West Ham lose ground despite fight back
West Ham stormed back from two goals down at the break to grab a draw at Turf Moor, but they really should have taken all three points
Burnley 2 West Ham United 2
Second-half strikes from Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins allowed West Ham to storm back from two goals down at Turf Moor, but after managing a staggering 19 shots on the day, West Ham should have won this game with ease.
The Hammers desperately needed a victory to get their automatic promotion hopes back on course and they started with confidence and crisp passing moves as they looked for an early advantage.
It should have come on nine minutes when Nolan intercepted a poor pass and put in Carlton Cole. The striker rounded the keeper but put his shot wide from a tight angle.
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It was indicative of a dreadful half for Cole, who was replaced at the break after missing two more glorious chances in that first half.
But the time he missed the second, the Hammers were already 2-0 down.
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Abdoulaye Faye’s absence meant James Tomkins returned to defence, but missing that midfield cover on 25 minutes, Marvin Bartley was able to run through the middle, skip past a challenge and slot the ball under Robert Green for the first goal.
Nolan headed home Jack Collison’s cross a minute later, only to be penalised for a push, while just a couple of minutes later Cole failed to turn in Noble’s free kick from poin blank range as it hit the post, while Nolan’s follow-up was blocked.
Disaster struck on 36 minutes as Burnley made it 2-0. Ben Mee’s cross from the left saw Martin Paterson get in behind Danny Collins and force the ball over the line.
Ross Wallace hit the post before half time as Burnley looked to seal it, but manager Sam Allardyce rang the changes at the break, bringing on Sam Baldock and Nicky Maynard for Cole and Matty Taylor and it made a real difference.
Maynard saw an effort deflected wide, while George McCartney jinked into the box before forcing a decent save, before West Ham threw themselves a lifeline on 68 minutes.
A hopeful ball forward was chased by Nolan, who jinked in ahead of a defender to loft the ball over the keeper and into the empty net.
It was his 10th goal of the season and more joy was to come for the Hammers two minutes later. Noble’s free kick fell at the feet of Tomkins and he confidently stroked home the equaliser.
The momentum was with West Ham and they should have won at a canter. But missed chances were to cost them in the end.
Maynard’s cross was hacked away by Kieran Tripper as Nolan waited to pounce, but it was the arrival of sub John Carew which caused chaos in the Burnley defence.
First, he chested into the path of Baldock, who blasted over with the goalkeeper to beat, before Baldock returned the compliment only for Carew’s shot to be straight at Lee Grant.
The best chance fell to Baldock. Maynard’s pass put him clear, but with just the keeper to beat, Grant made a superb stop, but the striker really should have scored.
Carew headed the resulting corner straight at Grant and the big striker had the last chance as he met Gary O’Neil’s deep cross, but headed wide.
It was a marvellous comeback, but with Reading and Southampton winning, it is looking a tall order to make the top two.
West Ham: Green, O’Brien, McCartney, Collins, Tomkins, O’Neil, Nolan, Noble, Collison (Carew 82), Taylor (Baldock h/t), Cole (Maynard h/t).
Unused subs: Lansbury, Potts.
Referee: Mark Haywood.