Hammers stuck in drop zone
West Ham missed the chance to move out of the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw at home to Everton.
Last Updated: 28/12/10 10:48pm
West Ham United missed the chance to move out of the Premier League's relegation zone after being held to a 1-1 draw at home to Everton.
Tony Hibbert's own goal gave the hosts the lead before Seamus Coleman ensured the Toffees remain unbeaten away from home in the league since August.
The Hammers were in front in fortunate circumstances on 16 minutes when pressure from a set-piece resulted in Hibbert eventually diverting the ball into his own net.
James Tomkins' header was beaten out by Tim Howard and, after Radoslav Kovac had hooked the loose ball back towards danger, Hibbert's outstretched leg crucially deflected the ball beyond his own keeper.
But Everton levelled four minutes before half-time when Tim Cahill, who started in the role of striker, found Coleman unmarked at the far post for a confident side-foot finish.
The best chance of the second half arrived 20 minutes from time when Freddie Sears rolled the ball across the box to Carlton Cole, but the Hammers substitute failed to show the sharpness which had brought a brace against Fulham as he tamely side-footed wide.
Cahill then fired straight at Robert Green before the West Ham keeper produced a reaction save to keep out Marouane Fellaini's header as both teams were forced to settle for a deserved point.
Curiously opting to play Cahill as a lone frontman and leave three strikers on the bench, the visitors nevertheless went close to an early opener when Sylvain Distin ghosted in behind the Hammers defence but his touch took him too wide to shoot on target.
Slice of luck
West Ham, who rested Craven Cottage hero Cole, had enjoyed more than one slice of luck in that 3-1 win at Fulham and they got another to take a 16th-minute lead.
Howard parried a Tomkins header from a corner to Kovac, whose overhead kick looked harmless but took a huge deflection off Hibbert and into the net, instantly cranking up the noise levels at Upton Park.
Distin blazed over and the fit-again Victor Obinna also drilled wide in what was a lively opening quarter from both sides.
Although there were flashes of the defensive uncertainty that have dogged them this season West Ham started to boss proceedings, with Obinna their biggest threat. Matthew Upson headed over the on-loan Inter Milan forward's free-kick under real pressure.
Everton began to get back into it and the home side suffered a blow when they were forced to replace injured left-back Herita Ilunga - playing for the first time in a month - with Jonathan Spector in the 34th minute.
It proved costly as Everton equalised eight minutes later when Coleman got in behind the substitute to side-foot home Cahill's far-post cross.
Upson nodded a difficult chance off-target from a corner and Scott Parker sent a 25-yard chip narrowly over as West Ham tried to regain the initiative, while Coleman arced a stoppage-time effort wide.
Fit-again Toffees midfielder Steven Pienaar brought a low-key start to the second half to life when he curled narrowly over in the 52nd minute.
But neither side were able to impose themselves, and West Ham boss Avram Grant made his second change in the 56th minute when Cole came on for Frederic Piquionne.
With Cahill ineffective as a makeshift striker, Everton finally brought on Ayegbeni Yakubu for Jack Rodwell just past the hour mark.
Kovac picked up the game's first yellow card for fouling the increasingly influential Pienaar but both goalkeepers continued to prove mere spectators.
That should have changed in the 70th minute when Obinna brilliantly sent Sears clear on the break and the winger's cross found Cole, who made a complete hash of his left-foot finish.
Basic errors continued to flow from both sides but Everton had several chances in the space of three minutes to score a late winner.
First Cahill steered Pienaar's cutback straight at Green, Parker then produced a last-gasp tackle to thwart Yakubu before Green repelled Fellaini's bullet header from the resulting corner.
Cahill did then slide the ball into the net but he was well offside after being found by Yakubu's mishit scissors kick.Zavon Hines came on for Obinna for the final five minutes, Jermaine Beckford followed for Pienaar in the final minute and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov for Mikel Arteta in stoppage-time.
|West Ham United||Team Statistics||Everton|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|0||Shots on Target||3|
|8||Shots off Target||9|