Hammers suffer another home defeat
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 20 Oct 2013 15:12:00
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West Ham United failed to build on their remarkable result against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane as they were unable to give Sam Allardyce something to celebrate on his 59th birthday because of Manchester City's 3-1 victory at Upton Park on Saturday evening.

The manager named the same team that played in North London before the International break, meaning he could also keep the same formation that works wonders in the 3-0 win. Contrary to some reports before the match, Carlton Cole, who rejoined the club on Monday started on the bench.

The visitors controlled the opening stages of the game and although goalkeeper Joe Hart had to punch the ball away after Ricardo Vaz Te had tested him, Sergio Aguero put Manuel Pellegrini's side ahead after 15 minutes, when the Argentinian striker chased a straight ball and ran clear of both Winston Reid and James Tomkins to beat Jussi Jaaskielainen and nestled inside the left-hand corner of the Citizens net.

West Ham went close to taking the lead on 26 minutes, when a great team move ended with Mohamed Diame sending his header just wide of the post. Guy Demel them stopped the ball from going out of play with a superb touch but his cross was headed out, Rasvan Rat then latched onto the loose ball and was brought down by David Silva and was booked for his troubles. From the resulting freekick, Ravel Morrison dragged his shot wide of the near post.

Home skipper Kevin Nolan was unfairly booked on 33 minutes for a challenge on Silva when the former Newcastle United man appeared to win the ball.

Just before the break, Jaaskelainen was forced into a superb save from Yaya Toure after being set up by Silva, shortly after the Spaniard had intercepted clearance from Reid.

The second half started and it didn't take long for City to go further ahead, as on 51 minutes an unnecessary freekick was given away by the Hammers. From the set-piece, Silva crossed for Aguero to head in unchallenged and the East Londoners now had a mountain to climb.

The home side had a great chance to reduce the deficit five minutes later, but Hart made a save from Diame after the Senegalese midfielder had been put through on goal by Stewart Downing. Two minutes later however, a superb overhead kick from Vaz Te did half the deficit.

Just after the hour, City were unlucky not to get a third, when Alvaro Negrado unleashed a shot which beat Jaaskelainen but hit the base of the post and the Irons survived.

On 65 minutes, substitutions were made by both teams. Big Sam made a double change introducing Joey O'Brien for Demel, who had picked up an injury. He also introduced Matt Jarvis in place of Vaz Te in and effort to try and increase the tempo of the game. The visitors replaced Negrado with Alexander Kolarov.

West Ham were grateful to their finnish stopper again when he was forced into action when he denied both Aguero and Kolarov in quick succession.

Referee Michael Oliver made a poor decision on 70 minutes when he showed Mark Noble a yellow card for handball when it appeared to hit his chest.

West Ham applied pressure but couldn't turn any of it into a leveller. Instead, City went up the other end and finished the job off when Silva netted following great play from Aguero.

With eight minutes of normal time to play, both sides were again making substitutions. The Citizens threw on Stevan Jovetic for Aguero, while West Ham introduced Mladen Petric to replace the skipper.

Just as four minutes of injury time had been signalled, West Ham had another chance when good play from Downing and Jarvis set up Noble, whose curling shot just cleared the crossbar.

That was the last chance of the match which had seen Pellegrini's men win on the road for the first time this season. Next up for the Hammers is a trip to Wales and the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City next Sunday.

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