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West Ham Utd 1 Villarreal 1

Filed: Saturday, 9th August 2008
By: Staff Writer

A lively encounter saw both teams earn a share of the spoils at The Boleyn Ground this afternoon.

A Carlton Cole strike had given United an early lead after just 80 seconds. However that was cancelled out shortly before the half-time whistle by Santi Cazorla.

The Hammers - once again featuring triallist Ben Thatcher - started the game with a side similar to that expected to start against Wigan in the season opener next week. Back in after injury were Matthew Etherington and Carlton Cole, whilst Valon Behrami made his home debut.

Alan Curbishley's side made a dream start when Cole finished an incisive move started by Matthew Upson. The centre-half - who later handed two replica kits to Stephanie Moore to mark the retirement of Bobby Moore's number six shirt - sent a ball over the top for Matthew Etherington to chase. The winger, making his return to first team action after a lengthy lay-off pulled the ball back for Cole to score from close range.

Cole had a similar chance to make it 2-0 to the Hammers just after the half hour mark. It proved to be a costly miss as Villarreal equalised nine minutes ahead of the break through Cazorla, who played a neat (headed) one-two before firing past Rob Green from an acute angle.

The second half saw more fouls than goalscoring opportunities and a number of players from both sides were booked by fussy referee Rob Styles, who appeared to have forgotten he was officiating a friendly.

The Hammers thought they had snatched a late winner when, just eight minutes from full time, substitute Freddie Sears converted a Julien Faubert corner which had been nodded on by Calum Davenport. However Sears' effort was ruled out for offside; a marginal but probably correct decision.

As a result of the draw the Bobby Moore Cup, the latest incarnation of which was being played for the first time today will be shared by the two clubs.

All in all it was a good workout for Curbishley's side, although it remains clear that the manager will need to strengthen his squad before deadline day if the Hammers are to harbour any hopes of making the European spots come next May.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Green, Neill, Upson, Davenport, Thatcher (Bowyer 46), Behrami, Noble (Hines 80), Parker, Etherington (Reid 62), Cole (Sears 74), Ashton (Faubert 46).

Subs not used: Stech, Boa Morte, Mullins, Widdowson, Spence, Stanislas.

Goals: Cole (2).

Booked: Cole (27), Bowyer (62).

Villarreal: Lopez, Rodriguez, Godin (Cygan 78), Capevila (Edmilson 46), Pires, Cazorla (Ibagaza 46), Franco (Llorente 67), Fernandez (Cani 46), Venta (Angel 67), Senna (Siroiano 46), Egurn (Josico 83).

Subs not used: Viera, Ariel, Fuentes.

Goals: Cazorla (36).

Booked: Franco (37), Egurn (68), Godin (75), Cani (75).

Referee: Rob Styles.

Attendance: To be confirmed.

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by john pope
02:49PM 11th Aug 2008
''Curbs spent far too long in the comfort zone at Charlton, apart from moving all his mates on the backroom staff over to East London he also wants some of the rejects as well, Matt Holland next? I have no faith in the man, can't we just have a swop and get Pards back, at least he has got a positive outlook. I fear a tough old season ahead.''

by Joe
12:00PM 10th Aug 2008
''Can someone tell me what Curbs was thinking playing Carlton Cole right-wing? And having just one striker up front? When have we ever played well with one striker? I know you've got to try different tactics but one week till the start of the Premier League, surely you've got to play your strongest team and formation? Obviously not.''

by Ken Sparkes
04:21PM 9th Aug 2008
''Was I seeing things, the name Thatcher on the team sheet? If it was what on earth is Curbishley doing, he couldn't get into Charlton's first XI.''

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