West Ham salvages draw at Blackburn, stays bottom

BY foxsports • December 18, 2010

Junior Stanislas salvaged a 1-1 draw for bottom-place West Ham at Blackburn on Saturday, leaving the futures of both managers surrounded in uncertainty.

Ryan Nelsen put Blackburn ahead with a scrappy 51st-minute goal at the end of a week when Steve Kean was installed as temporary manager following the firing of Sam Allardyce.

But Stanislas leveled in the 78th to secure a point after back-to-back losses that have piled the pressure on manager Avram Grant.

West Ham remains bottom, two points adrift of Wolverhampton which has played a game less.

''I think we deserved three points,'' Grant said. ''We created chances, we created half-chances, we hit the post. The positives are I was very impressed by the spirit of the boys. They gave everything.

''With all the problems, needing to change the team at the last moment, we fought and we almost won.''

Blackburn is 12th in the standings and ditched Allardyce earlier this week because the new Indian owners want a manager who can take Rovers into the top four.

''We're slightly disappointed,'' Kean said. ''Getting in front, scoring the first goal, we hoped we could get two or three so the lads are disappointed. They feel as though it's points dropped rather than winning a point.

''But we were left with a very offensive team with no holding midfielder, so I suppose a point, taking all that into consideration, is not too bad.''

Staff at Ewood Park spent all morning clearing snow from the pitch and surrounding areas to ensure the game could go ahead - one of only two Premier League matches that did on Saturday.

There was clearly plenty at stake for both sides but the first half provided little to warm the freezing fans, with late efforts from Frederic Piquionne and Luis Boa Morte the only real threats.

Blackburn upped its game after the break and a short period of pressure ended with Nelsen netting.

Brett Emerton's cross caused chaos in the West Ham defense and, after Benjani Mwaruwari missed his kick from three (meters) yards out, the ball fell to Nelsen.

Ruud Boffin, who was making his West Ham debut, saved Nelsen's initial effort only for the captain to guide the ball inside the post off his thigh from the rebound.

West Ham's luck appeared to be out again when Matthew Upson's shot hit the outside of the post.

But the visitors leveled when Gael Givet ended a run from Scott Parker by diverting the ball into the path of substitute Stanislas, who sent a shot into the far corner.

Fortune was on the side of West Ham shortly afterward as David Dunn put the ball in the net only for referee Mike Dean to penalize Blackburn for foul play in the penalty area.

In a blow for Blackburn, 18-year-old defender Phil Jones in danger of missing the rest of the season after falling awkwardly in a challenge with Carlton Cole.

''He's got quite a bad knee injury, it'll probably be four or five months (out), which is terrible,'' Kean said. ''He'll have an examination in the morning and probably have surgery in the morning, too. Jason Roberts has picked up a hamstring injury. We don't think Chris Samba is as bad, it's a slight twist in his ankle.''


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