Hammers hopes are hit: Match Review

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Football News

West Ham began a new era of hope at Upton Park with the same old problems after a goalless draw against Blackburn.

The Hammers - playing in front of co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold for the first time at the Boleyn Ground since their successful takeover - had plenty of possession but lacked a cutting edge in attack even after the second-half introduction of fit-again England striker Carlton Cole.

Indeed, the relegation battlers could have found themselves behind just before the break when Morten Gamst Pedersen's 25-yard free-kick crashed against the crossbar and then substitute Jason Roberts failed to beat Robert Green when clean through with 15 minutes left.

Sullivan and Gold have been working hard to bring in new talent ahead of Monday's transfer deadline, with a deal for Rovers striker Benni McCarthy expected to be concluded shortly - something on this afternoon's evidence which cannot come soon enough.

The Hammers started the day out of the relegation zone only on goal difference and faced a Rovers side who had won back-to-back league games despite their Carling Cup semi-final defeat to Aston Villa.

However, the hosts slowly built some pressure, with Valon Behrami almost getting on the end of a decent cross by Alessandro Diamanti from the left channel.

Christopher Samba diverted a dangerous ball into the six-yard box from the right wing behind as West Ham pressed again.

Jack Collison and Behrami then got in each other's way as a loose ball presented itself just inside the 18-yard area.

The home side continued to have the better possession, but lacked a decisive pass.

In a rare moment of action at the other end, Nikola Kalinic went down under pressure from Jonathan Spector, but referee Peter Walton waved away half-hearted penalty appeals.

West Ham had another chance to send the ball into the Rovers danger area when Ryan Nelson fouled Behrami wide on the right channel.

Diamanti whipped the free-kick goalwards and Paul Robinson punched clear at his near post.

After 35 minutes, an inswinging corner from Pedersen had Hammers goalkeeper Green backpedalling to tip the ball over.

Just before half-time, Rovers came within inches of going ahead.

Behrami tripped Pedersen around 25 yards out.

The midfielder took the shot himself and was unfortunate to see his effort crash off the crossbar with Green beaten.

There was little action in the opening exchanges of the second half, and just before the hour mark, West Ham made a change when Cole - returning for the first time since November following a knee injury - replaced Radoslav Kovac.

The visitors had a chance to deliver a decent ball into the West Ham box after Julien Faubert brought down Kalinic.

Pedersen, though, failed to clear the wall, and eventually Pascal Chimbonda drilled his angled shot well wide.

The introduction of Cole gave the Hammers fresh impetus, and they forced a succession of corners, but yet again they came to nothing.

Rovers injected some fresh legs into their attack as Roberts replaced Kalinic, before Green pushed Pedersen's goal-bound drive away and Cole was back to clear Gael Givet's shot off the line after it appeared to hit Mark Noble on the arm.

The substitute should have beaten Green when shrugging off James Tomkins just inside the penalty area, only to then, 12 yards out, shoot too close to the England goalkeeper.

At the other end, Robinson tipped Diamanti's 25-yard free-kick over.

Substitute Scott Parker rolled the ball across the six-yard box, but there was no-one on hand for what would have been a tap in.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Morten Gamst Pedersen
Carlton Cole
Jonathan Spector
Julien Faubert
Scott Parker
Blackburn Rovers
Paul Robinson
League Cup
Valon Behrami
Gael Givet
James Tomkins
Christopher Samba
Mark Noble
Jack Collison
Radoslav Kovac
Aston Villa
Robert Green
West Ham United
Jason Roberts
Pascal Chimbonda
Paul Robinson

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