Premier League
West Ham United 1-1 Manchester United 

Sunday, 8th February 2015
by Staff Writer

West Ham were cruelly denied all three points against Manchester Utd at the Boleyn this afternoon by an equaliser deep into added-on time.

Earlier in the season United had been denied a share of the spoils at Old Trafford when Kevin Nolan's last minute effort was ruled out for offside.

And the Hammers were a matter of seconds away from inflicting what would have been a second defeat in 17 games on today's visitors before Daley Blind stole in to snatch a point, with three of the four added minutes having already been played.

Despite going into the game with just one recognised centre half, it was the stand-in for James Collins and Winston Reid who was to prove pivotal for West Ham throughout the game.

Cheik Kouyate, making his first start since returning from the African Cup of Nations with an ankle injury deputised efficiently at centre half and popped up in the opposition's penalty area to score his second goal for the Irons, four minutes into the second half, to give West Ham a lead they were to hold until the 93rd minute.

The goal came from Mark Noble's free kick, drifted into the visitors' penalty area. Kouyate, with his back to goal took the ball under control on the edge of the six-yard box before turning adroitly and firing beyond David De Gea to make it 1-0.

The goal followed a closely-fought and even first half, in which goalscoring opportunities were at a premium. Still, Enner Valencia managed to test De Gea's reflexes on 14 minutes with a fierce drive and then again a minute later, with a shinned shot from close range that required a fingertip save.

Following Kouyate's opening goal however, the tables turned as Louis Van Gaal's side began to find their range. Falcao fluffed a good chance two minutes after his side had fallen behind, firing across goal from an acute angle, but it wasn't until the final quarter-of-an-hour that Manchester began to look consistently dangerous.

The introduction of Marouane Fellaini saw the Red Devils switch to a rather more direct tactical approach. Di Maria narrowly missed the target with a 25-yard free kick before Falcao missed his side's best chance of the game, poking the ball wide of the goal with only Adrian to beat.

With just seven minutes to play, Adrian's foot intervened at the right time to deny Van Persie, whose drilled effort was heading into the far corner. As the match entered added-on time West Ham's Spanish 'keeper flung himself to his right to deny substitute Fellaini.

United must have thought they'd clung on to win the game when Rooney's free kick went straight into the wall. However Van Gaal's side had other ideas and as they worked the ball back into West Ham's box, Blind emerged to find Adrian's bottom left corner with a precise effort.

West Ham could - and probably should - have wrapped the game up prior to that point, most notably when Mark Noble has the entire goal at his mercy but failed to find the net thanks to a superb reaction save from De Gea three minutes from time.

Matt Jarvis, on as a replacement for the tiring Valencia could also perhaps done better when presented with a golden opportunity from a defensive mix-up, but could only send his header over the bar. It was the sort of chance one suspects the missing Andy Carroll would have gobbled up.

The Hammers also ended the game with a man advantage after Luke Shaw saw red for a second bookable offence, according to referee Mark Clattenburg; if anything, it was far worse than that with the England full-back going in to a 50/50 with studs showing, ankle high.

Regardless, West Ham had barely any time to make anything of their numerical superiority and the game ended a stalemate - much to the disappointment of Sam Allardyce and his whole side, who certainly deserved a whole lot more than one point from their two encounters with Manchester this season.

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Player Ratings

Adrian San Miguel del Castillo
Made a couple of decent saves, went long periods without anything to do.

Carl Jenkinson
His erroneous header may have led to Man Utd's goal (albeit he was pushed by Fellaini), but We look a better side when he's in it. Welcome back, Jenko.

Aaron Cresswell
Not quite at the races today with the odd poor cross and defensive lapse.

James Tomkins
Outsranding, as the senior partner in central defence.

Cheikhou Kouyate
Didn't look out of place next to TOmkins and watching him stride out of the back with the ball was reminiscent of Rio Ferdinand in his early days. Oh - and he scored a fairly decent goal too. MotM.

Mark Noble
Mark's best shift of 2015. He seems to come to the boil against Man Utd and today was no exception.

Alex Song
Too many passes went astray early on although he grew into the game as it wore on. Still well below the levels he showed at the start of the season though.

Kevin Nolan
His best game for some considerable time. He harried, chased, got the odd little nick and provided several simple - yet important - passes. Good to see the crowd getting behind him today, too.

Stewart Downing
Fairly anonymous, although his best moments came in the latter stages as Man U left gaps at the back.

Diafra Sakho
No lack of effort but not much of an end product today either.

Enner Valencia
Had our best chances of the first half but faded thereafter. A little indecisive at times when he needed to free the ball earlier.


Matt Jarvis
(replaced Valencia) All he'll be remembered for is the header he failed to get on target. Which is a bit unfair, as he looked lively during his brief spell on the field.

Jussi Jaaskelainen
Did not play.

Joey O Brien
Did not play.

Reece Oxford
Did not play.

Morgan Amalfitano
Did not play.

Elliot Lee
Did not play.

Carlton Cole
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Adrian San Miguel del Castillo, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell, James Tomkins, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Alex Song, Kevin Nolan, Stewart Downing, Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia.

Goals: Cheikhou Kouyate 49                  .

Booked: Alex Song  Adrian San Miguel del Castillo         .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Manchester United: .

Subs not used: .

Goals: .

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Attendance: 34,499.

Man of the Match: Cheikhou Kouyate.