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Middlesbrough v West Ham Utd: half-time report

Filed: Saturday, 22nd December 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel

The Hammers are level at the break in this afternoon's Premier League clash with Middlesbrough thanks to a Dean Ashton thunderbolt.

Ashton fired home a scorcher from the edge of the box a minute ahead of the break to cancel out David Wheater's opener, scored just four minutes earlier.

A much depleted United side struggled to match a resurgent 'Boro, who enjoyed the lion's share of possession throughout the first half.

However the home side were forced to wait until the 40th minute before 20-year-old Wheater opened the scoring from a Stuart Downing free-kick.

Downing's dipping cross found former Hammer Jeremie Aliadiere unmarked at the far post; the French striker pulled the ball back into the six-yard box where Wheater had the easiest of chances to open the scoring.

However the home side's lead lasted just four minutes thanks to Ashton's spectacular equaliser; a looping through ball from Scott Parker was pulled down on the edge of the box by Henri Camara, making a rare start. The always-alert Ashton showed no hesitation in thumping the ball home to level the scores.

We'll have more for you at the final whistle.

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