Last Gasp Equaliser Costs Hammers
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 09 Feb 2015 11:47:00
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After losing to Liverpool last weekend, West Ham United looked as though they were on course for a precious win against Manchester United but a last-gasp leveller denied them at Upton Park on Sunday afternoon.

In his 100th Premier League match in charge of the Hammers, Sam Allardyce made five changes to the team that played at Anfield, as an number of players had picked up injuries. There were starts for Carl Jenkinson, James Tomkins, Cheikou Kouyate, Mark Noble and Diafra Sakho, whilst Joey O'Brien, James Collins, Winston Reid, Morgan Amalfitano and Andy Carroll will all left out.

The home side dominated possession from the start and could have gone ahead on 14 minutes, when Alex Song found space to set up Enner Valencia whose powerful shot produced an outstanding save from David De Gea and the ball went out of play for a corner.

Tomkins headed the ball on and Valencia was lurking again but De Gea was forced into another spectacular save to keep the scores level.

Louis Van Gaal's side weren't given time to create any real chances as the hosts had further opportunities that had to the scoreline but didn't make the most of them and as the teams headed for the dressing rooms the match was still looking for a first goal.

It didn't take long for West Ham to make the breakthrough when the second-half got underway, as they were awarded a freekick just four minutes in. Mark Noble sent it into the box for Kouyate to control and his shot flew past De Gea to give Big Sam's men a deserved lead.

That goal seemed to give the visitors a wake-up call and three minutes later, they had a great chance to equalise but Radomel Falcao somehow sent his shot wide when it seemed easier to poke the ball past Adrian.

United could have scored when they were awarded a corner but thankfully for the Hammers, Jenkinson was there to head away. Almost immediately after, the hosts had a corner of their own but this was well dealt with by the visitors' defence.

The match was swinging from end to end and on 70 minutes, Stewart Downing sent in another corner which was attacked by Sakho but he shot wide.

On 83 minutes, Robin van Persie combined well with Falcao but Adrian was on hand to make a superb save with his feet. Seconds later, United captain Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw were both booked. Rooney did show dissent towards referee Mark Clattenburg.

Allardyce decided he needed to make a change a minute later, so he brought on Matt Jarvis in place of Valencia

Jarvis could have made an immediate impact as he entered the fray when he sent a cross over for Noble but he couldn't quite get a connection on the rebound and the chance had gone. Soon after the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man headed over when it seemed easier to score.

When it seemed that the East Londoners were just about to secure back-to-back home wins, just two minutes into the allotted four which had been signalled, for stoppages, United finally equalised.

A corner was sent into the box and Jenkinson headed the ball back into the middle and Daley Blind shot past Adrian to give his side a share of the spoils.

Just after the visitors had got themselves on level terms, Shaw received a second yellow card for a terrible challenge on Downing.

When the final whistle blew the feeling amongst the crowd, players and staff of West Ham was that having been in front so long, the result felt like a defeat, but they can be proud of their efforts and would hope to collect all three points when they take on Southampton at St Mary's on Wednesday night.

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