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Fulham 0-0 West Ham: Cottagers battle onwards

last updated Saturday 23rd December 2006, 5:39 PM
Match Stats Fulham West Ham
Goals 0 0
Possession 51% 49%
Goal attempts 13 13
On Target 7 4
Corners 2 7
Off-sides 0 5
Fouls 17 17
Yellows 1 2
Reds 0 1
source: Soccernet

West Ham defender Paul Konchesky was sent off as a glut of missed chances saw a lively London derby finish goalless at Craven Cottage.

Konchesky was given his marching orders in controversial circumstances with six minutes of normal time left after bringing down Wayne Routledge just outside the area.

The Hammers defender was the last line of defence and referee Chris Foy immediately reached for the red card.

Hammers striker Marlon Harewood managed to hit the post from just six yards out to squander the best opportunity of the afternoon, although he was not the only player guilty of wasteful finishing.

Mathew Etherington saw a shot strike the crossbar before being cleared off the line by Liam Rosenior, who was also the last line of defence that kept out another Harewood effort.

Nigel Reo-Coker, Hayden Mullins and Yossi Benayoun could also have given new West Ham boss Alan Curbishley his second win since taking charge last week.

Goalkeepers Antti Niemi and Robert Green played a major role in the outcome with a string of fine saves, while up front Fulham should also have made more of their openings.

USA striker Brian McBride direct a guilt-edged chance straight at Robert Green while Tomasz Radzinski, Heidar Helguson and Moritz Volz could have broken the deadlock.

Fulham have suffered an horrendous run of injuries and a new name was added to the list today with Zat Knight withdrawing from the team with a fractured jaw following a playful clash of heads with his brother and a child yesterday.

Carlos Bocanegra replaced the England defender with midfielder Michael Brown taking the captain's armband and boss Chris Coleman had no option but to select a rookie bench with his playing resources stretched to the limit.

The game began at a frantic pace with a long ball from Konchesky finding Marlon Harewood whose turn and shot sailed just wide.

Radzinski charged towards goal a heartbeat later but was tackled by Christian Dailly, who had replaced groin-injury victim James Collins in the only change to the side that defeated Manchester United last Sunday.

Bobby Zamora went close from a tight angle and then Routledge nearly connected with a low Radzinski cross which Konchesky intercepted with immaculate timing.

The tempo of the game had slowed after the flurry of activity in the opening five minutes but play frequently switched ends with both teams enjoying promising moments.

West Ham should have taken the lead in the 17th minute when Lee Bowyer's corner found Matthew Etherington whose looping header touched the underside of the crossbar, connected with Rosenior and bounced clear.

The danger was not over, however, as the ball fell to Mullins who blasted wide and shortly after Reo-Coker skied a Harewood pass over the crossbar.

Fulham relieved the pressure with German right back Moritz Volz, starting in midfield once again, surging into the box and picking out Helguson who just failed to connect.

Jonathan Spector was booked for a badly-timed tackle on Radzinski and Robert Green was forced to make a fine save with McBride curling the free-kick to the top right corner.

Fulham stayed on the offensive with McBride heading to Helguson whose attempted bicycle kick ended with him collapsing in a heap on the ground. Harewood squandered a magnificent chance to put West Ham ahead in the 38th minute, collecting Bowyer's cross and escaping Carlos Bocanegra only to then smash his shot at the post from six yards.

Frustration got the better of Helguson when he clattered into Etherington, bringing the former Tottenham midfielder down and earning a booking in the process.

A superb pass from Routledge set up a chance for Volz in the 45th minute but the German took too many steps before shooting and Green was able to close down the space before executing the perfect tackle.

Radzinski twisted his way around Spector with some slippery work before firing a shot inches wide of the left post.

Brown and Reo-Coker had to be separated after the Hammers skipper, who has been targeted with hate mail from disgruntled fans blaming him for the departure of former boss Alan Pardew, hacked down his opposite number.

The incident served to ignite Brown, who charged through midfield and released the rampaging Radzinski with the Canadian international's precision cross finding an unmarked McBride.

But the former USA marksman, despite having time and being in the perfect position, directed his header straight at Green from 12 yards.

Fulham's defence was at panic stations in the 65th minute when a huge hole opened up for Reo-Coker who was denied by Niemi and then Rosenior cleared Harewood's follow-up just in front of the line.

Reo-Coker was booked for a stamping tackle on McBride that felled the American and shortly after Zamora was replaced with Teddy Sheringham.

A sweet pass from Harewood released substitute Yossi Benayoun but Niemi saved superbly.

Routledge charged towards goal and Konchesky lunged for the ball, initially winning it but also tripping the Fulham winger in the process.

As the last line of defence, referee Chris Foy immediately reached for the red card and after protesting his innocence with back up from most of the West Ham team, Konchesky stalked off.

Fulham could not take advantage of their numerical advantage in the short time left.

Fulham: Niemi, Rosenior, Bocanegra, Christanval, Queudrue, Radzinski, Brown, Volz, Routledge, Helguson, McBride.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Runstrom, Zakuani, Niclas Jensen, Omozusi.

Booked: Helguson (36,f).

West Ham: Green, Spector, Ferdinand, Dailly, Konchesky, Bowyer (Benayoun 59), Reo-Coker, Mullins, Etherington, Harewood (McCartney 86), Zamora (Sheringham 70).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Tevez.

Sent Off: Konchesky (85).

Booked: Spector, Reo-Coker.

Att: 22,452

Ref: C Foy (Merseyside).






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