Hammers Draw In Den Haag

WEST Ham United have stretched their unbeaten pre-season campaign to seven games with a 1-1 draw against ADO Den Haag.

Bobby Zamora's 80th minute equaliser earned Hammers a draw in this competitive encounter, which saw two Den Haag players sent-off in a fiery second-half.

Alan Pardew included debutant Clive Clarke in his side at left-back alongisde Tomas Repka, James Collins and Malky Mackay as he rung the changes from Saturday's 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.

In goal, Shaka Hislop made his return to the claret and blue for the first time since 2002 and barely had a save to make in the first 45 minutes.

In midfield, Yossi Benayoun was given his first start in a Hammers shirt alongside Mark Noble, who returned from the UEFA European Under-19 Championships to make his first outing of West Ham United's pre-season campaign.

It was the two midfielders that combined to produce West Ham's best moment of the first-half. A flowing Hammers move saw a smooth interchange of passes between the Israeli and England Youth internationals before a cross to the far post picked out Bobby Zamora, but he could only glance his header away from goal with just the goalkeeper to beat.

That was the only chance of an opening period that was for the most part bogged down in midfield. Shaka Hislop was called from his goal to collect two routine through-balls, but that was the sum total of Den Haag's attacking contributions during the first-half as Hammers defence held firm.

Zamora was the most lively Hammers player on the pitch, showing some neat touches and linking well with a five man midfield, which also included Marlon Harewood on the right, Luke Chadwick on the left and Carl Fletcher doing a solid job sitting in front of the back-four.

Zamora very nearly stole in as the half drew to a close, but despite looking the most likely side to threaten the stalemate, Hammers had to settle for a 0-0 scoreline at the break.

HT: 0-0

Hammers began the second-half unchanged, but it was Den Haag who came out after the break looking determined.

Just after the re-start Hislop was forced into his first major save of his Hammers return diving to turn a rasping long-range drive over the bar.

Gavin Williams and Shaun Newton were introduced for Marlon Harewood and Luke Chadwick with 59 minutes gone.

The visitors were coming under increasing pressure from a fired-up Den Haag and on 61 minutes went behind. A diagonal ball from right to left split the Hammers defence and after the ball was cut square Den Haag striker Elia side-footed past an exposed Hislop to make it 1-0.

Pards' men picked up the pace after going behind and were soon presented with a great chance to equalise. Mark Noble floated over a corner that was met with a powerful header by James Collins, which was heading for goal had the Den Haag right-back not blocked it out with his arm.

The referee pointed to the spot before brandishing a straight red-card. Substitute Newton stepped up to take the penalty and struck his kick well, but the goalkeeper flung himself to his right to make an excellent save. 

The Den Haag crowd roared their approval, but were not so impressed on 68 minutes when a scything tackle by the home number 8 on the tricky Benayoun saw the Den Haag player instantly dismissed.

Down to nine men Den Haag were immediatley on the back foot against a determined Hammers attack.

In the 80th minute West Ham United fashioned a fine move down the left, Noble finding Gavin Williams whose excellent pass picked out Zamora and the Hammers striker rifled home a shot from the edge of the box to make it 1-1.

Alan Pardew's team might have grabbed a winner late on. Substitute Petr Mikolanda, who has earned a contract at Upton Park thanks to his impressive pre-season performances, received a Christian Dailly pass before unleashing a thumping drive that skimmed the crossbar on it's way over.

Zamora had the game's final effort, his header no more than a routine save for the Den Haag goalkeeper.

The final-whistle confirmed that West Ham United's unbeaten pre-season campaign now stretches to seven games after another competitive work-out in a game that marked ADO Den Haag's centenary.

WHU: Hislop; Repka, Clarke (Mikolanda 67), Collins (Ward 84), Mackay, Fletcher (Licka 84), Benayoun, Noble (Dailly 83), Zamora, Harewood (Williams 59), Chadwick (Newton 59). Subs unused: Reed (GK)