Filed: Saturday, 24th March 2012
By: Staff Writer
West Ham have extended their unbeaten run to TEN games - yet still fell further behind in the race for promotion.
A spirited second half fightback earned the Hammers what may yet prove to be a vital point on an afternoon in which, once again, Sam Allardyce's side failed to live up to their pre-match billing.
However wins for Southampton and Reading meant that West Ham ended the day FOUR points adrift of the automatic promotion spots - with just eight games of the league campaign left to play.
In a game which they were expected to have the upper hand, the Hammers found themselves staring at defeat by the half time break being as they were two goals behind.
But a half time personnel switch instigated by the under-fire Allardyce and a spirited fightback earned the Hammers a point - which, with a bit more luck (and better finishing) could have been all three.
Despite dominating proceedings for the opening 25 minutes, United went into the interval two behind - and but for the intervention of a post, the deficit could have been THREE.
It was the home side who opened the scoring when Marvin Bartley was allowed to carve his way through the visitors' defence before planting the ball beyond Robert Green.
Less than a minute later Kevin Nolan thought he had equalised for West Ham but the goal was ruled out by referee Mark Haywood, although exactly why is unknown.
Carlton Cole - who should have put the Irons ahead on nine minutes when he failed to hit the target despite having rounded goalkeeper Lee Grant - then missed another glorious opportunity to score when he failed to find the back of the net from three yards with a header.
And the home side took full advantage of that miss when they doubled their lead on 36 minutes; a mistake by recent loan signing Danny Collins, playing alongside James Tomkins in the heart of the defence in the absence of Abdoulaye Faye allowed Martin Paterson to steal in at the back post and put the ball in the net with his knee.
Jack Collison was denied with three minutes of the half remaining when his thunderbolt was brilliantly tipped over by Grant, before the Clarets almost made it 3-0 when Ross Wallace's cross dropped over Green's head onto the post.
Allardyce, who had spent much of the first half in an apoplectic rage, rang the changes at the break replacing the ineffective Matt Taylor and Carlton Cole with Nicky Maynard and Sam Baldock.
And that change proved dividends when Kevin Nolan reduced the deficit to one on 68 minutes when he profited from a long ball over the top by Gary O'Neil by cleverly lobbing the hesitant Grant.
With the bit between their teeth the Hammers pushed on for a deserved equaliser which duly arrives just two minutes later. A Mark Noble free kick was flicked on by substitute Maynard and expertly despatched by James Tomkins.
Although a series of chances followed - none more notable than when John Carew had the goal at his mercy in the final minute of normal time but opted to shoot straight at 'keeper Grant - the Hammers failed to record a much-needed victory and Burnley clung on for a point that, in truth, they had done little to deserve.
But for all the 'final third entries' that West Ham managed on the day, the only stat that ultimately counts - ie the one in the 'goals scored' column - leaves Allardyce's side four points behind second-placed Reading - who visit the Boleyn next weekend - in the Championship table.
Whilst not quite a mountain to climb, failure to win their game in hand at Peterborough on Tuesday night will leave the Hammers facing the very real prospect of having to go through the play-offs in order to return to the Premier League.
Burnley 2 West Ham Utd 2: match stats
West Ham Utd: Green, O'Brien, Tomkins, Collins, McCartney, Noble, O'Neil, Nolan, Collison (Carew 82), Taylor (Maynard 46), Cole (Baldock 46).
Substitutes not used: Potts, Lansbury.
Goals: Nolan (68), Tomkins (70).
Shots on target/off target: 10/7 (17).
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, McCann, Wallace, Paterson (Stanislas 90), Ings (McQuoid 86), Marney, Edgar, Bartley (Austin 81), Mee.
Substitutes not used: Jensen, Hewitt.
Goals: Bartley (25), Paterson (36).
Shots on target/off target: 4/5 (9).
Referee: Mark Haywood.
Assistants: Richard Clark and David McCallum.
Fourth Official: Lee Metcalfe.
Did You Know? This was the first 2-2 draw between the two teams at Turf Moor since April 1961.
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12:24PM 25th Mar 2012
''Fed up with the style of football - whatever you say Sam it is predominantly long ball and we played better football at start of season. Fed up with one up front and Sam saying he isn't playing one up front - you are. Playing two front men in the midddle who get up to support Cole is not playing three up front.
Fed up with Sam saying only he knows what's going on - rubbish; I said at start of season Cole can't score goals - doesn't matter what league he's in. Fed up hearing Sam rattling on about us outplaying teams - utter rubbish Sam. Don't continue to insult us all.''
11:58AM 25th Mar 2012
''People need to wake up and smell the crap that Allardyce is feeding us. He is a negative, arrogant, ONE DIMENSIONAL manager who I lose more and more respect for with every game. He is ripping the soul out of our great club and we all just sit back an listen to his excuses. I've stuck by him all season but no more.
Our strikers were a disappointment, but it's Allardyce's tactics and team selection that are the problem. He is an archaic manager with no read of the modern game. He constantly plays people out of position and has no game plan apart from the long ball. Our best results have come from having 10 men and Noble as captain. Why? Because he ignored Allardyce and got the lads playing football.
Think what you will, but I'm certain if we had Di Canio in charge then we would have walked this league. Everyone keeps going on about how hard it is and how its so tough for big Sam, rubbish! Newcastle did it and they had the same resources as us, look at what Southampton have done, and they were a league 1 team!
I won't be going to another game. My season ticket will sit at home and I don't want anything more to do with it while he ruins our club and drags us into despair. Ill be back singing my heart out when we stay in the championship and get a decent manager, hopefully Di Canio, who will build the club back to its former glory, playing proper, passing football and playing to win games rather than not loose. Someone needs to tell Allardyce that if you draw six games in a row, you get six points, but if you only win two out of six you still get the same.''
09:19PM 24th Mar 2012
''What a great result. We stopped the juggernaut Burnley in their tracks. To draw against a star-studded line-up like theirs is a dream come true. Sam you are inspirational.
No No, I don't want to go back into that room.''
09:12PM 24th Mar 2012
''Another frustrating day at the office for Sam's boys; the unbeaten run goes on but yet more dropped points go begging while other teams seem to be turning out against Southampton and Reading allowing themselves to get turned over without much of a fight. If the game against the latter later this month wasn't a big deal before it certainly is now, players need to stand up and be counted.''
by g portugal
07:57PM 24th Mar 2012
''Our finishing is absolutely woeful. We don't have a single striker who can find the back of the net, least of all Tweetmouth Cole. And Matt Taylor persists in being an absolute disgrace. Wake up and get on with it, Mr. Mediocres...''