Hammers report: West Ham 1 Everton 1
Hammers inch closer to safety after Toffee stalemate
WEST HAM are two points off safety after a battling 1-1 draw with Everton at Upton Park.
A Tony Hibbert first half own goal was cancelled out before the break by Seamus Coleman as both sides took a share of the spoils in east London.
Never shy to ring the changes, Avram Grant made four with two-goal hero from Sunday Carlton Cole dropping to the bench at the expense of Victor Obinna, while Luis Boa Morte replaced Junior Stanislas, Julien Faubert came in for Tal Ben Haim and Herita Ilunga was named left back.
Everton started brightly and excellent ball from Seamus Coleman played in Sylvain Distin, who panicked and shot wide when well placed.
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West Ham took the lead after 16 minutes after a James Tomkins header was not cleared and Kovac’s effort on goal was deflected past Tim Howard by Hibbert.
The game gave the Hammers confidence and Obinna should have done better inside the area and instead of playing in to an unmarked Freddie Sears, smashed an effort wide.
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Everton had looked good in possession with most of their best opportunities coming from good wide play, but with lone striker Tim Cahill often the only target in the area, the Hammers were able to repel their attacks.
The Toffees changed tact and were rewarded when four players burst into the box with Cahill picking out Coleman to slam home the equaliser.
The second half began slowly and Grant brought on Cole 10 minutes into the second period, replacing a hobbling Frederic Piquionne.
The Hammers had the first opportunity, when after 70 minutes Sears broke free and played the ball across to Cole who miscued his effort wide of the post from eight yards out.
The fluid passing and movement seen from both sides in the first 45 minutes was nowhere to be seen for most of the second 45.
The game turned scrappy as West Ham slowly took control, with Everton ill-discipline giving the hosts’ free kick opportunities which they failed to make the most of.
With 10 minutes left Everton resumed control and Robert Green was called into action to deny Marouane Fellaini from a corner with a diving stop, before Cahill rightfully had a goal ruled out after he was caught offside.
It was a good point for West Ham against a technically gifted Everton side which should set them up nicely for Wolves on Saturday knowing a win could lift them out of the bottom three for the first time this season.
West Ham: Green, Faubert, Ilunga (Spector 30), Upson, Tomkins, Boa Morte, Sears, Parker, Kovac, Obinna (Hines 85), Piquionne (Cole 55).