West Ham 1 Bolton 3
West Ham started quiet slowly and Bolton had three good early chances to take the lead. As early as the 2nd minute Elmander shot just wide from just inside the penalty area. In the 9th minute Lee volleyed wide from 10 yards and in the 12th minute Elmander had a shot blocked by Upson.
They might have started slowly but after 15 minutes West Ham began to start playing their best football for a long time and in the end dominated the half. Their dominance should have been rewarded with a goal when in the 32nd minute Cole was barged over in the penalty area by Steinsson for a clear penalty.
Unfortunately Cole grabbed the ball and insisted on taking it. His weak penalty kick was fairly easy for Jaaskelainen to save diving to his right. It wasn't the last time that Jaaskelainen was to keep Bolton in the game. West Ham's best chance from free play came in the 43rd minute when Parker played Dyer free in the area. Dyer shot first time but Jaaskelainen just managed to get a hand to the ball to knock it onto the post and out for a corner.
Cole had another chance a minute later when he received the ball wide right of the goal, tight to the byline, but his shot fired across the six yard box and wide. Earlier, in the 35th minute, Jaaskelainen made another great save diving to his right to save from Cole.
West Ham created a number of other chances in the first half and had to consider themselves very unlucky not to go into the break at least a goal up.
Three minutes into the second half Bolton pumped a long ball forward, Upson and Davies chased after the ball, resulting in Upson scoring an own goal with a diving header from 7 yards. Upson also got a kick in the face from Davies in the process. Reid then had to be brought on to replace the injured Upson.
In the 58th minute Reid headed goalwards from 10 yards but straight at Jaaskelainen. Two minutes later and Piquionne rose for a corner only to see his header from 7 yards blocked on the line.
Then with West Ham looking the most likely to get the next goal Bolton again broke forward. In the 68th minute Lee crossed from the right wing for Elmander to head in from 10 yards.
Piquionne had a good chance in the 71st minute but shot over from 9 yards. In the 77th minute McCarthy came on for Dyer (uninjured I think). In the 78th minute Parker shot over from 4 yards but was deemed to have been fouled in the process of shooting. This time Noble took the penalty and put it into the right corner of the net with Jaaskelainen diving the wrong way.
In the 82nd minute Gabbidon fired well over from 20 yards. In the 84th minute Bolton again pumped the ball long into the box. West Ham once again failed to clear their lines and Elmander fired the ball in from 7 yards.
This was a very strange match that West Ham should have had wrapped up in the first half. The game turned on two key incidents. The first was Cole's insistence on taking the first penalty and the second was the ref's decision to allow Bolton's first goal when Upson was clearly kicked in the face. The ref could so easily have disallowed the goal for a foul.
However despite some good play, for long periods in this game West Ham's frailties were once again exposed. The defence really seems to struggle against crosses and long balls and up front we lack composure in front of goal.
Did I say it was going to be a long hard season ...