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Coleman happy with 6th draw

last updated Saturday 13th January 2007, 7:57 PM
Fulham boss Chris Coleman
Fulham boss Chris Coleman

Fulham boss Chris Coleman saw his side record their sixth consecutive draw and said: 'It was a typical derby and if we had come away with nothing it would have been an injustice.'

Fulham scored a lucky opener when Heidar Helguson's header went in off Tomasz Radzinski's shin and Christanval's point-saver came when the game should have been over after Yossi Benayoun's double either side of the interval.

Benayoun also protected West Ham's 2-1 lead with a clearance under his own bar.

But Coleman pointed out: 'I thought the ball was over the line from Brian McBride's shot. And there could have been a penalty for one on (Vincenzo) Montella - even if it was accidental.

'I don't know if it was right to send off Zamora. I'd like to see it again but if Nigel Reo-Coker had not already been booked he would have got another yellow for a foul on McBride.

'There were challenges going in all day long. It was a London derby after all for God's sake and surely the officials realised that.

'I didn't think the linesmen helped the referee very much. They have to take their share of any criticism. Big strong guys like McBride and Helguson are coming off battered and lucky to get one free-kick in their favour.

'Sometimes we got bad decisions just as West Ham did and I'm not saying I want to see players sent off but those are the rules.

'We found it harder against 10 men because they got men behind the ball. Maybe we would have won against nine men but then again Christanval's early challenge on Tevez might have been a bit heavy. So it wasn't all one-way.'

"We knew it was going to be a difficult game, it always is, but it also a great place to come and play football, the atmosphere is fantastic, the pitch is nice we were looking forward to it.

"We've had eight or nine London derbies and we've lost one so the guys are going very well."

Coleman also felt The Cottagers defending up to required standards.

"We didn't defend like we should be defending," he said. "We said if West Ham are going to score make sure they work hard for their goals but I don't think they worked hard for their goals. I think we gave them their goals and that was disappointing.

"But we battled back and showed great determination and Phillipe's got a great equaliser in the last minute. I don't think I've ever seen him that excited."

The result helped Fulham to stay solid mid-table and the Fulham boss explained how he was doing it.

"We're not doing anything fancy, it's not rocket science," he added.

"We're playing a 4-4-2 formation, we've got lots of legs in the team but mostly there is a lot of enthusiasm and we work hard for each other, that's why we are not getting beat.

"We're 12th, we're nine points ahead of West Ham and a couple of points away from the top ten.

"The next game is against Tottenham at home and that's going to be a big one as if we can manage three points we'll be into the top ten, but we're going to need more of what we had today in terms of our resilience."

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley ranted at referee Graham Poll after the Hertfordshire official's decisions contributed to two more dropped points at Upton Park.

Curbishley, who had seen Bobby Zamora sent off and Fulham`s Philippe Christanval score a contentious late equaliser after earlier dodging a red card, said: 'I thought at the time it was a clear foul by Moritz Volz on Christian Dailly just before Fulham's final equaliser. I've seen it again and it is.

'We were 2-1 and 3-2 up after falling behind and losing two more injured players and now this draw feels more like another defeat.'

Fulham centre-half Christanval might have been sent off after just six minutes when pulling down Carlos Tevez on his way to goal.

But it was French defender's strike in the fourth minute of stoppage time which kept West Ham in the bottom three and left their new boss with just one win - over Manchester United - in his first six Premiership matches in charge.

He saw substitute striker Zamora, on in place of injured Tevez, sent off for a second yellow card in the 74th minute after scoring his first goal in 19 games to equalise in the first half. Eight other players were booked in a feisty London derby.

But West Ham fans were far more angry with Poll than was Curbishley who said: 'Bobby might look at it again and decide it wasn't worth the tackle that got him sent off.'

Curbishley was still mystified where Poll found more than five minutes of stoppage-time at the end but was more concerned with the fitness of his side.

He said: 'We were without Anton Ferdinand and that's three or four times he's been out this season. We've lost (Danny) Gabbidon again and James Collins as well. That is at least three times he's been injured this season and I think it may go back to pre-season with some of these players.

'Although we had gone down to 10 men I thought we would still get the three points. We were desperate for them after the run we have had but we looked in trouble whenever set-pieces went into our box.

'But I can have no complaints about the commitment of the team. Their heads were on the floor after the late equaliser and that is a good sign - far better than at Reading (a 6-0 defeat).'

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