Filed: Monday, 2nd January 2012
By: Staff Writer
It's goalless at the break in this afternoon's Championship clash with strugglers Coventry City.
Despite making a bright start in front of a near-capacity crowd at the BG, Sam Allardyce's side - boosted by the return of a number of players from suspension - have failed to turn their superior possession into goals as we enter the half time interval.
With Allardyce having adopted a four-man diamond midfield formation (with Mark Noble on the left), Carlton Cole - dropped for the 2-1 defeat at Derby - was reinstated to lead the line alongside Sam Baldock. Danny Potts, who took the December Player of the Month award prior to the game was one of six dropped.
A promising opening saw plenty of possession for the Hammers but it was City's Chris Hussey who had the first chance of the game when he fired inches wide of Rob Green's goal with eight minutes played. Replays confirmed he should have really hit the target.
West Ham hit a purple patch thereafter and Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins were both denied by Coventry 'keeper Joe Murphy within 60 seconds. Carlton Cole was next to be frustrated when he was stopped in his tracks by a perfectly-timed last-ditch tackle from Gary Deegan when the striker was set to pull the trigger.
Kevin Nolan, who had a quiet half saw an audacious lob float over the bar before Cole was inches away from nodding home James Tomkins' header from a Jack Collison corner. As the half entered its final third the visitors, having quelled the initial optimism of the home support inside the BG, began to get back into the game.
But for an excellent intervention by Noble, David Bell may well have given City the lead when he raced through after West Ham's back four had been caught off-guard. Gary McSheffrey was also close to opening the scoring when his header flashed the wrong side of Green's post by a amatter of inches.
With all still to play for, we'll bring you a full report at the final whistle.
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