Manager on Monday

West Ham United were involved in stoppage-time drama yet again yesterday afternoon but it proved to be third-time unlucky for the visit of Bolton Wanderers.

Following Robert Green's penalty stop away to Portsmouth that secured a 0-0 draw last Saturday and Carlton Cole's midweek winner for a 2-1 cup victory at Coventry City, Alan Curbishley saw his side on the receiving end at the Boleyn Ground after Kevin Nolan snatched a late point for the visitors to cancel out George McCartney's stunning first-half volley.

The 1-1 draw at least leaves West Ham United secure in mid-table before the trip to the Premier League's last-placed club Derby County next Saturday and with a game in hand on all the sides below them. There could also be a lift at Chadwell Heath this week with a trio of players possibly close to a return.

"Although, they're unlikely to be ready for the weekend, at least Freddie Ljungberg started running last Thursday, while Dean Ashton could begin training this week alongside James Collins," Curbishley said. "Hopefully, the forthcoming international break will also give one or two players the chance to get themselves fit."

Reflecting on Sunday's draw, he said: "We lost two points because when you get to the 93rd minute you simply have to see the game out. It was all self-inflicted. For the last ten minutes, we were playing as though we were the team that was one-nil down. We were breaking upfield, trying to get men into the Bolton box and then crossing balls into their penalty area, when there was absolutely no need for it.

"One or two players should have got their foot on the ball and brought a bit of professionalism into our side so that we could kill the game off. A win would have meant that we were in the top half of the table and in a Carling Cup quarter-final too.

"If that had been Bolton, with just 90 seconds to go, then it would've been all over because I'm sure that somebody like El Hadji Diouf would've run himself down into the corner flag, cuddled the ball and attracted a tackle.

"Although we're very, very disappointed, you still have to give Bolton a lot of credit. From the moment that we scored, they upped it and got themselves back into the game and, although we created a couple of chances, we never really looked like getting a second goal.

"George had taken his goal very well and I just wish that it had been the winner but they went back to basics and the last thing we wanted in the final minute was a long-throw aimed at a lot of bodies in our penalty area. It was a typical Bolton goal.

"I look at our well-documented injury list but I can't use that as an excuse because it would be disrespectful to the players who have come in and given me everything that they've got. Right now, it's all hands to the pump and, although our injuries and substitutions didn't make it very cohesive against Bolton, I can't complain about how hard my side worked. "