Hammers savaged by Wolves
By Tom Dowsett
Wednesday 24 Mar 2010 15:00:00
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West Ham United remain deep in Barclays Premier League relegation trouble after a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

Gianfranco Zola made three changes from Saturday's defeat by Arsenal, as he welcomed back Scott Parker and Carlton Cole in place of Junior Stanislas and Mido, while Jonathan Spector dropped to the bench and Benni McCarthy was handed his home debut in place of Guillermo Franco.

However it was Mick McCarthy's Wolves who started the match much the better side as the Hammers looked nervy and couldn't get any kind of rhythmn going. This showed as Kevin Foley had goalkeeper Robert Green beaten but saw his effort hit the bar in only the eighth minute.

In contrast, it took the home side 20 minutes to test Marcus Hahnemann in the away goal with a tame effort from Cole. As the half hour approached, a James Tomkins error proved costly as Kevin Doyle pounced and slotted past Green to give the visitors the lead.

The Hammers had a great chance to equalise when Scott Parker's run and shot hit the post only for the rebound to be expertly saved on the line.

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Changes were made at half time as Zola introduced Stanislas and Spector for Tomkins and Radoslav Kovac, but these changes seemed to make little difference as Wolves continued to pressurise their opponents.

It took the hosts nine minutes to fashion their first chance of the second half when Alessandro Diamanti fired in a low shot from distance.

Soon after, Wolves increased their lead through Ronald Zubar who scored his first of the season after ghosting in from the right and saw his shot deflect past Green.

This was quickly followed six minutes later by a third when Matt Jarvis combined well with Doyle, resulting in a precise finish as Green was beaten for a third time.

Anger began to rise the home fans as the ground rapidly began to empty amid a hail of chants voicing their dissatisfaction. 

Franco then entered the fray in place of McCarthy on 71 minutes. The Mexican forward was promptly involved in the action minutes later but his first effort went wide of Hahnemann's goal. He was to try again on 78 minutes, this time finding his way past two opponents before seeing his effort pushed over.

With five minutes remaining Diamanti twice shot from range before Franco was able to beat the offside trap to grab a late consolation on a disappointing night for the Hammers.

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