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Match Report: Burnley 2-2 West Ham (West Ham Fan's Perspective)

Sunday 25th March 2012
West Ham picked up a fifth successive draw, in a game that in hindsight they will feel they ought to have won. With Southampton and Reading both picking up wins, the gap is now four points between the Hammers and automatic promotion.

The game started brightly for the away side. Within the first ten minutes Carlton Cole got an opportunity to take the lead. Kevin Nolan played a great through ball to the striker, who went on to round the keeper, but being off balance and with defenders hot on his heels, the striker lost balance and scuffed his left foot shot wide by quite a distance.

After the first 20 minutes West Ham were controlling the play and would have been very happy with their start. However, as has been the story so often lately, the team gave away a sloppy goal when they looked on top. Marvin Bartley dribbled past central defender James Tomkins with too much ease, before slotting home with Rob Green unable to get a strong enough hand to keep the shot out.

Even with Burnley taking the lead, the momentum in the game didn't change. West Ham still continued to dominate possession and create the better chances. Nolan had a header disallowed for an alleged push on David Edgar, the Burnley centre-back, before Cole and Nolan both missed chances in a goalmouth scramble in which they should have really scored.

Midway through the first half, Burnley found glory once more. Again poor defending and again completely against the run of a play, Burnley's left-back Ben Mee swung in a cross which striker Martin Paterson managed to get a knee to ahead of Danny Collins, to give the home side a 2-0 lead.

West Ham heads seemed to drop, and at that moment it felt they were done and dusted. But midway through the second half, the visitors found a breakthrough. A hesitation from Burnley's other centre-back Michael Duff gave Nolan a chance to get in and lob stranded keeper Lee Grant to halve the lead. Suddenly the Hammers had hope, and a little belief in themselves again.

Within minutes they were level. A free-kick from Mark Noble was flicked on by substitute Nicky Maynard and fell to Tomkins who volleyed in accurately.

After the goals, it was all West Ham. A few half chances were created, the best falling to Sam Baldock and Maynard. But without a deciding clinical touch the game fell into the fifth straight draw on the trot for the Hammers.

West Ham are left with a huge week ahead, in a week that may define their season. If the side beat Peterborough mid-week and beat Reading on Saturday at home, then they will be back in the automatic positions to go directly into the Premier League.

But it's a big if, and the club needs to be attacking and go into these games with confidence. Perhaps the comeback at Burnley will inspire them, but with Southampton and Reading both winning on a day where the Irons should have, the pressure is well and truly on.
Alex Simpson

Total articles: 6

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