Hammers blow for Everton
Everton's UEFA Champions League hopes suffered another dent as they were held at home by West Ham.
By Rob Parrish
Last Updated: 22/03/08 7:51pm
Everton's UEFA Champions League hopes suffered another dent as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by West Ham.
David Moyes' men were looking to move level on points with local rivals Liverpool and made the perfect start with Yakubu Aiyegbeni lashing home in the eighth minute after Victor Anichebe had flicked on.
Yakubu should have had a second when he side-footed home but was ruled offside, only for replays to show he was level and that Hammers midfielder Scott Parker got the final touch as the ball came through.
Tim Howard produced a stunning save to deny Dean Ashton an equaliser before the break, sticking out a leg after the striker's drilled free-kick had deflected off Joleon Lescott.
But Ashton was not to be denied after the interval, climbing above Phil Jagielka to head home Lucas Neill's cross from the right wing in the 68th minute.
And West Ham could even have won it in the closing stages, with teenage striker Freddie Sears denied by Howard and then seeing a last-minute shot come back off the base of the post.
Baptism of fire
The Hammers gave centre-back James Tomkins his first start, and it was something of a baptism of fire against the power of Yakubu - even if the England Under 19 international could have scored inside five minutes.
For Everton, Tim Cahill returned after a hip injury - while teenager Victor Anichebe had also recovered from a similar injury to make only his ninth start of the campaign in place of hamstring victim Andy Johnson.
Leighton Baines played on the left of midfield in the absence of Steven Pienaar, out with a muscle problem.
But it was Basildon-born Tomkins who almost made it a dream debut. He met Mark Noble's corner 12 yards out, and his looping header clattered against the bar.
But three minutes later, after Anton Ferdinand had lost out in the air to Anichebe, Tomkins was equally at fault when he was out-muscled by Yakubu midway inside West Ham's half and the big Nigerian surged away and scored past Green.
Cahill lasted just two more minutes, before suffering a recurrence of his injury, Manuel Fernandes replaced him.
Everton were searching for the second against an uncertain West Ham - and Yakubu was wrongly adjudged offside when he scored from just inside the box, the final pass actually coming off West Ham midfielder Parker.
Everton had plenty of the ball and had West Ham on the back foot, with Anichebe and Yakubu causing problems, but the Hammers had their chances.
Noble's low cross was mis-kicked by Mikel Arteta, the ball fell invitingly for Ashton on the six-yard line, but his shot went agonisingly the wrong side of Tim Howard's right-hand post.
Green made a brave save at the feet of Anichebe, when Yakubu had played him through four minutes from the break - but again West Ham could have equalised soon afterwards.
Ashton struck a low free-kick from 20 yards - and even though it deflected wickedly off Lescott, Howard made a remarkable save with his legs while going the wrong way.
Five minutes into the second period, Sears came on for Luis Boa Morte and was soon scampering around and unsettling defenders.
Everton still looked the most likely to get the next goal, though - and when Baines produced a run and cross, it took a fine Green save to halt Yakubu.
Ashton drove wide, and then Noble struck a free-kick over the bar. Lee Carsley responded with a 25-yarder, when given too much space, but the effort flashed over. Then Green saved at Baines' feet after 65 minutes.
But three minutes later, West Ham were back on terms. Neill fired over a cross from the right, and Ashton rose above Jagielka to send his header in off a post.
Freddie Ljungberg's pass then sent Sears in behind Lescott, but his shot from a tight angle was held by Howard.
When Sears robbed Jagielka on the edge of the box the teenager was on his way round Howard before the American goalkeeper just grabbed the ball.Noble drove inches over the bar as West Ham put a fine passing move together; then Sears got away from Jagielka again, and this time saw his stabbed shot hit a post as Everton were left clinging on.
|Everton||Team Statistics||West Ham United|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||8|