from their he then found Jarvis who crossed to the byline for Benayoun to head on but Rose bravely headed away from danger and out for a corner.

On 75 minutes West Ham had another chance when Collins' effort clipped the crossbar from a Mark Noble corner.

Minutes later, Big Sam made his final change, as Modibo Maiga was brought on to replace Cole.

As game entered the final stages, the fourth official originally signalled for 4 added minutes to be played, but when Fraser Campbell went off injured and was replaced by David Meyler, that time was inevitably extended. West Ham fans were glad  it was, as 3 minutes in, the home side finally grabbed a deserved equaliser and it was the captain who came up with the goods: Noble launched the ball forward and Jarvis kept in play for Maiga to powerfully head in to the captain's path for him to volley past Mignolet.

That turned out to be the last act of the game as the final whistle blew, leaving the home fans brething huge sighs of relief. Next up for West Ham is the capital one cup 3rd round tie at home to Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night.

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