Cole red card costs Hammers dearly
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 23 Dec 2012 15:40:00
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West Ham United will spend the Christmas week still in the bottom half of the table, after Everton came from behind to claim all three points, as they won 2-1 at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon.

Sam Allardyce had to make one change from the team that drew with West Bromwich Albion last week, James Tomkins deputised for a sick Guy Demel. There was good news on the bench however, as Jack Collison was named in the squad for the first time since promotion was confirmed in May.

The visitors made the better start to the match and put the home defence under considerable pressure, which led to Tomkins, bringing down Steven Pienaar on nine minutes. He was perhaps, lucky to escape without caution. From the resulting freekick, Victor Anichebe had a great chance to score but instead headed over from close range.

Soon after, Everton had an effort ruled out for a foul on Jussi Jaaskelainen. Replays later showed that the Toffees were perhaps unlucky for that to go against them, but referee Anthony Taylor seemed to be in that sort of mood which was evident in the game as it went along.

Two minutes later, it was the home side that opened the scoring through Carlton Cole. Great interplay between Matthew Taylor and Mark Noble put Cole through and he beat Tim Howard with ease sparking great celebrations from the majority inside the ground.

Another moment of controversy came on 32 min when Anichebe seemed to have caught James Collins with a high boot to his head. Again the referee gave nothing.

Despite the game continuing in its end to end nature, the Hammers kept their one goal advantage intact as they went in for half-time.

The second half started and David Moyes' side almost equalised when a clearance from Collins cannoned off first a teammate, and then an Everton player, before one-time West Ham target Nikica Jelavic missed from close range when it seemed easier to score.

On 58 minutes, Big Sam made his first change replacing Gary O'Neil with Modibo Maiga.

West Ham thought they had taken the lead soon after but Maiga's effort took a deflection and went wide. Referee Taylor once again was on the end of controversy, as he gave a goalkick when almost everyone thought it was a corner.

On 64 minutes the visitors equalised when the Hammers gave away possession to set Everton away on the attack. Anichebe squeezed in between Collins and Tomkins to poke the ball past Jaaskelainen.

Three minutes later West Ham were shown their first red card of the season but it was another refereeing mistake, as Cole appeared to have his eyes on the ball rather than seeing Leighton Baines first. It was a ridiculous decision and West Ham will surely appeal it.

On 73 minutes, Everton went in front when Winston Reid's loose header found Pienaar, who played a pass to Leon Osman. Hammers' captain, Kevin Nolan, failed to clear the danger and Pienaar slotted the ball past Jaaskelainen.

On 82 minutes, just after Jordan Spence had replaced Joey O'Brien, Nolan nearly grabbed the equaliser, as Maiga found the skipper in the box but his effort was deflected wide.

With two minutes of normal time to play, Allardyce made the change that most Hammers' fans had been waiting a long time to see since promotion was confirmed at Wembley, as Collison replaced Matt Jarvis.

As the game entered stoppage time, Nolan had a chance to snatch a point but instead of shooting on his left foot, he shot wide with his right.

On 92 minutes Mr Taylor had one last surprise for the crowd. To everyone's astonishment he decided to send off Darron Gibson after an innocuous challenge with Noble, similar to that which saw the departure of Cole earlier.

The game ended in disappointment for the home side as they have now lost two straight home games. As if the problems weren't already bad enough for Big Sam with injuries they may also have to face up to the fact that they are without their main striker for 3 games, including Saturday's encounter against Reading at the Madejski Stadium.

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