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Premier League

  • 13 November 2010
  • • 15:00
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: K. Friend
  • • Attendance: 31194

West Ham United 0-0 Blackpool: Noose tightens around Avram Grant's neck as Hammers remain bottom

West Ham United 0-0 Blackpool: Noose tightens around Avram Grant's neck as Hammers remain bottom

Hosts have two penalty claims waved away

West Ham United and Blackpool played out a goalless draw at Upton Park as the home side continued their stay at the bottom of the Premier League.

The home side's boss Avram Grant had Carlton Cole back for this encounter, after the striker returned from a hamstring injury sustained during the encounter with West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday and was handed a spot on the bench.

Julien Faubert was available after serving a three-match suspension, but the Israeli boss chose to leave the midfielder out of the squad.

The Tangerines boss Ian Holloway recently made 10 changes to his line-up during midweek - against Aston Villa - and even threatened to quit his job in protest if the Premier League fined him for it. If that wasn't enough, he made 11 changes to his side and fielded a completely different line-up in this clash.

And so began a game, with the hosts starting the better side, amid fears that Grant may have been headed towards the chopping block if the result didn't go in favour of the Hammers.

Victor Obinna came close to scoring on a cross from Herita Ilunga, but it was only close as the scoreline remained goalless. But it was an early signal of intent as the visitors were still having some trouble settling into the game.

But it was not long before Holloway’s charges began to start playing to their strengths, as they started to weave some good attacking moves that silenced the home fans. During this time, midfielder Charlie Adam let loose a shot, only for it to be well blocked, as equilibrium was maintained.

It was a pitiable day for the injury plagued Kieron Dyer, as less than 20 minutes had passed before he had a problem and had to be replaced. Pablo Barrera came on as a substitute for the injured midfielder. His arrival created an immediate impact, as Stephen Crainey took him down as the home team cried out for a penalty. But the man in charge waved play on, in a decision that may have left the defender counting his stars.

If one controversial penalty appeal wasn't enough, a second one came when Obinna's shot on goal was blocked by defender Craig Cathcart's hand. But yet again the referee refused to point to the spot and allowed play to continue.

With Holloway bellowing instructions to his players from the sidelines, the visitors began to push forward in the hope of scoring the opener as they won corners in quick succession. But nothing came of it as both teams headed into the break with no goals to show for their efforts.

Injured goalkeeper Gilks was replaced at the break by Richard Kingson for the visitors and the Ghanaian may have conceded a goal almost immediately. However, Luis Boa Morte shot just wide after a brilliant through ball by Scott Parker.

A little under 10 minutes into the second period, Adam managed to find 'keeper Robert Green off his line, and tried to send in an outrageous shot from the halfway line. But it was unfortunate for the Blackpool midfielder, as the ball hit the top of the net and remained a harmless effort in the end.

With just over 20 minutes to go, Boa Morte was booed off as Cole managed to make his way onto the pitch having returned from a hamstring injury. His impact was immediate, as he let loose a shot that struck the post, but it was unfortunate not to go in as the ball rolled away harmlessly.

Marlon Harewood then missed a chance that should really have been put away. Crainey had sent the ball across the box to hand a gift-wrapped chance for the forward, who somehow managed to make a mess of things.

Next it was Green who rose to the rescue as Cathcart's shot produced a fantastic reaction save from the 'keeper. And as three minutes were added on, it looked like the Hammers were headed towards a third consecutive draw.

Indeed as the man in charge signalled for full-time, the home side succumbed to yet another stalemate as the Hammers now have only one victory from their 13 games this season to remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

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