Hammers v Charlton

Hammers were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw by Charlton Athletic at Upton Park on Sunday afternoon.

Despite dominating the game for large periods, Alan Pardew's men just couldn't find the breakthrough in front of the live Sky TV cameras, and had to settle for a point against their London rivals, although still moved up one place in the Premiership table.

Following Wednesday's 1-0 defeat at Manchester United, Pards made one change to his starting line-up, as Anton Ferdinand made his return from injury to replace Lionel Scaloni at right-back - a role he had filled after appearing as a substitute at Old Trafford.

Charlton also made just the one change, bringing in Dennis Rommedahl for Jerome Thomas on the right side of midfield following their 3-1 win against Newcastle United last weekend.

After a pre-match hailstorm had threatened to turn the afternoon into a wash-out, the sun thankfully appeared at kick-off, and it was Hammers who made the brighter start, going close on three occasions inside the opening eight minutes.

First a Yossi Benayoun long throw was flicked on to Dean Ashton, who hooked over from close range, then Marlon Harewood saw a shot from the edge of the penalty area deflected wide for a corner, before Ashton's neat back-heel set up Nigel Reo-Coker, whose goalbound effort was blocked.

However, despite its promising start, the first-half failed to develop into anything more than a tight, cagey affair, as the visitors defended in numbers and crowded the space in midfield, while hoping that the pacy, twin danger of Darren and Marcus Bent in attack might cause some problems on the break.

Harewood tried his effort just before the interval with a couple of long-range efforts - including a fierce volley that goalkeeper Thomas Myhre did well to hold, while Anton Ferdinand got forward to send an angled drive into the side-netting and, as the half-time whistle blew, it was clear that a touch of inspiration was going to be required for Hammers to unlock the door.

Alan Pardew must have been thinking the same thing, for he introduced Teddy Sheringham in place of Ashton at the beginning of the second half, handing the veteran striker the perfect 40th birthday present following his wish for greater first team involvement after a spate of late substitute appearances.

Sadly, with Charlton in determined mood, the switch failed to produce the desired response. After the visitors had forced five corners in the opening minutes of the second half, it was James Collins who unleashed the first real effort after the break - a fierce drive from fully 30 yards that flew just inches over the bar.

Charlton were restricted to just one effort, a snapshot from Darren Bent that Shaka Hislop was forced to parry and, from then on, it was simply a case of Hammers trying all they could to find the breakthrough.

With 15 minutes remaining, Pards sent on Bobby Zamora in place of Reo-Coker, moving Harewood out to the right as Benayoun stepped into the centre in an attempt to generate more possession and, just three minutes after his arrival, it was Zamora who almost found the opening with a bullet header from Etherington's corner, but Kishishev was on hand to clear off the line.

With just seven minutes remaining, it appeared that the headline writers might get their wish for the day as another corner dropped at the feet of the unmarked Sheringham, but Myhre somehow pulled off a stunning reflex save to keep out the striker's half-volley.

Sadly, there was to be no icing on the cake for the birthday boy, or for Hammers, who will be hoping for better fortune should this fixture crop up again at Villa Park in three weeks time...