Hammers stick to their guns against Toffees
By Tom Dowsett
Wednesday 29 Dec 2010 12:55:00
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West Ham United rounded off 2010 by earning a draw against Everton at Upton Park on Tuesday evening.

Avram Grant made four changes from the away success at Craven Cottage just 48 hours earlier, Julien Faubert started in place of Tal Ben Haim, Luis Boa Morte was back from suspension and took the place of Junior Stanislas, Herita Ilunga came in for Danny Gabiddon and Victor Obinna returned from injury and replaced Carlton Cole.

In the opening stages of the first half it was clear to see which was the fresher of the two sides, until the 13th minute when West Ham took a grip of the game and started to pass the ball around.

Three minutes later the opening goal came and it was a bit of a scramble, when Scott Parker took the corner which was won by Freddie Sears. James Tomkins headed the ball down powerfully, only for Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard to parry it, but it was only cleared to Radislav Kovac who tried an overhead kick, but it was eventually diverted past Howard by Toffees' defender Tony Hibbert.

Four minutes later, the Hammers had a great chance to extend their advantage, when Obinna went on a great run, only to unleash a shot that hit the stanchion at the back of Howard's goal.

Just past the half hour mark, Ilunga went down inside the West Ham penalty area. A minute later he was replaced by Jonathan Spector.

Three minutes before half time Everton equalised through Seamus Coleman as he got down the West Ham left and finished off a superb team move.

Just before half time, the Hammers had a great chance to retake the lead as great work from Sears and Obinna released Parker, who spun and turned through the Toffees' defence before failing to chip Howard from 25 yards.

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The second half started and it was the visitors who began to take control, but West Ham did threaten within seconds of the restart, when Obinna tried a 25-yard effort but saw it fly well wide.

On 53 minutes, good play from Boa Morte saw him earn a free-kick after being brought down by Phil Neville. The free-kick was taken but Howard easily punched it away.

Three minutes later, Cole was introduced for Piquionne, who limped off after he fell over awkwardly.

On 70 minutes Cole had a great chance to put West Ham back in front, after Sears had found him from a cross following Obinna's superb ball, but the shot creeped just wide of the post.

Eleven minutes later, West Ham were running out of steam, but the superb Parker tackled Steven Pienaar just when he was about to let fly.

Soon after the Hammers survived a late scare as Tim Cahill put the ball in the net only to then discover that his effort was disallowed because he was behind the goalkeeper when he released the shot.

A final change was made on 85 minutes as Grant replaced Obinna with Zavon Hines.

The final whistle was blown and another point was gained to add to the three picked up at Fulham. The Hammers will now look to start the New Year on a high as they face a must-win game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

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