Hammers hold City in compelling contest
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 10 May 2010 11:34:00
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As the curtain fell on the Barclay's Premier League season, West Ham United played out a 1-1 draw with high flying Manchaster City at Upton Park on Sunday afternoon.

It says much for West Ham's loyal support that this  meaningless fixture was witnessed by the biggest crowd of the season.

West Ham's team selection showed a number of changes. Jonathan Spector gave way to Fabio Daprela and there was an unfamiliar look to the midfield where Luis Boa Morte and Alessandro Diamanti joined Scott Parker and Radoslav Kovac. For City, former Hammers' hero Carlos Tevez was only on the bench and there was no place for Craig Bellamy.

The Hammers started brightly, particularly the returning Boa Morte whose fierce tackling and determination let everyone know that he was back. He crowned his efforts with a well-taken opening goal on 17 minutes, converting Diamanti's superb backheel.

But the home side's joy was short-lived as 4 minutes later, Adam Johnson crossed for Shaun Wright-Phillips of all people, to head past Robert Green!

The game now swung from end to end and both sides might have taken the lead. On 26 minutes Emmanuel Adebayor fired past Green but the assistant referee raised an early flag for offside. On 34 minutes Diamanti unleashed a right-footed drive past Marton Fulop only to see his effort rebound off the post.

Half time arrived in what seemed like no time. It was a very close contest and although City were clearly a force to be reckoned with, West Ham were matching them all the way.


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3 minutes into the second half and Carlton Cole had great chance from Julien Faubert's cross but could not get his header on the target. On 52 minutes it looked as if West Ham had scored from where I was sitting, as Ilan poked Scott Parker's through ball goalwards but the ball rebounded from the advancing keeper.

On 64 minutes Zola replaced Boa Morte and Cole with Junior Stanislas and Guillermo Franco.

The home crowd got excited as City made a double substitution on 70 minutes, replacing Sylvinho with Micah Richards. But this was just the starter, the main course was Carlos Tevez who replaced Roque Santa-Cruz. The fans were exstatic to see their returning hero and there were inevitable chants of "There's only one Carlos Tevez" and later "Let him score,let him score,let him score".But he didn't. This was clearly end of term stuff!

With the game drawing to a close, West Ham made the final change with Diamanti being replaced by Academy Graduate Jordan Spence.

After the match, as the players came off the pitch the crowd cheered as both sets of players went over to applaude their respective fans, Tevez was once again donning the claret and blue as Franco gave him his shirt. Then the Hammer of the Year Award was presented to Scott Parker. To be fair, this wasn't exactly a bombshell.

So the Hammers finish a frustrating season, 17th in the table. Who knows what is to come in the summer with the continued speculation surrounding the players and of course, Zola's future. What is clear, there have to be some changes to ensure fans are not subjected to another season like this one.

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