Back-to-back Defeats Ends Hammers Run
By Tom Dowserr
Thursday 29 Nov 2012 00:54:00
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Though the hope was to keep up West Ham's run of not suffering back-to-back defeats since their return to the Premier League, everyone knew that yesterday evening's away fixture at Old Trafford was going to be difficult. The end result of 1-0 to Manchester United came as a bit of a blow to the 1,400 travelling fans, especially after a fighting second half come back, but the result was certainly better than their last visit to last season's Premiership runners up in 2010 and the Hammers are still sat in the top half of the table - not bad for a newly promoted side.

Sam Allardyce made three changes to the team that lost at White Hart Lane last Sunday, starting Matt Jarvis and Matthew Taylor in place of Modibo Maiga and Gary O'Neill and bringing in James Collins to cover James Tomkins' position in defence, while he took the suspended Mark Noble's place in midfield.

The hosts kicked off and almost immediately the East London side conceded a goal. Michael Carrick found Robin Van Persie, who launched the ball over Winston Reid's head to collect again and fire a shot off Collins and into the net, leaving the visitors with a mammoth task to face for the rest of the game.

On 6 minutes, West Ham had two chances that could have brought them back into the game, firstly by Taylor who's effort was blocked and secondly by Andy Carroll who collected the rebound at the edge of the box but sent his shot wide of the right-hand post.

On 11 minutes, the away fans were on the edge of their seats once more, as Taylor took the corner resulting from a foul on Jarvis. Nolan caught the ball just at the wrong angle and the skipper's effort went into the side netting.

The Hammers managed to keep the score sheet at 1-0 until half time, having recovered from the initial shock of conceding 32 seconds in. Though the home side enjoyed the majority of possession and were creating more chances, the East London team kept their cool and Jaaskelainen regained form to keep the hosts from increasing their lead.

West Ham came out fighting after a half-time pep talk and nearly matched Machester United by scoring in the first minute of play. Taylor fed the ball to Mohammed Diame who's shot hit a defender and went just wide of the goal. Taylor took the set piece and Tomkins recieved the ball, but sadly this second effort went behind the goal again and out for a goal kick.

Though they had yet to equalise, the Hammers were playing much more promising football, and on 55 minutes, Big Sam made a tactical change, swapping the positions of Jarvis and Taylor, to further increase the team's efficiency.

A minute later, Jaaskelainen was put back to work, saving Wayne Rooney's shot following a free kick from Van Persie, and then later on the hour mark, diving spectacularly to save another Rooney effort.

It was then time for Allardyce to make some substitutions, binging on Carlton Cole for Carroll on 62 minutes and eight minutes later replacing Jarvis with Maiga.

A minute later, Taylor had a decent chance at an equaliser; Nolan crossed to Cole who headed down for Taylor but the ball bounced a little too high and his shot sliced wide.

On 76 minutes, the West Ham manager used his last substitution, bringing on O'Neill for Diame.

Cole played well since being brought on and nearly got his first goal of the season on 83 minutes. Reid headed the ball to Cole, who was facing away from the goal. He swivelled and took a shot but Anders Lindegaard was there to make a diving save in the bottom right hand corner.

West Ham refused to give up and were still looking to come away with a point. One minute into three minutes added time and this wish nearly came true as Reid picked out Nolan who shot with his left only for it to be blocked by Chris Smalling.

The final whistle blew and the Hammers had to leave Old Trafford with nothing to show for their hard work, especially in the second half. They will now be looking to gain a result at home this Saturday in their fifth derby of the season when Chelsea visit Upton Park.

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