Stanislas strike gives West Ham a point
The Hammers came from behind at freezing Ewood Park to draw 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers.
Blackburn Rovers 1 West Ham United 1
WEST HAM will be rooted to the bottom of the table and manager Avram Grant’s position will continue to come under even more scrutiny, but they did manage to salvage a point at freezing Blackburn on Saturday.
While all bar one of the Premier League programme was wiped out by the snow and ice, Rovers were obviously keen to get this game on against the Hammers but in the end it proved frustrating for both teams.
West Ham were hampered by the absence of goalkeeper Robert Green, replaced by debut boy Ruud Boffin, while Valon Behrami broke down in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Jonathan Spector.
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Rovers grabbed the lead on 52 minutes. Boffin’s punch failed to clear and when the ball was put back in, chaos ensued. The keeper saved superbly from Ryan Nelsen from close range, but from the rebound, the defender forced the ball over the line.
Those West Ham fans not brave enough to venture north for this game would have seen more quality shopping in Romford market than at Ewood Park in the first half, but despite that it was West Ham who carved out the better of the few chances.
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First Luis Boa Morte released Freddie Piquionne on the left and he should have done better than hit the side netting with his shot. Then the Portuguese midfielder got in on the act himself.
This time Piquonne turned provider, putting Boa Morte in, but his shot was saved by the feet of Paul Robinson.
Morten Gamst Pedersen had tested Boffin earlier with a curling free kick which the Belgian saved and caught with confidence, while he even had the temerity to dribble round a Rovers defender and out of his area, despite the anxious looks from his team-mates.
Blackburn’s goal forced Grant to change tactics and he threw on Junior Stanislas and Carlton Cole and went to a 4-4-2 system.
On 66 minutes they did carve out a decent chance as Kieron Dyer, who had been caught offside four times already, managed to beat the trap and when he squared it for Piquionne the Frenchman couldn’t get enough on his shot and it slipped harmlessly wide.
On 72 minutes, Stanislas delievered a free kick and when the ball fell to Matty Upson in the box, his effort clipped the outside of the post.
Piquionne headed over from a corner, but West Ham were still not creating any clear-cut chances.
Rovers were hardly creating anything of their own, but they were happy to sit back, but just as it seemed West Ham had run out of steam, they grabbed themsleves and their beleaguered manager a lifeline.
Scott Parker ran at the heart of the Rovers defence and when Nelsen could only clear as far as Stanislas, who picked his spot into the far corner.
Rovers had a goal disallowed, but the loudest noise before the final whistle came from the introduction of former Rover Benni McCarthy as a late substitute. Unfortunately for West Ham, he made little difference.
West Ham: Boffin, Ben Haim, Gabbidon, Upson, Tomkins, Barrera (Stanislas 57), Parker, Spector (Cole 57), Boa Morte, Dyer (McCarthy 82), Piquionne.