Hammers fail to overcome Bolton hoodoo
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 22 Aug 2010 13:04:00
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After last week disappointing trip to Villa Park, West Ham United's home campaign did not get off to the best of starts either, as they lost 3-1 to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.

Hammers' boss Avram Grant made two changes from the debarcle at Villa last weekend, replacing James Tomkins with Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer came in for Luis Boa Morte, while Frederic Piquionne and Pablo Barrera were giving their first starts for the club.

The match had barely got into any sort of rythem when a indecision by Gabbidon from West Ham's free-kick allowed Bolton to break and Johan Elmander saw his shot flash just past the post.

From that moment on, the Hammers dominated the first half with Pablo Barrera going close on a number of ocasions and Dyer also forcing Bolton goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen into a save when he tipped his shot onto the post following a superb link-up play from Scott Parker.

On 32 minutes, West Ham had the chance to put themselves in front, when Gretar Steinsson barged Cole in the area; Cole was determined to take the resulting penalty and quickly took the ball off Mark Noble, only to see his weakly-struck shot easily saved by Jaaskelainen.

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The second half started with the scores still level, but on 48 minutes catastrophy for the Hammers; Upson tries to head clear under pressure from Kevin Davies, but unfortunately diverts his header past his own goalkeeper to put the Trotters ahead.

20 minutes later it was 2-0. A Lee cross was superbly headed into the net by Elmander.

4 minutes later Piquionne had the clearest chance that the home side had all afternoon and should have scored when the ball broke to him 12 yards from goal, but he did only divert his header over the bar.

7 minutes later the Hammers had the chance to reduce the deficit, as they are rewarded a second penalty for another foul on Cole. This time Mark Noble does step up and calmly slots the ball past Jaaskelainen to make it 2-1.

However, 6 minutes from time, Bolton seemed to have the points and a seventh consecutive victory over the Hammers wrapped up, as Herita Ilunga fails to clear only for Elmander riffle the ball past Green.

So, still no win for the Hammers and with Premier League games to come against Manchester United and Chelsea things look tough, but there is the welcome rest by of Oxford United in the Carling Cup on Tuesday evening.

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