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West Ham Utd 0 Portsmouth 0

Filed: Saturday, 15th November 2008
By: Staff Writer

West Ham have finally recorded a clean sheet - but produced yet another poor performance against Portsmouth at the Boleyn this afternoon in doing so.

That unenviable record - which stretched to 25 games - was finally put to bed after Robert Green managed to keep the team's first clean sheet since last season's 1-0 win at Fulham. However the Hammers were desperately disappointing on an afternoon when nothing less than a win was needed to ease relegation worries.

Gianfranco Zola spoke last week of toying with his tactics following the 3-1 defeat against Everton - despite the fact that his team played some excellent football during the match. Today however there was very little evidence of that kind of free-flowing attacking play as the Hammers struggled to stretch a Pompey side missing Sol Campbell and key midfielder Diarra, who was replaced early on after he came out worst in a challenge with Scott Parker.

West Ham - featuring Carlton Cole, back in the side after completing a threee match suspension - were strangely subdued throughout despite starting the game with three strikers in Cole, Craig Bellamy and Freddie Sears.

However they still managed to create a number of early chances - the best of which fell to the returning Cole eight minutes from half time; unfortuntely the big striker fluffed his lines when presented a close range opportunity which came from a Craig Bellamy cross.

Portsmouth themselves created a number of chances in the opening 45 with former Hammers Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson looking particularly lively. Defoe, bearing the brunt of the boos from the (3,000 less than capacity) home crowd tested Rob Green on a number of occasions without success.

Each side also saw a first half penalty shout turned down; the Hammers saw their sixth minute appeal rejected when a Freddie Sears cross hit the knee then shoulder of Noel Pamarot whilst Pompey had a shout rejected when Glen Johnson was involved on the edge of the box.

With the introduction of Matthew Etherington (for the unfortunate Freddie Sears who had been one of United's livelier performers) at half time Zola reverted to the 442 system which he had only briefly employed previously. It failed to make much of a difference all things told, as Portsmouth enjoyed the better chances of the second half.

However West Ham did threaten on occasions and none more so than when Craig Bellamy went closest to breaking the deadlock with a 22-yard free kick that crashed off David James' crossbar. Jack Collison was first to react but the wily James - the thrid former Hammer featuring for the opposition - was on hand to divert the effort.

So whilst Messrs Zola and Clarke with be bouyed by the clean sheet - and no new injuries! - a point is perhaps less than would have hoped for at the beginning of the game.

The point means West Ham remain in 13th spot just a point above the relgation zone; next up for Zola and his side is the trip to Sunderland next weekend.

West Ham Utd: Green, Neill, Ilunga (Faubert 61), Collins, Upson, Collison, Parker (Mullins 75), Behrami, Sears (Etherington 46), Bellamy, Cole.

Subs not used: Lastuvka, Davenport, Bowyer, Di Michele

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Kaboul, Distin, Belhadj, Pamarot, Diop, Davis, Diarra (Traore 19), Defoe, Crouch (Kanu 75).

Subs not used: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Mvuemba, Hughes, Nugent.

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Attendance: 32,328.

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by HammeredCalv
12:30PM 16th Nov 2008
''0-0 is a start, clean sheet at last - but unless we buy a decent striker in Jan we are going to struggle. Tough games coming up, and we don't look like we can score a goal. I am starting to worry; anyone else?''

by g portugal
10:14PM 15th Nov 2008
''I didn't feel that the performance was poor, though I agree that our passing and movement was nowhere near what it was against Everton. Although we were less of an attacking threat today, I don't think it 's a coincidence that we kept the clean sheet. We closed down a bit better this week ,and probably deserved the clean sheet. Disappointing perhaps to not take more than a point at home against mid-table opposition, but at the moment,any point we get is a useful one as we try to get out of this bad run.''

by Matte791
07:12PM 15th Nov 2008
''I saw the match through an internet stream and was encouraged by the performance. We were trying very hard to break Pompey down which was made extra hard with them piling nearly everyone behind the ball without possession. Some of the multi-pass moves we created were a joy to watch, even if they didn't result in a goal. Defensively we still looked a little fragile, but I can't complain with the resulting clean sheet. So overall I believe this match report is unnecessarily negative, and I am looking forward to the next game, even if it is away to the confident Sunderland!''

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