Tag Archives: faubert

West Ham eye move for Abdoulaye Ba

West Ham eye move for centre back Ba but hold worries over work permit

|

UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 31 May 2012

West Ham are keen on Senegal defender Abdoulaye Ba.

The centre back, 21, is on loan from Porto at Portuguese side Academica and is earning rave reviews.

West Ham scouts watched him but worry he may not qualify for a work permit.

On the radar: Abdoulaye Ba (second left) is interesting West Ham

On the radar: Abdoulaye Ba (second left) is interesting West Ham

Former West Ham defender Julien Faubert is in talks to join Lazio.

West Ham release Julien Faubert, John Carew, Abdoulaye Faye and Papa Bouba Diop

Allardyce begins summer clear-out by axing Faubert, Carew and co

|

UPDATED:

16:03 GMT, 23 May 2012

Sam Allardyce has already begun reshaping his squad for the Premier League after clinching promotion on Saturday, and has axed six players – including Julien Faubert and John Carew.

Faubert, who joined the Hammers in 2007, and Carew, who signed in 2011 summer, will both leave Upton Park when their contracts expire in June.

Out: John Carew (left) has flopped since his arrival at Upton park in 2011

Out: John Carew (left) has flopped since his arrival at Upton park in 2011

Julien Faubert (left) has also been told to find another club

Julien Faubert (left) has also been told to find another club

Also released are 34-year-old Senegal internationals Abdoulaye Faye and Papa Bouba Diop as well as Frank Nouble and Olly Lee, both 20.

Faubert, who made 34 league appearances for West Ham this season, is the only one of the six to have been involved in the Hammers' 2-1 win over Blackpool at Wembley on Saturday, sending them to the Premier League.

The Frenchman was signed for 6m from Bordeaux in 2007, and spent time on loan at Real Madrid, but there is no room for him in Allardyce's squad next season.

Carew and Diop have not started a game for West Ham since January, while Faye's last match for the club was the 3-3 home draw against Birmingham in April.

Axed: Abdoulaye Faye (right) is not part of Sam Allardyce's plans

Axed: Abdoulaye Faye (right) is not part of Sam Allardyce's plans

Striker Carew only managed a paltry two goals in his 21 appearances for the club since his arrival from Aston Villa in 2011.

Nouble spent much of West Ham's campaign on loan at Gillingham and Barnsley, but failed to score in his only league start for the Hammers against Derby on New Year's Eve.

Unfulfilled potential: Frank Nouble will have to find a new place to ply his trade too

Unfulfilled potential: Frank Nouble will have to find a new place to ply his trade too

The 20-year-old had made a promising start to his West Ham career, and was handed his Premier League debut after signing from Chelsea in 2009.

Yet he will not be returning to the top-flight with West Ham, as he has not done enough to impress Allardyce.

A statement on West Ham's official club website read: 'Julien Faubert, Abdoulaye Faye, Papa Bouba Diop, John Carew, Frank Nouble and Olly Lee will all leave West Ham when their current contracts end on 30 June.

'The six professionals have all played their part in a successful 2011-12 season which saw the Hammers gain promotion back to the Barclays Premier League.'

Up! Sam Allardyce (centre) has trimmed his squad since Saturday's play-off final victory over Blackpool

Up! Sam Allardyce (centre) has trimmed his squad since Saturday's play-off final victory over Blackpool

The statement went on to add: 'West Ham would like to thank all of the aforementioned players for their hard work and dedication and wish them luck in their future careers.'

Henri Lansbury has also left the club to return to Arsenal after a season-long loan.

Blackpool 1 West Ham 2: Ricardo Vaz Te and Carlton Cole clinch instant return to Premier League

Blackpool 1 West Ham 2: Vaz Te strikes late to clinch instant return to Premier League

|

UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 19 May 2012

Ricardo Vaz Te's late strike fired West Ham back to the Barclays Premier League after a dramatic play-off final at Wembley.

The Portuguese winger, a bargain 500,000 January signing from Barnsley, earned the Hammers an estimated 90million windfall with the goal which sank Blackpool.

Boss Sam Allardyce vowed to take the club back to what he calls the Promised Land at the first attempt following last season's relegation, and he was as good as his word as his side saw off Ian Holloway's play-off specialists.

Going up: Kevin Nolan lifts the play-off trophy at Wembley after Ricardo Vaz Te (below) sealed victory

Going up: Kevin Nolan lifts the play-off trophy at Wembley after Ricardo Vaz Te (below) sealed victory

Getting shirty: Ricardo Vaz Te started West Ham's Premier League party with a late winner

Match facts

Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Ferguson, Dobbie (Bednar 90), Angel (Dicko 90), Ince, Matt Phillips, Kevin Phillips (Sylvestre 71). Subs not used: Southern, Cathcart.

Scorer: Ince 48.

West Ham: Green, Demel (Faubert 57), Reid, Tomkins, Taylor, O'Neil (McCartney 53), Noble, Nolan, Collison, Cole, Vaz Te. Subs not used: Henderson, Maynard, Lansbury.

Scorers: Cole 35, Vaz Te 87.

Booked: Vaz Te.

Referee: Howard Webb.

Attendance: 78,523.

Carlton Cole had given them the lead in the first half, but Thomas Ince showed he has inherited his dad Paul's uncanny knack of irritating West Ham's fans when he equalised just after the break.

However, after an end-to-end second half it was Blackpool, who were unbeaten in their previous 11 play-off matches, who cracked as Vaz Te rifled in the winner four minutes from time.

They may have been short-priced favourites having put eight goals past Blackpool in their league meetings this season, but West Ham looked extremely twitchy in the opening stages.

After just three minutes Matt Taylor's attempt to chest the ball back to Robert Green fell short and Stephen Dobbie sneaked in behind the left-back.

Fortunately for Taylor, the angle was tight and Dobbie's shot was kept out by a combination of Green and the near post.

Back in the big time: West Ham players celebrate after the final whistle

Back in the big time: West Ham players celebrate after the final whistle

Party time: Hammers

Matt Phillips then twice squandered glorious opportunities to put the Seasiders ahead.

The winger latched onto a ball over the top only to shoot weakly at Green, and passed up an even better chance moments later when Guy Demel slipped, allowing him time to curl a shot narrowly wide.

West Ham eventually settled into the game and a slick move between Cole, Gary O'Neil and Vaz Te ended with the latter hitting the side-netting.

Close range effort: Thomas Ince beats Robert Green to fire Blackpool level

Close range effort: Thomas Ince beats Robert Green to fire Blackpool level

Cole then headed O'Neil's cross over before Jack Collison curled a shot just too high.

And the goal West Ham had been threatening arrived in the 33rd minute when Taylor robbed Ince and charged down the left before sending a cross towards Cole.

The striker took the ball in his stride, held off the challenge of Seasiders defender Ian Evatt and swept the ball past Matt Gilks and into the net.

Level-pegging: Ince levelled in the 48th minute

Level-pegging: Ince levelled in the 48th minute

Vaz Te could have doubled the lead before half-time but he dragged his shot wide.

Instead, two minutes after the restart Blackpool hit the Hammers with a sucker-punch.

Cole gave the ball away near the halfway line and Matt Phillips raced forward before swinging in a diagonal cross over the heads of the West Ham defence and right to the feet of Ince.

Opener: Carlton Cole beats Matt Gilks to fire West Ham into the lead

Opener: Carlton Cole beats Matt Gilks to fire West Ham into the lead

The winger, whose every touch was jeered by the Hammers fans who never forgave Ince senior for the manner in which he left the club some 23 years ago, still had plenty to do.

But he found a superb finish his dad would have been proud of, firing the ball across Green and inside the far post.

With West Ham reeling, Blackpool almost went ahead moments later when Kevin Phillips played in Alex Baptiste, who dinked the ball over Green only for Taylor to clear the danger on the line.

Sea of orange: Cole celebrates in front of the Blackpool fans

Sea of orange: Cole celebrates in front of the Blackpool fans

Back came West Ham and Collison poked Taylor's low cross wide before Gilks made a fine save low down to deny Cole, while at the other end Dobbie missed his kick in front of goal and also forced a fingertip save from Green.

The Hammers were inches away from taking the lead again when substitute George McCartney overlapped down the left and crossed for Nolan, whose first-time volley was tipped onto the crossbar by Gilks.

Running the show: Sam Allardyce and Ian Holloway study the match from the touchline

Running the show: Sam Allardyce and Ian Holloway study the match from the touchline

But the winner arrived four minutes from time in the most dramatic of fashion.

Nolan crossed from the left and Cole's attempt was blocked by Gilks but the ball fell kindly for Vaz Te, who crashed it over the grounded Gilks and into the roof of the net.

Up for it: West Ham fans celebrate Cole's goal

Up for it: West Ham fans celebrate Cole's goal

Championship final day, live: Follow the promotion action

CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL DAY LIVE: Follow all the action from around the grounds

|

UPDATED:

11:07 GMT, 28 April 2012

It's D-Day in the npower Championship as clubs at the top of table battle to secure an automatic promotion or play-off place. Will it be West Ham or Southampton joining Reading in the Barclays Premier League and can Middlesbrough sneak into the play-offs Sportsmail brings you all the action.

The npower Championship

Southampton v Coventry
West Ham v Hull

Barnsley v Brighton
Birmingham v Reading
Burnley v Bristol City
Crystal Palace v Cardiff
Derby v Peterborough
Doncaster v Ipswich
Leeds United v Leicester
Millwall v Blackpool
Nott'm Forest v Portsmouth
Watford v Middlesbrough

(all games start at 12.30pm)

12.07: And here's how they line up at St Mary's: Southampton: Davis, Butterfield, Hooiveld, Fonte, Fox, Do Prado, Schneiderlin, Hammond, Lallana, Sharp, Lambert. Subs: Bialkowski, Harding, Cork, De Ridder, Puncheon.

Coventry: Murphy, Clarke, Cranie, Willis, Hussey, Baker, Norwood, Thomas, Bigirimana, McSheffrey, McDonald. Subs: Dunn, Platt, Jeffers, Roberts, Henderson.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

12.06: Here are the teams from Upton Park: West Ham: Green, Demel, Reid, Tomkins, Taylor, O'Neil, Noble, Nolan, Lansbury, Cole, Vaz Te. Subs: McCartney, Baldock, Maynard, Collison, Faubert.

Hull: Mannone, Rosenior, Chester, Cooper, Dawson, Cairney, McKenna, Evans, Garcia, Fryatt, King. Subs: Oxley, Stewart, Brady, Bradley, Cullen.

Referee: Nigel Miller (Durham)

12.05: An email has flooded in from Parkesy in Wanstead: 'You Irrrroooooooons!'

12.01: You can share your thoughts on the day's action thusly: [email protected] or Twitter: @TomBellwood.

Would like to hear from Hammers fans, Saints fans and hopeful Boro fans. Or if you're one of the unlucky bunch to have already been relegated. Direct your missives to the above address. Tar.

11.54: And let's not forget Middlesbrough who can sneak into the play-offs. If Cardiff lose to Crystal Palace and Boro beat Watford at Vicarage Road, they'll be in the final four for a place in the top flight.

If the Eagle draw, however, Boro will need a swing of 10+ goals to make it. So I think we can chalk that scenario off.

11.45am: Here we go then, the final day of Championship action, the 2011-12 season comes to a close with a final automatic promotion place still up for grabs.

Nerves will be frayed at Upton Park and St Mary's as West Ham and Southampton sweat it out on a lucrative place in the Barclays Premier League.

The equation is simple(ish): If Southampton draw and West Ham win by four or more goals, the Hammers are promoted.

BUT… If Saints draw and West Ham win by three goals, it goes to goals scored (currently Southampton 81, West Ham 79).

And finally… (stay with it): If both clubs finish level on points, goal difference and goals scored, it goes to head-to-head records between the two teams. And in that scenario, Southampton would be promoted courtesy of a 1-0 win in October and 1-1 draw in February.

Have you got all that Good.

Jackpot! Reading have returned to the top flight and the attendant riches of the Barclays Premier League... but who will join them

Jackpot! Reading have returned to the top flight and the attendant riches of the Barclays Premier League… but who will join them

Leicester 1 West Ham 2 – final day battle with Southampton for Premier League

Leicester 1 West Ham 2: Collison sets up nervous final day in race for Premier League

|

UPDATED:

08:21 GMT, 24 April 2012

Jack Collison set up a dramatic final day in the Championship after a gritty West Ham fightback on Monday night.

The Wales midfielder struck a winner from 25 yards to crank up the pressure on second-placed Southampton as their manager Nigel Adkins once more saw automatic promotion slip through his fingers.

Defeat for the visitors and he would have been uncorking the bubbly. As it was, the only fizz last night was from Collison's 58th-minute shot which flew into the bottom corner and set the nerves jangling before the Saints' match on Saturday against relegated Coventry.

All smiles: Collison kept West Ham's hopes alive with his second-half strike

All smiles: Collison kept West Ham's hopes alive with his second-half strike

MATCH FACTS

Leicester: Schmeichel, Peltier, Morgan, Bamba, Konchesky, Marshall, Wellens (Dyer 22), Drinkwater, King (St. Ledger 46), Beckford, Nugent (Waghorn 65). Subs Not Used: Howard, Vassell.

Goals: Beckford 34.

West Ham: Green, Demel (Faubert 76), Reid, Tomkins,Taylor, Collison (Lansbury 88), Noble, Nolan, O'Neil, Cole (Collins 81), Vaz Te. Subs Not Used: Baldock, Diop. Booked: O'Neil.

Goals: Reid 39, Collison 58.

Att: 23,172

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).

Last night it was all about reducing a
five-point gap for West Ham. After Jermaine Beckford headed Leicester
in front 11 minutes before the interval, it looked as though the plans
of manager Sam Allardyce had been scuppered.

But Winston Reid bundled home within a
few minutes and Collison pounced after Leicester substitute Sean St
Ledger blocked Gary O'Neil's drive.

But West Ham were wasteful and may yet rue a four-goal difference, should Southampton draw against Coventry.

Jack's the lad: Collison scores the winner against Leicester

Jack's the lad: Collison scores the winner against Leicester

The Hammers will need to kick into
overdrive against Hull. But Allardyce was canny enough to realise the
burden of pressure had now been transferred.

'It's a well-deserved victory and should have been by more,' he said.

'But we got exactly what we wanted
tonight, which was the three points. It was a good performance,
especially having to come back from a goal down. And a terrific goal
from Jack Collison made it a good night.

'So, we have stayed in the race
until the very end. We have to do our job and then wait and see if
Coventry can do a bit at Southampton.

Hammer time: Kevin Nolan celebrates Collison's second-half strike

Hammer time: Kevin Nolan celebrates Collison's second-half strike

'It certainly gives us a better
chance than we had at the start. We had to win it to stay in it. If
Southampton get the jitters or Coventry play with no fear because they
have been relegated, who knows They will be under enormous pressure
after the fantastic season that they have had.

'But we need to do our job against
Hull. Whatever happens after that, it's been a great season whether we
go up or go into the play-offs.'

It had appeared to be one of those evenings for West Ham when, against the run of play, Beckford netted his 15th of the season.

Ben Marshall skipped clear of a
challenge from Matt Taylor near the touchline and sent a delightful
cross to the far post which simply begged to be converted. The former
Leeds striker was not about to miss.

Head boy: Beckford gives Leicester the lead

Head boy: Beckford gives Leicester the lead

But four minutes later Taylor made
amends as he created an overlap from Mark Noble's pass and slammed the
ball across goal for Reid to force home from two yards.

That was the pivotal moment as
Leicester, forced to swap their central midfielders through injury,
struggled in the second-half.

Kevin Nolan spooned over a shot with a clear sight of goal, but that didn't matter when, 60 seconds later, Collison scored.

West Ham were then spared the agony
of a late penalty when Reid totally misjudged a ball, hooking his leg
into Wes Morgan's shoulder after the Leicester defender had nodded on
Kasper Schmeichel's long punt. It has given Allardyce 'a slim chance'.

'Who would have thought that Everton would draw 4-4 with Manchester United' he said.

'And who would have thought West Brom would go to Anfield and win And who fancied Wigan to beat Arsenal

'We need to concentrate on ourselves. Like I said: Who knows'

Bristol City 1 West Ham 1: Hammers held by Cole Skuse

Bristol City 1 West Ham 1: Hammers looking Green after keeper error leaves Allardyce staring at play-offs

|

UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 17 April 2012

A Robert Green blunder all but consigned West Ham to the npower Championship play-offs and helped edge Bristol City closer to safety.

The Hammers goalkeeper failed to deal with a routine Cole Skuse attempt from range after 29 minutes of a scratchy encounter at Ashton Gate, allowing the ball to bounce up and over his diving body.

It means his side have plenty to do if they are to secure automatic promotion to the Barclays Premier League.

Hit back: Bristol City's Cole Skuse celebrates his equaliser

Hit back: Bristol City's Cole Skuse celebrates his equaliser

MATCH FACTS

Bristol City: Gerken, Fontaine, Foster, Amougou, McGivern, Skuse, Bolasie (Woolford 69), Cisse (Adomah 69), Pearson, Stead (Carey 88), Wood

Subs not used: James, Kilkenny

Booked: Amougou, McGivern, Skuse, Stead

Goals: Skuse

West Ham United: Green, Reid, Tomkins, Demel (Faubert 74), Collins (Carew 63), Nolan, Taylor, Noble, Lansbury, Maynard (Collison 74), Vaz Te

Subs not used: Henderson, Diop

Booked: Reid, Collins

Goals: Tomkins

Referee: Pawson

Attendance: 16,669

With Southampton winning at Peterborough, Sam Allardyce's outfit are five points off the top two with just two games remaining.

It could have been so different for the Hammers, who led thanks to James Tomkins' header midway through the opening period and saw second-half chances spurned by Henri Lansbury and John Carew.

But for City, a battling point improves their chances of playing in the Championship next season.

West Ham spent the first 15 minutes camped in the City half, and Ricardo Vaz Te had the ball in the back of the net on the quarter-hour mark, only for referee Craig Pawson to disallow the goal for a handball by Hammers skipper Kevin Nolan in the build-up.

At the other end, Skuse dragged a tame daisy-cutter well wide, while Vaz Te followed suit as neither side could open the other up.

But with 25 minutes gone the away side finally found a way through.

Andre Amougou fouled Maynard wide on the left, Noble floated in the resulting free-kick and Tomkins picked his spot with a free header back across Dean Gerken.

The hosts, already firmly on the back foot, could have been forgiven for folding – but within four minutes they were level.

Skuse latched on to a bobbling ball 25 yards from goal and took aim, more out of hope than expectation.

Green appeared to have the effort covered, but the ball bounced up off the turf in front of him and, although the England stopper got a hand to it, nestled in the right-hand corner of the net.

The Hammers almost nudged ahead just before the break, but Gerken dived bravely on Nolan's shot-cum-cross before Winston Reid could bundle the ball home, and the two teams went into half-time all-square.

The visitors started brightly after the interval, and Lansbury clipped the top of the crossbar before forcing a decent save out of Gerken from a narrow angle.

Allardyce introduced striker Carew for full-back Danny Collins as his side desperately chased a winning goal.

Carew was quickly in the game, shooting low at Gerken after being played in by Vaz Te, but City always looked lively going forward and it required a good stop from Green to keep out Chris Wood's effort with 18 minutes remaining.

Carew headed Matt Taylor's free-kick over and toe-poked wide late on but the Hammers could not find a crucial second.

Peterborough 0 West Ham 2: Sam Allardyce turns on Hammers fans

Peterborough 0 West Ham 2: A win that closes in on Reading, but Big Sam's under the Hammer

|

UPDATED:

22:36 GMT, 27 March 2012

Sam Allardyce labelled West Ham’s fans ‘deluded’ after his side closed the gap on second-placed Reading to just one point.

Goals from Ricardo Vaz Te and Gary O’Neil made it 11 matches unbeaten for West Ham, who also equalled a club record 11 away victories, yet still the 5,000 travelling fans chanted Paolo di Canio’s name.

The songs were barely audible just before kick-off, but grew in intensity after an uninspiring first 15 minutes from West Ham.

Breaking the deadlock: Ricardo Vaz Te nods the Hammers ahead

Breaking the deadlock: Ricardo Vaz Te nods the Hammers ahead

MATCH FACTS

Peterborough: Jones, Alcock, Zakuani (Little 62), Brisley, Rowe, Frecklington (Kearns 88), McCann, Boyd, Tomlin (Sinclair 62), Taylor, Barnett. Subs not used: Lewis, Ball.

Booked: Sinclair.

West Ham: Green, O'Brien (Faubert 46), Tomkins, Faye (Collins 46), McCartney, O'Neil (Maynard 88), Noble, Nolan, Taylor, Cole, Vaz Te. Subs not used: Baldock, Carew.

Scorers: Vaz Te 51, O'Neil 57.

Referee: Sarginson.

Attendance: 13,517.

Allardyce’s response was to stand in the technical area with his hands in his pockets.

The win, after all, means West Ham can overtake Reading if they beat Brian McDermott’s side at Upton Park on Saturday.

But Hammers fans were not happy. ‘We
play on the floor,’ they sang, upset that their team were limited to
long-range shots from Taylor and Noble, but it was justified in the
final half an hour, when the visitors passed the ball around quite
beautifully after taking the lead.

‘I’m sick of all that rubbish,’ said Allardyce. ‘It just keeps rearing its head.

‘The facts speak for themselves and the perception of people that it is anything other than that are deluded.

‘It started off from other managers
because they got jealous I kept beating them. Whoever says we play that
way are deluded because we don‘t.

‘The fans get frustrated because we don’t win so they want to win something.

Dance of delight: Gary O'Neil's goal was well-received by the visitors

Dance of delight: Gary O'Neil's goal was well-received by the visitors

‘I know how to win football matches and I know what’s good for West Ham. I can’t get away from the tag and that’s life.’

West Ham, though, were laboured in
the first 20 minutes. Peterborough, by contrast, were lively straight
from the start. Lee Tomlin had the first shot on target after just 28
seconds and Paul Taylor also tested Robert Green 10 minutes later,
forcing the goalkeeper to tip his shot onto the bar.

Precious three points: Sam Allardyce

Precious three points: Sam Allardyce

Darren Ferguson was incensed
Peterborough did not get a penalty just before half-time when Tommy Rowe
went down in the box, but George Boyd had an great chance to make
amends seconds later only for James Tomkins to block his shot.

‘The chance Boyd’s got right on
half-time was the key point,’ said the Peterborough manager. ‘If the
penalty was in the other box he gives it. But West Ham went 2-0 up and
they looked very professional.’

Whatever Allardyce said at half-time,
it worked. Vaz Te, back in the side after injury, scored his second
goal at London Road this season for his second club. The 25-year-old,
who also scored in a 4-3 win for Barnsley in December, headed home
Taylor’s cross.

After Nolan had sent a left-foot shot
whistling wide of the upright, Gary O’Neil tried the same tactic and
found the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the area to make it
2-0.

Carlton Cole, who has scored only one
goal this calendar year, missed two excellent chances, as did George
McCartney and Matthew Taylor.

West Ham 1 Watford 1

West Ham 1 Watford 1: Vaz Te rescues point but Hammers miss chance to go top

West Ham needed a late Ricardo Vaz Te goal to salvage a point against Watford as they blew their chance to go top of the npower Championship.

The Hammers, needing a win to leapfrog Southampton at the summit, created a host of chances only to fall behind to a second-half sucker-punch from Watford teenager Sean Murray.

Up for the battle: West Ham missed the chance to leapfrog Southampton

Up for the battle: West Ham missed the chance to leapfrog Southampton

MATCH FACTS

West Ham: Green, O'Brien (Lansbury 74), Tomkins, Faye, McCartney, Noble, Nolan, Taylor (Vaz Te 74), Faubert, Maynard (Baldock 62), Cole.

Subs not used: Boffin, O'Neil.

Booked: Noble.

Scorer: Vaz Te 87.

Watford: Kuszczak, Doyley, Mariappa, Bennett (Taylor 58), Dickinson, Murray (Buaben 88), Hogg, Eustace, Kacaniklic, Deeney, Iwelumo.

Subs not used: Loach, Trotta, Garner.

Booked: Hogg, Kacaniklic.

Scorer: Murray 68.

Referee: Keith Stroud.

Attendance: 31,674

Substitute Vaz Te struck with three
minutes of normal time to play and West Ham laid siege on the Watford
goal throughout nine minutes of stoppage time following a nasty injury
to Dale Bennett.

Manager Sam Allardyce felt they
should have had a last-gasp penalty as the final whistle approached when
Carl Dickinson appeared to handle.

But an expectant crowd, anticipating a
comfortable home win against a side they had beaten 4-0 in August, had
to settle for a point.

Matt Taylor was back in the West Ham
line-up after a three-match ban and looked determined to make up for
lost time, crashing a shot against the crossbar from 30 yards with less
than a minute on the clock.

It set the tone for the match with
Julien Faubert then missing a gilt-edged chance when, six yards out at
the far post, he sidefooted the ball back across goal.

The Hammers twice opened up a
stubborn Watford defence just before half-time, only for Tomasz Kuszczak
to come to the visitors' rescue with saves from Mark Noble and James
Tomkins.

The hosts began the second half in
the same vein, Tomkins heading Noble's cross into the ground and over
the bar after just two minutes.

Moments later, as three Watford
players threw themselves in front of Joey O'Brien's shot, defender
Bennett came off worse in a clash of heads with team-mate John Eustace.

Eustace returned to the field in a
heavy bandage but Bennett received lengthy treatment on the pitch before
he was gingerly carried from the field in a neck brace.

Allardyce sent on Sam Baldock in a bid to pep up his misfiring attack, but instead it was Watford who took a shock lead.

There appeared to be little danger
when Murray collected the ball 20 yards out to the right of West Ham's
penalty area, but the rookie midfielder lashed a fierce low drive across
Green and in off the post.

Watford promptly retreated back into
their own half and Faubert fired over, Nolan shot wide and Kuszczak
pushed a Vaz Te header wide.

But from the resulting corner Vaz Te
fired goalwards and the ball squeezed over the line, via the far post,
before Kuszczak could react.

There was still time for the Hammers'
penalty appeals to fall on the deaf ears of referee Keith Stroud to
leave them contemplating a missed opportunity in the title race.

West Ham 0 Crystal Palace 0: Promotion-chasing Hammers held in drab London derby

West Ham 0 Crystal Palace 0: Promotion-chasing Hammers held in drab London derby

West Ham kept 11 players on the pitch for a change but could not find a way past Crystal Palace.

The promotion-chasing Hammers had goalkeeper Rob Green to thank for keeping them in the game in the first half, and then some wayward finishing cost them after the break.

Green was only able to play after winning an appeal against his midweek red card, having become the third player West Ham player to be sent off in the last three matches.

Hard fought: Chris Martin battles with Jack Collison

Hard fought: Chris Martin battles with Jack Collison

MATCH FACTS

West Ham: Green, O'Brien, Reid, Faye, McCartney, Noble, Tomkins, Faubert (Cole 46), Collison, Maynard (Baldock 73), Vaz Te (O'Neil 58). Subs not used: Lansbury, Potts.

Booked: O'Neil.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, McShane, McCarthy, Gardner, Parr, Zaha, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Ambrose (Scannell 63), Easter (Murray 74), Martin. Subs not used: Price, Garvan, O'Keefe.

Referee: Graham Salisbury.

Attendance: 34,900.

From those games West Ham still
picked up seven points, including three on Tuesday in a stunning 4-1 win
at Blackpool where midfielder Henri Lansbury deputised for Green in
goal during the second half.

However, they could only manage a single point with a full complement of players against London rivals Palace.

The Eagles almost shocked their hosts
with just 30 seconds played, Wilfried Zaha wriggling free down the
right and crossing for Darren Ambrose, who curled a shot just wide.

A minute later James Tomkins created
West Ham's first chance with a clever through-ball but George
McCartney's chip floated the wrong side of the post.

Green, whose eventful week also
included an England recall, was kept busy throughout the first half,
blocking a fierce Chris Martin drive and tipping over the deflected
follow-up from Zaha.

From the resulting corner, Mile Jedinak was left unmarked right in front of goal but the midfielder headed over.

Australian Jedinak kept trying his
luck, though, and he forced another fine save from Green with a 20-yard
shot and also fired wide in first-half stoppage time.

Safe hands: Robert Green denies Glenn Murray

Safe hands: Robert Green denies Glenn Murray

Home boss Sam Allardyce hauled off
the error-prone Julien Faubert at half-time, sending on Carlton Cole to
partner Nicky Maynard in attack.

The change almost paid immediate
dividends when a mistake by Zaha let in Maynard who found Cole on the
edge of the area, but the striker's curled shot was off target.

Moments later Ricardo Vaz Te was denied by a well-timed tackle in the area from Anthony Gardner just as he was about to shoot.

Tomkins then headed Mark Noble's cross over and Maynard's shot was also too high.

Sam Baldock almost made himself an
instant hero within seconds of coming on as a substitute after Noble put
him through, but his shot was too close to Julian Speroni.

Speroni denied Baldock again and
Winston Reid late on, before Jack Collison blazed over in stoppage time
to cap a frustrating afternoon for the Hammers.

West Ham 1 Southampton 1: Hammers stay top

West Ham 1 Southampton 1: Honours even in fiery promotion clash

West Ham remain top of the Championship after hanging on with 10 men against their nearest rivals Southampton.

Matt Taylor was sent off for the hosts following a clash with Billy Sharp after West Ham had been awarded a penalty.

Captain Mark Noble scored from the spot but West Ham had nearly 70 minutes to hold on.

Southampton eventually got the equaliser with quarter of an hour left but couldn't find the winner that would have taken them top.

Opener: Noble celebrates his first-half penalty

Opener: Noble celebrates his first-half penalty

MATCH FACTS

West Ham: Green; O'Brien, Reid, Faye, Taylor; Faubert, Tomkins, Noble, Collison (McCartney 21); Cole (Maynard 65), Vaz Te (O'Neil 71).

Subs not used: Lansbury, Baldock.

Booked: Faye, Cole. Sent off: Taylor.

Goal: Noble (pen) 21.

Southampton: Davis; Richardson (Connolly 80), Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox; Guly (Puncheon 55), Cork, Schneiderlin, Lallana; Sharp, Lambert.

Subs not used: Martin, Hammond, Lee.

Booked: Cork, Lallana, Sharp.

Goal: Hooiveld 75.

Referee: Lee Probert.

Attendance: 32,875.

More to follow…

Flashpoint: Matt Taylor is sent off by Lee Probert after clashing with Billy Sharp

Flashpoint: Matt Taylor is sent off by Lee Probert after clashing with Billy Sharp

Flashpoint: Mark Noble clashes with Billy Sharp

More to follow…

Off: Matt Taylor is given his marching orders by Lee Probert

Off: Matt Taylor is given his marching orders by Lee Probert

Paying the penalty: Noble slots the chance

Paying the penalty: Noble slots the chance

Equaliser: Jos Hooiveld scrambles the ball home

Equaliser: Jos Hooiveld scrambles the ball home