Monday, 19th November 2001
Kitson, who has been banging them in for the reserves this season hit his hat-trick as a late replacement for Freddie Kanoute, who suffered a late hamstring injury.
But it still wasn't enough to earn Glenn Roeder's men the points as Charlton snatched an injury-time equaliser in a game which ebbed and flowed from the off.
Kitson opened his account by sending the Hammers into the lead as early as the 4th minute.
But some shoddy defending by the Hammers - and even poorer goalkeeping from Shaka Hislop - let Jason Euell in for a 21st minute equaliser.
Charlton took the lead just eight minutes later; Jason Euell grabbing his second of the night following an uncharacteristic blunder by Tomas Repka.
But the Hammers were level within two minutes when Kitson finished off a wonderful Hammers move to score his second of the evening.
Two-two at the break, but there was still plenty more to come.
Charlton restored their lead 5 minutes into the second half when Jonatan Johansson capitalised on yet further inept Hammers defending by sliding the ball underneath the advancing Hislop.
Glenn Roeder, realising the 5-3-2 formation was not paying dividends brought on Joe Cole and Steve Lomas to form a more familiar 4-4-2.
And the changes made an immediate impact when Kitson completed his hat-trick from close range on the hour following some good work on the flank by Paolo Di Canio.
West Ham regained the lead with just eight minutes remaining when Jermain Defoe - returning to his former club, and on as a replacement for Paul Kitson for just 4 minutes - volleyed home a beauty from a Christian Dailly cross.
But the last laugh was saved for the home side when Johansson brilliantly despatched an overhead kick beyond Hislop in injury time to earn Charlton a point they fully deserved.
Glenn Roeder was unhappy with his defence and at the fact that two points were thrown away in the final moments - but accepted that a share of the spoils was probably the right result.
"I'm a little bit more than a tinge disappointed," he said. "If we'd have come here and drawn 0-0 it's a good away point, but to take the lead at 4-3 and then draw - it's a poor result.
"But if I'm honest and Alan Curbishley's honest, I thought the draw was a fair result.
"Still, we've got to defend better as a team and there are some very disappointed defenders in my dressing room.
"Sometimes we are so keen to get forward it costs us, and that's what happened tonight."
West Ham United: Hislop (5), Foxe (5), Repka (6), Dailly (6), Schemmel (6), Sinclair (6), Hutchison (6), Carrick (6), Minto (6), Di Canio (7), Kitson (9)
Subs: Cole (Hutchison 63), Lomas (Minto 63), Defoe (Kitson 78), James, Moncur
Charlton Athletic: Kiely, Powell, Young, Fish, Brown, Konchesky, Parker, Kinsella, Jensen, Euell, Johansson
Subs: Robinson (Young 85), Bartlett (Parker 85), Roberts, Stuart, Fortune
Goals: Kitson (4, 29, 60), Defoe (82), Euell (21, 27), Johansson (50, 90)
Booked: Minto, Schemmel, Euell
Referee: Alan Wiley (8)
Man of the match: Paul Kitson
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