West Ham V Manchester City

Fans expecting a goal feast between two teams who are hardly renowned for their defensive qualities had to be content with scraps after a goalless draw at Upton Park.

And West Ham had goalkeeper David James to thank most for keeping their first clean sheet of the season having gone six games without a win.

The England keeper capped a flawless performance with a brilliant 55th minute save with his legs to deny NicolasAnelka, who had shrugged off Gary Breen before going clear.

In an even game of few clear-cut chances, Joe Cole again wasted Hammers' best efforts. Twice in the space of two first half-minutes, he lost his marker, Niclas Jensen, on the right but, cutting inside onto his left foot, he had one low shot saved by Peter Schmeichel and then blocked by a City defender.

But to be fair to Cole, he was a midfielder getting into good positions inside the penalty area, whereas strikers Fredi Kanoute and Paolo Di Canio failed to offer a goal threat throughout a disappointing game.

Edouard Cisse, playing in the centre of midfield with Steve Lomas as Michael Carrick remained on the bench, also got himself into a promising shooting position, but his effort was blocked by a last-gasp challenge by the impressive Sylvain Distin, who dominated at the heart of the visitors' defence.

Anelka tested James with a 25-yard scorcher that swerved wickedly in flight, but the only other decent chance Hammers created at the other end saw Scott Minto - recalled for his first appearance since February - blazing well wide following good approach work by Trevor Sinclair on the left.

Cole, drifting infield to try and fine more space,  got forward to good effect again on the stroke of half-time, but his left-footed volley was held by Schmeichel.

Apart from that fine save by James to deny Anelka 10 minutes after the break, and a low shot from Shaun Wright-Phillips that flashed wide of the far post a minute later, neither side looked like breaking the deadlock. Kanoute and Di Canio struggled to find their touch, conceding possession when the ball did go forward, and no-one was surprised when Glenn Roeder brought on Jermain Defoe with 16 minutes remaining.

Maybe most expected Kanoute to make way, but instead it was Di Canio who was taken off, although the tabloid reporters present will have been disappointed to see no repeat of the fuss that accompanied his substitution at Tottenham last Sunday. The Italian shook hands with the boss before taking his seat on the bench, to be joined by Cisse, who sustained a dead leg and was replaced by Carrick.

The young England midfielder answered his recent critics at Upton Park with a confident and efficient last 16 minutes, spraying diagonal passes that at least asked a few more questions of City's resolute defence.

But apart from a tame shot by Defoe and a more solid strike from former City skipper Lomas that was also gathered by Schmeichel, Hammers lacked punch in front of goal.

Roeder praised the home crowd for not allowing their frustration to transmit itself to the team and at least his defence, with Breen and Tomas Repka looking more convincing, kept a rare clean sheet.


1 - Minto collects a return pass from Sinclair and skips past Foe into the area, but stumbles to the ground after appearing to be pushed. Referee Barber waves play on.

8 - Di Canio's inch-perfect crossfield pass is beautifully controlled by Kanoute, but Distin recovers well to block the Frenchman's shot.

16 - Schemmel releases Cole on the right and the young midfielder cuts inside Jensen to set up a shooting chance, but his left-foot effort is comfortably saved by Schmeichel.

18 - In almost an exact repeat of his last chance, Cole is released on the right, this time by Di Canio, and again cuts inside on to his left foot, but Jihai blocks the shot.

19 - Benarbia collects a back-heel from Anelka on the right and skips into the area before curling a left-foot shot that is deflected just past the post for a corner.

25 - Anelka takes James by surprise with a venomous, swerving 25-yarder that the England keeper can only parry out to the penalty spot, where Foe then attempts an overhead kick that is blocked bravely by Minto.

27 - Jihai's dangerous cross from the right appears to be falling perfectly for Foe, but Repka's excellent defensive header snuffs out the threat from City.

29 - Lomas' clever chipped pass into the area finds Sinclair, who cuts the ball back invitingly for Minto. However, the left-back blazes his shot wide of the target.

31 - Cisse BOOKED for a foul on Berkovic.

36 - Berkovic's magnificent pass splits Lomas and Schemmel and releases Anelka, whose shot is blocked by Breen.

43 - Hammers come close to open the scoring again, but are once again denied by the impressive Distin, who blocks Cisse's shot after the Frenchman plays an excellent one-two with Cole and runs on to Di Canio's dummy.

45 - Di Canio's chipped free-kick finds Cole, who fires a left-foot volley straight at Schmeichel.

Half-time: West Ham United 0 Manchester City 0.

Second Half:

46 - A long ball out of defence threatens problems for Hammers as Anelka races clear, but the quick-thinking of James, who rushes out of his area to head the ball away, clears the danger.

49 - Minto BOOKED for foul on Wright-Phillips.

53 - Di Canio controls Kanoute's flick-on in the penalty area and turns well but fires his effort high and wide.

56 - James once again comes to the rescue for the Hammers, this time saving with his feet from Anelka after the Frenchman brushes aside Breen and bursts clear.

65 - After good work by Di Canio on the left, Minto manages to squeeze a low cross into the penalty area that Cole touches back for Lomas, whose low shot is saved by Schmeichel.

67 - Schemmel's low cross finds Kanoute, who turns well in the area and goes down under a challenge from Jihai. Referee Barber waves play on.

74 - Double substitution for West Ham, Defoe replaces Di Canio and Carrick replaces Cisse.

79 - Defoe takes possession just outside the penalty area after Foe dithers on the ball, but his shot is too weak to trouble Schmeichel.

82 - Substitution for Manchester City, Huckerby replaces Benarbia.

Added time: 2 minutes.

Full-time: West Ham United 0 Manchester City 0.