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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
1 January 2014
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 25335
S. Sidwell 32'
D. Berbatov 66'
West Ham United
M. Diamé 7'
That's it for me today guys and girls. I hope you enjoyed today's LIVE coverage from Craven Cottage. I'm Alex Moretto, and I'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Good bye!
FULL TIME: FULHAM 2-1 WEST HAM. The hosts hold off a late push from the Hammers to earn themselves a huge three points, that lifts them ahead of Crystal Palace and out of the relegation zone. West Ham remain in 19th, but they continue to fall further behind the teams they have to catch. Fulham took over the match after falling behind 1-0 early on, and Sidwell's goal really tilted the match in their favor. A Kevin Nolan red card really proved too much to overcome for West Ham, as the ultimate opportunist Dimitar Berbatov finally beat a superb Jussi Jaaskelainen to give Fulham their second win in three matches.
90' + 4'
That is indeed it, as the final whistle sounds! It's a massive three points for Fulham, while West Ham will be left to dwell upon what went wrong.
90' + 3'
DOWNING COMES CLOSE!! The corner is cleared right to Downing, but he gets a weak effort off, and it's headed by Demel just wide of the post. That might be it for West Ham. Nervy moments for Fulham.
90' + 2'
Senderos makes a silly challenge after failing to clear his lines, and Taylor's free kick is behind for another West Ham corner!!
90' + 1'
Nothing comes of the corner, but West Ham keep possession. Everyone forward for the Hammers now as they desperately search for the equalizer!
90' + 1'
Downing is picked out now and he drives at the Fulham defence, getting a shot off. It takes a slight deflection and West Ham win themselves a corner.
Into stoppage time now, as the assistant referee had indicated there will be four added minutes.
West Ham can't get a touch on the ball here. Fulham keeping it very well, as Riether wins them another corner!
Fulham have won themselves a corner, but they are in no rush to take it. They play it short, and it's laid off for Kasami who has his effort turned behind for another corner.
The crowd at Craven Cottage is becoming a little uneasy as their team appears to have no intention to play on the attack. They give away possession and now West Ham have a chance to push forward.
Fulham taking a negative approach now, electing to try and keep possession as opposed to searching for a third. Dangerous tactics from the Cottagers, as one giveaway can see West Ham snatch an equalizer.
Into the last 10 minutes now, and West Ham have been able to turn the tides a bit. Fulham at the moment have lost their luster a little bit. They really shouldn't turn to trying to defend this lead, but continue to press in search of a third. West Ham had no answers when Fulham were pressing.
Yellow Card Amorebieta
Cole is picked out again, and Amorebieta is forced to take him down resulting in a yellow card for the Fulham defender.
Much better from West Ham! Taylor breaks in from the flank and sends a ball in for Cole, but Stockdale dives out with soft hands to collect. It was a vital intervention, or Cole would have had himself an easy tap-in.
West Ham really have to commit a few men forward. They're defending a one goal deficit at the moment. Every time they regain possession, it's sent up to Cole who has no one around him. It's far too easy for Fulham at the moment. They have the league's worst defence, and Allardyce needs to do what he can to test them.
NEARLY A THIRD FOR FULHAM!! Bent finds space for a run between the two center backs, and is sent in all alone. His right footed effort is stopped wonderfully by Jaaskelainen, who has done everything he can to keep the Hammers in this game!
Yellow Card D. Berbatov
BAD TACKLE! It could have been worst for Berbatov as he gives the ball away and lazily takes down the opposing player. Yellow is fair, but it's a silly challenge from the Bulgarian who hardly wants to help West Ham here.
West Ham bring on a striker of their own, as Carlton Cole comes on for Modibo Maiga, who hardly had an impact on this one.
Another substitution for Fulham now, as it appears they want another! Adel Taarabt, who has been great for the Cottagers today, gives way to journeyman Darren Bent.
Assist Scott Parker
Goal D. Berbatov
GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!! Fulham finally have a second! Kacaniklic sends in a low cross that's misplayed by Parker, but rather fortunately for him rolls right into the feet of Berbatov, who has an easy tap in at the far post. Nothing the goalkeeper could do there!
Sidwell again gets a shot off from distance but it's straight at Jaaskelainen!
The free kick is hit straight into the wall and goes behind for a corner.
APPEALS FOR A PENALTY!! Duff is toppled over from behind, but Mark Clattenburg says the foul occurred just on the edge of the box. It looked close, but no penalty says the referee.
Yellow Card R. Raţ
INCREDIBLE SAVE FROM JAASKELAINEN!! Taarabt is left wide alone at the far post as the ball is crossed in, but his header is turned aside by a sprawling Jaaskelainen! It's an incredible save, and Taarabt sends his follow up wide.
Berbatov does well to shield off a defender and set up Sidwell now, but his shot is deflected wide!
Yellow Card Guy Demel
DUFF! Fulham work the ball into the box well, and after Berbatov is toppled over inside the box, it falls for Duff but his effort is saved well by Jaaskelainen. The Cottagers can't beat the Finnish goalkeeper at the moment!
A substitution for Fulham as well, who look to add some more attacking flare. It's Alexander Kacaniklic on for Kieran Richardson.
A change coming for West Ham now, who bring on Stewart Downing for the goalscorer, Diame.
STAT ATTACK: The Hammers currently have one point fewer (15) than they did at this stage of the 2010-11 season, the year they were last relegated from the Premier League.
Riether breaks in easily off the short pass from the corner, and pulls it back for Duff in space. The midfielder sends his effort over the bar, however, and West Ham escape momentarily.
Fulham have looked like finding a second early on here, and West Ham are now forced to play with ten-men behind the ball. The Cottagers continue to press and have won themselves another corner.
Riether sends in another great cross that McCartney just gets a head too. It creates an awkward situation for Jaaskelainen, but he does well to collect it before Berbatov can get there.
Parker has a go now from outside the box, but it's straight at Jaaskelainen. West Ham look to be in a lot of trouble at the moment.
RIISE! The left back has two chances from close-range, but Jaaskelainen is up to the task. Fulham have come out full of belief to start this second half.
The second half is underway. Will Fulham make the most of their man advantage, or will West Ham hang tough and salvage something from this match? We'll find out soon enough!
Fulham generated plenty of chances in the first half, and with the game there for the taking, they will have to be sure not to be over-zealous in the second 45. They still have the league's worst defence, and must not leave themselves exposed at the back, giving West Ham a route back into this game.
HALF TIME: FULHAM 1-1 WEST HAM. After an unnerving start from the hosts, they've done brilliantly to regain control of the match. A Diame goal put the visitors ahead early on, but Meulensteen's men have taken over. Sidwell's goal pulled them level, and they will be surprised not to have taken the lead shortly after. A dreadful red card to Kevin Nolan has Fulham in great position to take a full three points from this match. Allardyce has his work cut out for him at the break, and West Ham will have to be wary of letting this one get away from them.
45' + 1'
The red card has really changed the tide of the match. Noble already off injured, and now Nolan sent off. West Ham need to get to half and regroup. It's been a horrid last 20 minutes from the Hammers.
Red Card Kevin Nolan
RED CARD!! WEST HAM DOWN TO 10 MEN!! It's gone from bad to worse for the Hammers. Kevin Nolan is sent off for an incident off-the-ball. The veteran gets frustrated with Fernando Amorebieta and loses his composure. He lays into the back of the defender, and kicks at his legs. Horrible discipline from the 31-year-old.
West Ham break, and Maiga gets it on the edge of the box. He has no one is support and is forced to try and take on three defenders. The Hammers have to start committing more men on the attack, as to expose this Fulham defence.
Another corner for Fulham, this time Senderos gets on the end of it and directs it towards goal. It's cleared again, but Fulham are proving awfully dangerous from these corners in the first half.
Ugly tackle as Taylor clips Taarabt from behind. There's no intent in the tackle, and Clattenburg elects to only give him a warning.
West Ham have really lost control of the match after starting so well. Fulham are enjoying lengthy spells of possession, and are making the most of it here. The crowd at Craven Cottage is getting mighty loud!
TAARABT HITS THE POST!! Less than a minute later and Fulham nearly have a second! Richardson breaks in clear on the left but his cross can't find anyone. It comes out for Taarabt though, who has a go from the edge of the box, but his effort is low and off the post. He had Jaaskelainen beaten!
Assist Damien Duff
Uh-oh, trouble here for West Ham. Fulham will have to wait to take the corner as Noble is down and appears to have suffered something of a calf strain here. He will be forced out of the match, which is hardly an encouraging sign for West Ham fans. Rat is on to replace him.
Goal Steve Sidwell
GOAAAAAAAAAAAL!! The corner is finally taken and Steve Sidwell completely beats his marker, McCartney, and heads straight to the ground, past Jaaskelainen. We're all level at the Cottage!!
Parker is really starting to take over for Fulham. He's controlling the midfield and distributing the ball well. His pass now has won the Cottagers another corner.
GOAL-LINE CLEARANCE! Amorebieta wins the header and has Jaaskelainen beat, but Maiga makes a clearance off the line. Not enough pace on the header to trouble the striker, but it's much better here from Fulham.
Fulham springing to life now! Lovely bit of skill by Scott Parker as he dribbles by two defenders in the box and wins the Cottagers a corner.
BERBATOV!! The Bulgarian goes for the spectacular, but his bicycle kick doesn't have enough pace and Jaaskelainen is able to make a fine stop. Clever that, from Berbatov.
Taarabt has a go now as Fulham break the other way, but a lack of support forces a shot from 20 yards out that's stopped easily by Jaaskelainen.
FANTASTIC SAVE BY STOCKDALE!! Another giveaway at the back, this time by Senderos, puts West Ham straight in on goal. Diame's cross is met by Nolan, but his header is turned aside by Stockdale. It really should have been 2-0, Nolan will be kicking himself for not scoring there.
After a cracking start, the pace has slowed a bit as both teams begin to settle into the match. West Ham prove to be the benefactors of that lively start.
STAT ATTACK: In November's 3-0 loss at West Ham, Fulham were held without a single shot on target
West Ham string a few passes together outside the box, and they find a way through easily. Maiga is ruled to be offside, however, but it just goes to show how easily Fulham can be broken down at the back.
RIISE!! The Norwegian hits a great strike from distance, but it flies just a yard or two wide of the far post. He's certainly capable of scoring those as he has done so many times in his illustrious career.
Taarabt hits it straight at O'Brien and its loops into the air and easily into the hands of the Finnish goalkeeper.
Diarra and Parker collide now, and Fulham have a free kick from about 20 yards out. With the winds, this could be trouble for Jaaskelainen.
Another corner for West Ham, as Fulham can't deal with another ball into the box. The league's worst defence hasn't gotten off to a good start here today.
Unbelievable end to end stuff early on here at the Cottage. Both teams look very suspect in defence, which has made for some entertaining football in the first ten minutes.
And now a corner for West Ham off another long kick by Jaaskelainen. Fulham look very uneasy at the back, which could spell trouble here today.
Assist Jussi Jaaskelainen
Goal Mohamed Diame
GOAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!! West Ham out of nothing, have taken a lead through Diame!! Jaaskelainen takes a long free kick, which isn't dealt with properly by Senderos, and Diame collects and slots home with a nice right footed shot! End to end stuff here early on at the Cottage.
Again it's Berbatov, this time played in clean by Richardson, but he's judged to be just offside.
Now West Ham break the other way and Nolan is sent in clean to the left side of the goal, but he scuffs his shot and it's collected easily by Stockdale.
Riether sends in a brilliant cross to Berbatov who sends his touch over the bar. He's ruled offside anyway so it wouldn't have counted.
Berbatov does look to be running a little gingerly in the early moments here. Fulham will be hoping it's simply a bit of stiffness that will work itself out.
Lovely start from Fulham as they are currently enjoying a nice spell of possession, with Berbatov and Duff linking up to apply some pressure on the West Ham back four.
Mark Clattenburg blows the whistle and we're underway at Craven Cottage!
The players are out of the tunnel and the match is about set to kick-off. It's 18 v 19 in the table, with a possible six point swing on the cards today. Could we be in for a lot of goals?
STAT ATTACK: In the last three meetings between the two teams at Craven Cottage, there has been an astounding 13 goals scored (3-1 and 3-2 wins for Fulham and a 3-1 win for West Ham)
Allardyce has instilled a quite a few changes to his side as well, after being forced to settle for a 3-3 draw home to the Baggies in their final match of 2013. Tomkins and Rat are removed from the back four in favor of Diarra and Demel, while Collison and Taylor start on the wings in place of Joe Cole and Matt Jarvis. Maiga returns as the lone striker, with the ageing Carlton Cole forced to the substitutes bench.
WEST HAM XI (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Diarra, McCartney, O'Brien; Collison, Noble, Nolan, Diame, Taylor; Maiga. SUBS: Adrian, C. Cole, J. Cole, Downing, Jarvis, Potts, Rat.
An astounding, but perhaps necessary, seven changes to Rene Meulensteen's team today, after their 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Hull on Saturday. Scott Parker returns to the team in place of Karagounis, while Zverotic, Hughes, Dejagah, Kasami, Ruiz and Rodallega all find themselves out of the starting XI.
FULHAM XI (4-4-2): Stockdale; Riether, Amorebieta, Senderos, Riise; Duff, Parker, Sidwell, Richardson; Taarabt, Berbatov. SUBS: Bent, Bettinelli, Dejagah, Dembele, Hughes, Kacaniklic, Kasami
The teams have been announced, so let's have ourselves a look at today's starting line-ups:
The clubs surrounding the Hammers at the bottom of the table have all parted ways with their coaches during the first half of the season, however, and have since noticed some improved results, which is hardly an encouraging sign for Allardyce.
On the east side of London, Sam Allardyce can't be feeling too safe at the moment. West Ham blew 1-0 and 3-2 leads at home to West Brom on Saturday, and now have just one win in their last 12 league fixtures. In all likelihood, Big Sam won't be fired, as he has dealt with a rash of injuries to his team thus far, but three wins from 19 games is an easy way to find yourself in the bottom three at the end of the season.
Fulham are also conceding goals at an alarming rate this season. Their 41 goals against and -22 goal differential are both worst in the league. Perhaps a visit from West Ham, who have averaged less than a goal a game through the first half of the season, is exactly what they needed to get back on track.
This is a crucial game for Fulham. If they want to have any hope of staying up, they have to beat teams like West Ham at the Cottage. Allowing other bottom of the table clubs to leave west London with points is a definite recipe for disaster. West Brom and Cardiff have already taken points at Craven Cottage, and Fulham have lost an alarming six games at home already this season. We are just half way through league play, but this has the feel of a must win game for Rene Meulensteen's side.
Happy New Year Premiership fans around the world, and welcome to today's massive bottom of the table clash between West Ham and Fulham at Craven Cottage. I'm Alex Moretto and I'll be your in-game host, guiding you through the match LIVE as it happens!
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