Sunday, April 4, 2010

Brazilian striker Araujo Ilan secured the Hammers a crucial point to away from relegation

- Bilyaletdinov 24,
- Yakubu 85

- Da Costa 60,
- Ilan 87

**West Ham United earned a valuable point after a 2-2 draw against Everton at Goodison Park moving them a point clear of the relegation zone. Second half goals from Manuel Da Costa and Araujo Ilan cancelled out a Diniyar Bilyaletdinov header in the first half and a Yakubu effort in the second to end a run of six consecutive defeats.

It looked as if the Hammers were heading for another defeat when Yakubu headed home with five minutes remaining but Ilan equalised almost straight away to earn a vital point for his side.
Everton manager David Moyes made one change from the side that drew 0-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, with Bilyaletdinov starting in place of Jack Rodwell in midfield. Mikel Arteta and Joseph Yobo both missed the game through injury along with Dan Gosling who is out for the next nine months with knee ligament damage.

After a week spent considering his future at the club, Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola was not helped by the withdrawal of Valon Behrami who picked up an injury in the warm up and was replaced by Junior Stanislas.

The only other change to the team which lost to Stoke last Saturday was Robert Kovac replacing the injury-prone Keiron Dyer in midfield. Egyptian international Mido started the game up front alongside Carlton Cole.

The opening stages of the game produced little for either set of supporters to get excited about but it was the away side who looked more threatening going forward.

Both sides were guilty of giving the ball away far too easily and the frustration of the Goodison Park crowd grew further when Leighton Baines fired a free-kick straight into the wall from the edge of the area.

After 20 minutes Hammers captain Scott Parker was booked for a lunge on Tim Cahill, ruling the tenacious midfielder out of his sides next two games, as they fight to avoid relegation.

Further bad news soon followed for West Ham after 24 minutes when Jonathan Spector failed to deal with a cross by Baines and allowed Cahill to head back across goal for Bilyaletdinov to nod home inside the six-yard box to give Everton the lead.

After the goal the Toffees began to control the game with Baines looking dangerous on the left and Steven Pienaar and Cahill linking up well around the edge of the area.

Ten minutes before the break though, West Ham were given an opportunity to get back into the game somewhat fortuitously.

Parker played a glorious ball through to Cole who raced onto the ball before being brought down by Sylvain Distin inside the box after a tangle of legs. Despite Cole being denied a clear goal scoring opportunity the Everton defender was only shown a yellow card by referee Howard Webb.

Surprisingly it was Mido who stepped up to take the penalty for West Ham but failed to strike the ball cleanly and Tim Howard got down well to his right to palm the ball away.

Everton goal scorer Bilyaletdinov began to link up well with Leon Osman and Cahill and the Russian was played in minutes before the interval cutting in from the right but blasted his shot high and wide over the bar.

West Ham began the second half with more urgency, perhaps realising the precarious situation they find themselves in. Mido was pushed further forward to support Cole who was left isolated at times in the first half.

Despite this, the Hammers failed to create any clear-cut chances with most of the game being played in the midfield.

The away side continued to press but it again looked as if luck was against them when Mark Noble's sublime chip from the edge of the area came back off the crossbar with Howard left stranded.

From the resulting corner however, West Ham got the equaliser their second half display deserved after 60 minutes. Cole won the header inside the box and Manuel Da Costa reacted quickest scooping the ball over Howard into the back of the net.

Zola's side were growing in confidence and Cole went close to giving his side the lead after a strong run by Stanislas, but the forward dragged his shot wide of the post when he should have done better.

The Hammers were almost punished for Cole's miss soon afterwards, when Louis Saha went down under a challenge from Da Costa inside the box but Webb waved away the Everton appeals when it looked a certain penalty.

With five minutes remaining Yakubu looked to have won it for Everton when he got on the end of a Baines cross from the left to head past Robert Green.

Two minutes later though and with Zola's side looking dead and buried Julien Faubert delivered a magnificent cross from the right for substitute Ilan to head past Howard and level the scores for the second time.

Both sides pressed for the winning goal late on but neither could make the breakthrough and in the end a draw was probably a fair result.

Team Line-Ups:

Everton : Tim Howard, Leighton Baines, Johnny Heitinga, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Ayegbeni Yakubu, 65), Tim Cahill, Phil Neville, Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman (Jack Rodwell, 83), Louis Saha

West Ham United : Robert Green, Matthew Upson, Jonathan Spector, Manuel Da Costa, Scott Parker, Radoslav Kovac, Mark Noble, Julien Faubert, Junior Stanislas (Danny Gabbidon, 90), Ahmed Hossam Mido (Araujo Dall'lgna Ilan, 78), Carlton Cole


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