One point not enough as Hammers blow two-goal lead
By Tom Dowsett
Saturday 21 Nov 2009 17:37:00
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West Ham United threw away a two-goal lead and then battled to salvage a point against fellow strugglers Hull City in a Barclays Premier League thriller at the KC Stadium on Saturday.

The Hammers were two up inside eleven minutes courtesy of Guillermo Franco and Jack Collison. Carlton Cole unluckily deflected in ex-Hammer Jimmy Bullard's free-kick to get the hosts back into the game before defender Kamil Zayatte equalised on the stroke of half-time with a volley from close range.

Bullard then rounded off a dramatic half by putting the Tigers in front from the penalty spot, following Julien Faubert's apparent foul on Craig Fagan. Bernard Mendy was sent-off before Manuel Da Costa's first goal for West Ham made it level at 3-3.

Hull had an early warning after just 60 seconds when Valon Behrami shot straight at Hull keeper Matt Duke. But, just four minutes later, the visitors took the lead from a corner. Recalled winger Junior Stanislas crossed perfectly for Franco who powered a superb low header into the net.Franco then played a major role in the Hammers' second when his exquisite 40-yard ball was met with a looping header from Collison that sailed past the Hull keeper.

Hull did not give up however, and were keen to test the out of form Robert Green at every opportunity and on 32 minutes, Hull found the breakthrough. Bullard's free-kick from 30 yards took two wicked deflections, the latter off Cole, before beating the unlucky Green.

Hull drew level on 44 minutes when Zayatte turned in Stephen Hunt's free-kick a minute before Faubert was adjudged to have nudged Fagan in the back in added-time. Bullard made no mistake from the spot to complete a dramatic first-half turnaround for the hosts.

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The second half carried on where the first had left off with Franco flashing a shot wide within five minutes of the restart. Hull were reduced to ten men on 50 minutes when last-man Mendy was dismissed for bringing down Parker.

Tactical changes were afoot as the visitors attempted to gain the upper hand with Zavon Hines replacing Behrami.

The Hammers drew level on 69 minutes from another corner. Stanislas again provided the assist as his cross found its way to the feet of Manuel Da Costa and the central defender made no mistake from eight yards to set up a dramatic climax.

Franco was replaced by Luis Jimenez and the Chilean came within inches of snatching all three points after picking up Parker's pass and firing into the side netting. Stanislas had an even better chance with four minutes remaining but he could only head Faubert's cross into the ground and over the bar. Then, in added time, Collison's header from the same provider had Duke scrambling across his line to claw the ball to safety.

West Ham, who climbed one place out of the relegation zone, return to Barclays Premier League action next Saturday when they play host to Burnley in a game very much billed as a six-pointer.

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