Saturday, February 14, 2009

West Ham 1 Middlesbrough 1

West Ham started with just one change to the team; Boa Morte came in for the hamstrung Behrami. In the first ten minutes West Ham definitley missed Behrami's industry and Boro were able to create a couple of good chances.

The first chance fell to Johnson in the 2nd minute but his 22 yard effort flew wide of the right post. The second in the 10th minute was a Downing effort from just outside the box that just missed wide right.

The next ten minutes were all West Ham as the home side won five corners and forced three saves from the keeper. Noble had two shots saved but the best effort was from Collins. His 25 yards rasping effort was well saved at the expense of a corner.

With West Ham hammering the Boro penalty area Boro managed to break quickly in the 21st minute. The ball was crossed from deep on the right wing behind the West Ham defense. The ball found its way through to Downing running in on the far post to head the ball in from 4 yards.

In the 25th minute Di Michele teed himself up just outside the area and volleyed the ball just wide of the left hand post. In the 33rd minute Carlton Cole was forced off with an ankle injury and was replaced by Tristan.

In the 36th minute a poor Collins header led to an Alves shot from the edge of the area but the shot was weak and wide. A minute later and Boa Morte got to the touchline in the Boro box and crossed for Noble. Noble's shot from seven yards was deflected by the keeper to Collinson who then shot wide from four yards.

In the 44th minute West Ham broke quickly and the move ended with Di Michele sending Tristan free into the Boro area only for Tristan to shoot high and wide.


Not long after the second half started Boa Morte got a tap on the head and indicated to the bench he wished to be replaced. Sears came on for Boa Morte and in the 54th minute Sears had West Ham's first shot of the half from the edge of the area but the ball flew way over the bar.

In the 57th minute Alves was played clear at the edge of the West Ham box but he shot high and wide when he had players in support. Two minutes later Alves had a harder chance wide right of the penalty area and his shot flew across the box to miss wide left. Three minutes after that Alves ran at Collins and Upson and fired low from the edge of the area, forcing a save from Green.

In the 69th minute Tristan did well to beat two defenders in the Boro box but from four yards he ended up shotting weakly at the keeper. In the 71st minute, at the other end, Downing shot from 25 yards and Green just managed to save it diving to his right. A minute later and Ilunga did well to get to the byline and pull it back for Di Michele but he blazed the ball over from 8 yards when he should have scored.

In the 75th minute the ball was played into the box and fell to Sears who shot weakly from 7 yards. In the 82nd minute West Ham won a freekick on the left wing. The ball was played into the box where Ilunga headed home from six yards.

West Ham never then looked like snatching the winner. It wasn't the greatest performance by West Ham and in the end if either team had been a bit more clincal in front of goal they could have settled this tie.

Depending on TV covererage the replay is due to be played a week on Tuesday.

The only real positive out of today's game (apart from the fact we live to fight another day) is that Savio does look very promising.

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