Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 West Ham United 

Saturday, 16th October 2010
by Staff Writer

West Ham extended their unbeaten run to five games courtesy of a 1-1 draw at Molineux this afternoon - but should really have been celebrating a win.

With the game entering the fourth minute of added time Frederic Piquionne completed a clever move to score what appeared to be the game's winning goal. However referee Mark Clattenburg saw differently and ruled out the Frenchman's effort for handball - despite his contact with the ball quite clearly being with his chest.

If ever there was a game of two halves, then this was it. For as bad as West Ham were in a first half in which the home side created a stack of goalscoring opportunities Wolves were equally inept after the break and, in the end, lucky to escape with a point for their efforts.

Despite controlling the game for much of the opening 45 minutes Mick McCarthy's side managed to find the net on just one occasion, thanks largely to the efforts of Robert Green in the United goal. However Green wasn't looking so impressive on nine minutes when he failed to deal with a cross that allowed Matt Jarvis to turn the ball into the empty net.

Fortunately that soon changed as the former England 'keeper made two exquisite saves later in the half to ensure his side retained a fighting chance after the break.

With the necessary tactical adjustments made by Avram Grant and his team at the break, the Hammers set about their task with a far greater hunger and were back on level terms just eight minutes after the restart.

Mark Noble fired home West Ham's sixth league goal of the season - five of which have arrived from set pieces - to restore parity and give United the psychological advantage going into the final third of the game.

As time wore on so the chances piled up for Grant's reinvigorated side. Frederic Piquionne's fierce 56th minute effort that crashed against the crossbar was merely an indication of what was to follow. Victor Obinna, quieter than in recent weeks but still dangerous saw an effort blocked by what appeared to be Michael Mancienne's arm.

Carlton Cole, on as a 77th minute sub for the tiring (yet excellent) Kieron Dyer fluffed a sitter having done the hard work weaving his way through a retreating Wanderers defence shortly after Dyer himself had seen an effort cleared off the line.

A winning goal seemed inevitable at that stage as the Hammers pushed on, although Green still had to be alert as gaps were inevitably left. Wolves, who came into this game on the back of four successive defeats appeared spent by their first-half efforts and rarely took advantage - so much so that for much of the second half they reverted to a 451 formation designed to protect a fragile point.

That much they managed to achieve - but only thanks to the intervention of referee Clattenburg, who, having already denied Obinna a goalscoring opportunity in the 89th minute when opting instead to pull play back for an earlier foul on Luis Boa Morte denied Piquionne by penalising him for a hand-ball that only he appeared to notice - at least, that's what the bemusement on the faces of all those around him (in both gold and claret and blue) suggested.

The point leaves West Ham bottom of the Premier League with six points from eight matches played - the same figures as today's opponents who sit a place above by virtue of a superior goal difference.

Next up for West Ham is the visit of newly-promoted Newcastle next weekend.

* Player comments courtesy of Swiss Pauli

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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Another goal gifted followed by some superb saves and some more rubbish (another couple of weak punches and a hospital pass to Da Costa). Almost amazing!

Lars Jacobsen
Got up and down well but struggled in the first half when our 433 left him exposed.

Tal Ben Haim
A bit of a fish out of water first half then more positive: it was he who flicked the ball to Piq in the handball incident.

Danny Gabbidon
Got nowhere near Doyle, allowing him to hold up the ball and set up Wolves in our half; a masterclass in how not to handle a lone striker.

Manuel Da Costa
See Gabbidon. A different story second half when one of them actually went to challenge Doyle and put him under pressure.

Scott Parker
His passing was diabolical and he only really got going when he started to run with the ball.

Mark Noble
Still a bit lightweight for the hurly-burly of the PL but his stamina is a lot better. One of the few players who could pass.

Luis Boa Morte
Doesn't quite seem to know where to put himself in a 433, but he did set up Piq's bar-breaker and improved as Wolves wilted.

Kieron Dyer
Looked lively, but not quite good enough when the big chances came his way.

Victor Obinna
Promised much but delivered little: passing, shooting and decision making poor. Lucky to get the pen.

Frederic Piquionne
Mostly useless: ran into blind alleys (including colliding with Dyer) and failed to hold up the ball. 'Scored' when pushed out wide after Cole came on.


Carlton Cole
(Replaced Dyer, 77 mins) His movement was good and he actually managed to win the odd header. Disappointingly fluffed his shot after some juggling created the chance. Almost Amazing #2.

Marek Stech
Did not play.

Herita Ilunga
Did not play.

James Tomkins
Did not play.

Julien Faubert
Did not play.

Valon Behrami
Did not play.

Benni McCarthy
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Robert Green, Lars Jacobsen, Tal Ben Haim, Danny Gabbidon, Manuel Da Costa, Scott Parker, Mark Noble, Luis Boa Morte, Kieron Dyer, Victor Obinna, Frederic Piquionne.

Goals: Mark Noble 53                  .

Booked: Frederic Piquionne 90          .

Sent off: None.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hahnemann, Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Mancienne, Jones, Edwards, Jarvis, Fletcher, Doyle.

Subs not used: Hennessey, Elokobi, Milijas, Bent.

Goals: Jarvis (10).

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Attendance: 28,582.

Man of the Match: Robert Green.