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Match Report
Portsmouth vs West Ham Utd
 1 - 1 
Date: 
26/01/2010
Venue: 
Fratton Park
Attendance: 
18,322
Referee: 
Andre Marriner
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West Ham United began the David Sullivan and David Gold era with a 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at Portsmouth.

The Hammers arrived in the birthplace of the novelist Charles Dickens with great expectations of scoring a victory over the division's bottom side, and looked to be on course for three points courtesy of captain Matthew Upson's right shoulder.

There was more than a little good fortune about the England defender's third goal of the season, which arrived seven minutes after half-time. Alessandro Diamanti's corner was cleared back to the Italian, and when his right-foot cross arrived at the far post, Younes Kaboul's back-header hit Upson before looping past the stranded Asmir Begovic.

Unfortunately for joint-chairmen Mr Sullivan and Mr Gold, watching on from the Directors Box, as well as the 2,300 travelling fans huddled together in the Milton End of a freezing Fratton Park, the visitors were unable to hold onto their slender lead. Substitute Danny Webber was the villain of the piece, slotting a low shot past Robert Green with 14 minutes remaining.

The first half was a Jekyll and Hyde of a 45 minutes, with long periods of inactivity interspersed with moments of genuine excitement at both ends of the pitch.

Both goalkeepers produced superb reflex saves to keep the scoresheet blank midway through the opening stanza.

The Bosnian was the first to shine, making two fine stops in a matter of seconds to deny Frank Nouble and Diamanti. The England Under-19 striker saw his shot blocked by the legs of Begovic and, when the ball bounced out to the Italian, the goalkeeper flung himself to his right to push his shot aside.

Not to be outdone, Green was called into action 60 seconds later, plunging low to his right to keep out Aaron Mokoena's snap-shot. From the resulting corner, the excellent Mark Noble - deployed in a holding midfield role - was in the right place to clear Kaboul's volley off the line.

A breathless period of action ended when Begovic produced arguably the best save of the night to tip Jack Collison's goalbound shot inches past his far post.

The remainder of the first half passed off without major incident, save for a speculative Angelos Basinas shot that Green was able to handle with ease.

Into the second period and, with every player aware of the importance of securing three important points, the game became increasingly stretched.

While both teams showed plenty of attacking intent, clear-cut opportunities initially proved difficult to come by. When one did appear for Pompey 20 minutes from time, Kevin-Prince Boateng could only drag his shot into the side-netting from no more than 12 yards.

Having seen Noble, Basinas and Boateng all booked for mis-timed challenges, Zola sent on Carlton Cole for his first appearance since injuring his knee in the 5-3 home victory over Burnley on 28 November.

The England striker's first contribution was to fashion a shooting chance for Behrami, only for the Swiss to smash his shot over the top.

Seconds later, it was another replacement, Webber, who snatched a point for Avram Grant's side. Boateng appeared to catch Tomkins with a stray arm, but nothing was given by referee Andre Marriner. The German continued, finding John Utaka, who slid in the former Manchester United trainee to finish from 15 yards.

The closing moments of the game were increasingly fraught as both sets of players' desperation to avoid defeat became apparent.

With Green - who was forced into action late on by Webber and Utaka - standing firm through four agonising minutes of added-time, West Ham did just that, and will hope to build on their point when Blackburn Rovers visit the Boleyn Ground on Saturday afternoon.

Matthew Upson
 Match Stats
 
  Portsmouth West Ham
Goals : 1 1
Possession : 47% 53%
Shots On Target : 8 4
Shots Off Target : 6 8
Corners : 6 4
Fouls : 16 9
Most Fouls : Boateng (4) Nouble (3)
Yellow Cards : 3 1
Red Cards : 0 0
 
Scorers :
Webber 76
Upson 52
 
 Team Line Ups :
 
Asmir Begovic   
Steve Finnan   
Younes Kaboul   
Marc Wilson   
Hermann Hreidarsson   
Angelos Basinas   
Aaron Mokoena   
Hayden Mullins 64
Kevin-Prince Boateng   
Frederic Piquionne 73
John Utaka   
 
Substitutes :
 
Tal Ben Haim   
Jamie Ashdown   
Anthony Vanden Borre 64
Matt Ritchie   
Richard Hughes   
Danny Webber 73
 
 
   Rob Green
   Julien Faubert
80 James Tomkins
   Matthew Upson
   Jonathan Spector
   Jack Collison
   Radoslav Kovac
   Mark Noble
   Valon Behrami
87 Alessandro Diamanti
73 Frank Nouble
 
 
 
87 Junior Stanislas
   Marek Stech
73 Carlton Cole
   Luis Jimenez
   Freddie Sears
80 Manuel da Costa
   Fabio Daprela
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