Turf Day For Hammers!
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 07 Feb 2010 12:08:00
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It turned out to be a tough encounter for West Ham United, who still haven't won away since the opening day of the season after a disappointing 2-1 defeat  to Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon.

A goal in each half gave the hosts their first win  since October 31st.

Hammers' Manager Gianfranco Zola made two changes  from the side that drew with Blackburn Rovers seven  days ago, giving new signing Benni McCarthy his  debut in place of Alessandro Diamanti, while Scott Parker was preferred to Radoslav Kovac.

The other new recruits Ilan and Mido had to settle  for a place on the bench.

The game got underway and it was the home side who  started brightly, eventually going ahead on 14 minutes through David Nugent who latched onto a route one ball that Matthew Upson failed to deal  with.

The goal served as a wake up call and the Hammers started to take control. Cole and McCarthy were  combining well and on 33 minutes McCarthy thought he had equalised only to see his effort cleared off the line by defender Leon Cort.

As half time approached the visitors continued to press but the hosts always looked dangerous on the break. But is was all to no avail and Burnley went into the break with their lead still intact.

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At half time Zola brought on Mido in place of McCarthy who had picked up a knee injury just before the break.

The second half started with Zola's men pressing in search of an equaliser looking to exploit the obvious gaps in the Burnley defence. But on 55 mins Burnley went further ahead through a superb free kick from Danny Fox. Despite the brilliance of the strike one has to question Robert Green's positioning.

Eleven minutes later West Ham thought they had scored when Carlton Cole prodded home James Tomkins' goal-bound header but replays show that referee Howard Webb was right to rule the effort offside.

Substitute Junior Stanislas tried his best to repeat Danny Fox's brilliance late on but saw his effort rebound off the crossbar with goalkeeper Brian Jensen nowhere.

Nine minutes from time the pressure finally paid off when substitute Ilan celebrated a well-taken goal just four minutes after replacing Mark Noble. This set up a grandstand finish for West Ham as they pursued an equaliser.

A series of close efforts followed, the closest of which occurred when Mido got onto the end of Cole's cross but his effort hit the post and rebounded clear.

It was a disappointing day as West Ham now find themselves back in the relegation zone. If one is looking for positives it is that all three new  arrivals look like they have something to offer.

The Barclays Premier League has a full midweek programme this week because of the FA Cup games next weekend. It is Birmingham City who arrive in East London on Wednesday evening.

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