Derby County 0 West Ham 0

West Ham's search for their first victory of the season continues after a closely fought 0-0 draw against Derby County at Pride Park.

And Glenn Roeder's men had Shaka Hislop to thank for the point gained in the end after the goalkeeper stopped everything Derby could throw at him and then pulled off a stunning save to deny the hosts what would have been a certain matchwinner late in the game.

Despite only stepping off a plane from Mexico yesterday morning after international duty with Trinidad, the 32-year-old stopper showed no signs of jet-lag as he raced off his line in the 77th minute to thwart Scottish international Craig Burley with a fantastic block just six yards out.

Defeat would have been harsh on the Hammers, who enjoyed arguably more possession than their opponents and breached the Rams defence time and time again but failed to find the finishing touches in front of goal.

Although the result was a repeat of last season's corresponding fixture, when a live television audience were subjected to a dour and dreary 90 minutes, the entertainment factor this time around certainly made up for last year's disappointment, as both sides did all they could to break the deadlock and provided full value for the 27,802 crowd.

That was despite referee Clive Wilkes threatening to spoil the afternoon with an inept and card-happy display that in no way reflected the spirit in which the game was played.

The man in the middle booked seven players in total - yet not one malicious foul was committed - and constantly held up the play as both sides tried their hardest to keep the game flowing.

The Hammers had started the better side and were looking particularly dangerous down the right as Trevor Sinclair and Sebastien Schemmel linked well, with striker Fredi Kanoute - returning from injury - causing plenty of problems for the Derby defence.

Sadly for Fredi, the afternoon ended on a sour note in the 54th minute, as he pulled up with a recurrence of the hamstring strain that had sidelined him for the start of the campaign.

The French striker had enjoyed his side's best chance of the first half, when he latched on to Rigobert Song's long pass down the right in the ninth minute, outpaced Chris Riggott and cut inside before unleashing a left foot shot that smashed against the top of the crossbar and flew out for a goal kick.

Joe Cole then went close with two long range efforts, while debutant Don Hutchison saw a low drive deflected away for a corner.

Derby also had their chances, the best of which fell to Italian striker Fabrizio Ravanelli on the stroke of half-time. He rose to meet a Georgi Kinkladze cross but headed straight at Hislop.

The Hammers keeper was in inspired form and had earlier made a brave save at the feet of Deon Burton as the Rams striker broke free in the box.

The second half was an equally close affair but it was Derby who enjoyed the better opportunities. Hislop once again had to be alert in the 57th minute, as Ravanelli's cross was blocked by Winterburn, who then cleared the ball straight against a team-mate. The ball appeared to be trickling in the bottom corner, until Shaka reached out a hand to claw it away for a corner.

The visitors began to take control as the game wore on, though, and were unlucky not to have snatched a winner in the final 20 minutes.

Cole and Michael Carrick should both have done better with close range efforts. Paolo Di Canio then had a fierce shot tipped round for a corner by Rams keeper Andy Oakes, before Hislop made his breathtaking save from Burley.

Di Canio was replaced by England under-21 striker Jermain Defoe in the closing stages, and the 18-year-old had a glorious chance in stoppage time when he raced on to Svetoslav Todorov's flick but shot well wide with his left foot.

Manager Glenn Roeder praised his battling troops but was understandably more concerned with the situation of Kanoute, whose presence was sorely missed when he was forced to leave the field.

Said Glenn: "A point away from home is always a good point. I'm disappointed we didn't win 1-0 but then again, Shaka made some good saves.

"The big disappointment is obviously the injury to Fredi, who appears to have suffered with his hamstring again. He is such a key player for the team and was a real handful in the first half.

"Hopefully it isn't back to square one with him, he will have a scan tomorrow and we will go from there."

On a more positive note, the Hammers boss was quick to salute the heroics of his goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, saying: "Shaka has come in after David James was injured and played very well in his three games.

"He had a long flight on Thursday night and hasn't had much sleep but he was fantastic today and he rescued a point for us at the end.

"We shut up shop defensively but we just need to be more ruthless in front of goal.

"Jermain Defoe had a great chance at the end - normally he puts those away but it just wasn't to be today.

"I was pleased with Don Hutchison, though, he got better as the game wore on and I am looking forward to seeing his partnership with Michael Carrick grow in the future."

So the Hammers still remain win-less under Roeder, but the new boss admitted that life in the hot-seat isn't causing him any distress yet.

"I am enjoying it - but I'll enjoy it even more when we get that first win," he remarked. Man of the Match: Shaka Hislop: Constantly denied the Rams with an assured display and was at his best when called upon to make the save that earned the Hammers a deserved point late on.