West Ham United 1-1 Doncaster Rovers
Saturday, 10th March 2012
by Daniel Prescott
The fact that the chorus of boos for the home side far outrung those directed at arch nemesis El Hadji Diouf tells you exactly what you need to know about the game. It was bad, yet again...After 22 seconds you'd have been forgiven for thinking that West Ham were going to finally give the home faithful something to celebrate. Ricardo Vaz Te was on the end of a defence splitting pass which saw him beat the defender for strength and roll the ball past the on-coming keeper and in the net.
However, as the fans celebrated a potential change in fortunes, referee Andy D?EUR(TM)Urso had other ideas as he disallowed the goal, deeming Vaz Te's display of strength to be a foul.
But the attacks kept coming, and for once the home side actually looked like they were going to make their possession count. Tomkins headed over from a Mark Noble header and Carlton Cole rattled the away side?EUR(TM)s crossbar after some neat play from the wing (although maybe the striker should have done better).
Luckily for Cole, it didn't matter; a corner in from Noble caused the ball to move around the box in a pinball-esque manner and as it finally settled down, Nolan lashed it in from close range.
Although the Hammers managed to cling on to the majority of possession the clear-cut chances soon dried up, and Doncaster almost went level on the half-hour mark. Only a top-drawer save from the ever-reliable Rob Green left Allardyce?EUR(TM)s men leaving the field with a narrow adavntage come half time.
However the early goal did nothing for the players?EUR(TM) confidence as cracks yet again started to appear, along with the frustration. Four minutes into the second half came another clear cut opportunity for Donny; a ball from the left side saw Giles Barnes unmarked but the ever-lively midfielder spurned his chance as he glanced the ball hide and wide.
Still, the inevitability of an equaliser was felt around the ground - and sure enough the goal came; Coppinger scoring from just a few yards out with 15 minutes left on the clock, after a scrappy melee in the box saw Gillet lay off the Donny striker after the ball had eluded Tomkins.
Once the visitors had equalised, West Ham never really looked like winning. In fact, it was Doncaster who provided the biggest threat. That old 'character' Diouf should have left Upton Park knowing that he'd given the relegation candidates all three points; the only thing that stopped him was Robert Green , yet again, as he pulled off a game-saving stop with just minutes to go that meant that the spoils at Upton Park were shared.
For the third week in succession...
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Player RatingsRobert Green
The only thing that stood between Doncaster and three points.
Not surprising that he had a quiet game considering he was one of many played out of position.
It was no surprise that he was unaffected, considering he was yet another player played out of position. Could have won it with the last kick of the game
No big errors, yet the sloppy goals keep going in.
Solid enough, but yet again the defence leaked an unnecessary goal.
Quiet game from Noble, seemed to shine brighter when Nolan was out of his way.
Scored the goal, but that was about it.
Seemed to understand big Sam's tactics about us much as we did.
An under-21 international, apparently...
Ricardo Vaz Te
One of the bright sparks in the game until he was robbed of injury.
Hit the bar but should have done better, that was about it.
(Replaced Vaz Te, 25)
Came on for the injured Vaz Te and was another played forced into an unfavourable position.
Gary O Neil
(Replaced Lansbury, 57)
Came on for Henri Lansbury and was just as ineffective as the man he replaced.
(Replaced Nolan, 80)
Damage was already done when he graced the field, no impact.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Robert Green, George McCartney, Matt Taylor, James Tomkins, Abdoulaye Faye, Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Jack Collison, Henri Lansbury, Ricardo Vaz Te, Carlton Cole.
Goals: Kevin Nolan 8 .
Sent off: None.
Doncaster Rovers: Carl Ikeme, Pascal Chimbonda, Shelton Martis, Habib Beye, Tommy Spurr, Kyle Bennett, Giles Barnes, Simon Gillett, James Coppinger, El-Hadji Diouf, Mamadou Bagayoko.
Subs not used: Fabien Robert, Herita Ilunga, James Hayter.
Goals: James Coppinger (73).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Andy D Urso.
Man of the Match: Robert Green.