Bolton bogey strikes again
West Ham United 1 Bolton Wanderers 2 WEST HAM plunged back into the relegation dogfight after they were taught a harsh lesson by fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers. It was the third time this season that Bolton have beaten the Hammers and this result w
West Ham United 1 Bolton Wanderers 2
WEST HAM plunged back into the relegation dogfight after they were taught a harsh lesson by fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers.
It was the third time this season that Bolton have beaten the Hammers and this result was never really in doubt after a first-half horror show by West Ham that saw them gift the visitors two goals.
With almost their first touch of the game, Bolton grabbed the lead. Lee Chung-Yong crossed from the right and Kevin Davies, so often the nemesis for West Ham rose easily above Julien Faubert to head home.
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Johan Elmander forced a decent save from Robert Green at his near post after he latched on to Gretar Steinsson's long throw, and then on 16 minutes it was 2-0.
This time James Tomkins allowed Davies to get a boot in and stop the ball going off for a goal kick. His pass was nodded down by Elmander and Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere was there to score from close range.
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West Ham's hesitant defence were allowing Elmander and Davies to look like world beaters and they could have added to their lead before the break.
First Elmander beat two defenders and forced a good save from Green, then Tomkins and Green got into a mess and Elmander hit the side-netting when he should have done better.
West Ham did have their moments. Scott Parker put Carlton Cole away, but he hesitated and allowed Sam Ricketts to get back and make a decisive tackle; Alessandro Diamanti hit the roof of the net with one free kick and then forced a good save from Jussi Jaaskelainen with another, while Guillermo Franco's follow-up was also frantically palmed away by the keeper.
Right on half time, Diamanti's shot was deflected into the area where an almighty scramble ensued. Paul Robinson headed the ball towards his own net, but Zat Knight was equal to the task and cleared it off the line.
Kieron Dyer replaced the injured Faubert early in the second half and within a minute had a chance to score when Cole nodded in into his half only for the midfielder to lift his shot over the bar.
West Ham continued to press, but at no time did their attacks look as if they were going to make the breakthrough.
Diamanti fired wide from 25-yards; Parker got on the end of a long ball and teed up Franco who shot woefully over, while West Ham were given another boost when Tamir Cohen was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Parker.
It left Bolton with 27 minutes to play with 10 men, but in truth, it was only in the final few minutes that they looked like losing their grip on the game.
Substitute Junior Stanislas tried his luck with a free kick which dipped just over the bar, while Diamanti and Mido were busy arguing about who was going to take it.
Then with two minutes left, Diamanti cut in from the right and hit a superb curling shot into the far corner to give West Ham a glimmer of hope.
Five minutes of injury time spurred that hope, but Bolton almost made it irrelevant when Knight made a storming forward run and crossed for Davies, only for the striker's poked shot to hit the bar.
A minute later and the drama was at the other end. Diamanti's cross was cleared only as far as Stanislas and the young winger chested it down before firing in a shot that rattled the crossbar.
It was West Ham's last chance and in truth, they didn't really deserve to get anything from the game.
With trips to Chelsea and Arsenal to come next, West Ham were looking for a result in this game, but now the pressure is back on for Gianfranco Zola and his fragile team.
West Ham: Green, Faubert (Dyer 47), Spector, Upson, Tomkins, Behrami, Parker, Kovac (Stanislas 76), Diamanti, Franco (Mido 67), Cole. Unused subs: Stech, Ilan, Da Costa, Daprela.
Referee: Lee Probert.