Hammers grab point, but returned to bottom of the table
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 03 Oct 2010 13:41:00
Browse all Match Reports articles

West Ham United may have returned to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League, but their unbeaten record at home to Fulham remained intact after a 1-1 draw on Saturady afternoon.

Hammers' boss Avram Grant made one change to the team that were victorious against Tottenham Hotspur seven days earlier, Pablo Barrera came in for Kieron Dyer.

Before the game, national radio station BBC Radio 5 Live on Friday night billed this as Clint Dempsey against Robert Green as it was the first time the two have met in a competitive game since the World Cup where Dempsey had equalised for the USA against England, after Green had fumbled his shot.

It proved to be true as only two minutes had passed in the encounter when the American nearly repeated the feat, but this time his effort was wide.

The first chance for the Hammers came just six minutes in, when Frederic Piquionne, fresh from his goal against Spurs, won a header from Mark Noble's corner which was headed off the line by Carlos Salcido.

Piquionne was in the thick of the action again, as on 16 minutes Noble tried to curl a ball around Fulham defender Aaron Hughes to set him away, but Mark Schwarzer noticed the danger and cleared the ball.

In a game that had more tackles than chances in the first half, on 23 minutes Victor Obinna tried to create a chance for himself on his left foot, but Dickson Etuhu timed his block superbly and the Nigerian only succeded in kicking Etuhu's boot.

Two minutes later, the challenges continued as Dempsey was elbowed by Manuel Da Costa.

Soon after, Piquionne was close to grabbing an equaliser, when Barrera closed down Salcido but his pass was worked back to Schwarzer, only for the French forward to nearly taking the ball off the Australian's toe.

In a game where the referee it seemed wanted to be the centre of attention, Scott Parker was booked when it seemed he clearly won the ball following a tackle from Dempsey.

All the build-up concerning Green and Dempsey came to fruition as on 33 minutes Dempsey was to beat Green again thanks to a bit of luck from Simon Davies' pass which looped up in the air and bounced kindly for the American to get passed the Hammers defence and see the ball fly into the top corner form ten yards.

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The second half started only for the Dempsey and Green show to continue as moments after the restart the American tested Green's resolve again with a powerful shot from the edge of the box which clipped the top of the crossbar.

However, three minutes later the Hammers did find an equaliser after a Fulham's defensive mistake by Brede Hangeland whose pass out of defense was pounced on by Luis Boa Morte who swaped passes with Obinna who then found Piquionne whose header meant that the hosts drew level.

Minutes later, the Hammers were now piling on the pressure as Piquionne went close again only for Hangeland to clear.

On 53 minutes, after Da Costa headed Damien Duff's free-kick away good play between Boa Morte, Obinna and Barrera set the Mexican away but his shot was high and well wide of the target.

On 69 minutes, both managers decided to change things a bit, Avram Grant introduced Carlton Cole for Barrera, while Fulham boss Mark Hughes replaced Duff with Zoltan Gera.

A minute later, Cole should have made an immediate impact as he raced into the penalty area and spun past Aaron Hughes only for him to take a heavy touch and eventualy his weak cross-shot to land too close to Schwarzer.

It took eleven minutes for another clear cut Hammers' chance to be created as good link-up play between Boa Morte and Piquionne set up Obinna only for his shot to flash just wide of the near post.

On 87 minutes, Etuhu went closest to finding a winner but his header was superbly saved by Green.

On 90 minutes, West Ham had a chance to salvage a win when Cole jumped highest and challenged Schwarzer, the ball found his way to Obinna who crossed towards Piquionne but a superb flick from Aaron Hughes averted any danger.

Just before the final whistle, Diomansy Kamara had a glorious chance to win it for the visitors when the Hammers gave possesion away, but his shot was too high and well wide.

So the Hammers go into the International break having returned to the bottom of the table following Everton's win at Birmingham. Avram Grant's side have a trip to the black country themselves next up, as they face Wolverhampton Wanderers on the 17th October.

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