West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion played out a pulsating 3-3 draw at Upton Park, in an evenly contested fixture between two of the Premier League’s struggling sides.
Both sides went into the game in a real relegation battle, so this fixture was a six pointer, with both sides looking to get the three points in the game, which was Televised live on Sky Sports.
The Hammers went into the game locked in a basement battle, occupying 19th place, following the Boxing Day defeat at home to London rivals Arsenal, were Allardyce’s men came out second best, eventually losing the Premier League fixture 3-1.
The game itself started evenly, with both the Hammers and the Baggies looking to hoist themselves out of danger, before the end of the calender year.
Albion had an early chance, after a neat cross was swung into the Hammers area, with Chris Brunt sliding in on the volley, with the ball rippling the side netting.
However West Ham started quick out of the traps, and after a routine goal kick was punted down by Jussi Jaaskelainen, which was met by a neat flick on by skipper Kevin Nolan to Joe Cole, Cole returned the ball to Nolan, with Nolan playing Cole through into space, and Joe Cole slotted the ball coolly past Ben Foster to give the Hammers an early lead.
Following the Hammers superb start, they could have had another goal following Joe Cole’s early finish, with Nolan playing winger Matt Jarvis in on goal, in a chance Jarvis should have shot first time, but the former Wolverhampton Wanderers winger stuttered his shot, which allowed Foster to smother well.
Nicolas Anelka, who was returning after two months out injured, looked lively and forced a routine save out of his former teammate Jussi Jaaskelainen, who himself was returning to the Hammers starting line up.
West Ham striker Modibo Maiga then saw his shot saved by Foster up at the other end, in a surprisingly entertaining game between the two in the East London sunshine.
James Tomkins was forced off with a groin injury, and replaced by Guy Demel, and the switch seemed to give West Brom an extra lease of life as they tried to find the goal to get them back into the game.
After some neat build up play from Saido Berahino and Chris Brunt, which ended in the experienced Brunt lashing past Jaaskelainen’s post.
West Bromwich continued to press, with Jaaskelainen almost spilling the ball from a tame effort from Northern Irish international Chris Brunt, as the Baggies looked to hit West Ham on the counter attack, by exploiting the midfield.
Nolan then saw his fizzling shot well blocked by the Albion stalwart Jonas Olsson in what was becoming a rather tight contest between to under achieving sides.
But on the 40th minute, the Baggies were level, after Chris Brunt beat Diame to the ball, before dinking a ball with the outside of his foot, through to the ever green Anelka, who held off the challenge of O’Brian, and calmly side footed the ball into the far corner, beating Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Anelka had another goal in first half added time, as Brunt’s in swinging corner wasn’t cleared by Demel, the ball fell to Anelka, who profited from a mix up by Jaaskelainen to prod home into the empty net to give the Black Country side the lead going into half time.
West Ham started the secong half on the attack, with Jarvis causing problems down the wing, Kevin Nolan also saw his shot fly over the bar, in a frustrating period for Allardyce’s side. West Brom were causing problems of their own, with winger Morgan Amalfitano turning Demel and curling a shot past the post.
West Ham huffed and puffed at the Baggies defence, and thought they may have found an equaliser, as Modibo Maiga cut inside past Ridgewell, and curled a shot into the top corner, which was superbly tipped over the bar by Ben Foster.
Maiga wouldn’t be denied minutes later however, as he jinked his way through at a tight angle, and curled an attempt from around 25 yards, which went under Foster’s body and into the bottom corner of the goal, to level the scores, and leave Foster red faced following the error.
West Ham found a new believe following Maiga’s goal, and found a third goal after Maiga headed down a cross, right into the path of skipper Kevin Nolan, who managed to get his foot to the ball and an awkward angle, bundling the ball past Foster in crowded box, to give Allardyce’s Hammers the lead.
Albion then went pressing for a much needed equaliser, and thought they had found one when Berahino saw his shot saved by Jaaskelainen, West Brom did find their equaliser just minutes after however, after Saido Berahino jinked past his man, before firing a low shot past the face of Jaaskelainen’s goal, before the ball crashed in off the far post sending the Albion fans behind the goal estatic.
There was even more drama late on, after Brunt was tripped by Diame on the edge of the box, which allowed Saido Berahino to step up and curedl the ball over the wall, which crashed against Jaaskelainen’s far post, as the Hammers hung on for dear life.
West Ham may have grabbed a win, but Kevin Nolan headed the ball over the bar, after a teasing ball from Guy Demel.
West Brom had one real final chance as Brunt saw his tame shot saved by the veteran Finn Jaaskelainen, Morgan Amalfitano also shot over the bar from a tight angle as both sides hung on for the draw.
By Ben Reardon