West Ham United 0-1 Birmingham FT





Final score - West Ham United 0-1 Birmingham City

94 mins - Larsson runs the ball to the corner and the final whistle is blown.

93 mins - Zigic is offside. One last chance... Green thumps the ball forward and Reid is penalised. That's surely West Ham's last opportunity gone?

92 mins - Da Costa follows Obinna into the book with a late challenge on Carr.

92 mins - Obinna challenges Ferguson as the Scot clears. Ferguson goes down, and Obinna is booked.

91 mins - Argh! The ball lands at the feet of Parker inside the area, but he cannot get any power on his shot and Foster gathers.

91 mins - We're into the first of three added minutes as Obinna picks up the ball about 20 yards out, turns on to his right foot and curls a shot wide of the far post.

90 mins - Da Costa has joined the forwards.

89 mins - Jacobsen crosses, Da Costa heads back across goal and the ball bounces a foot wide of the post ahead of the out-stretched leg of Cole.

88 mins - This game is drifting away from West Ham. They need to work Foster, at least, in the final minutes.

85 mins - Zigic turns on the edge of the box and shoots. It's straight at Green. Five minutes to go...

83 mins - O'Neil crosses deep and Bridge is trying to get on the end of it, forcing Larsson to head behind. Noble's corner again clears everyone.

82 mins - Da Costa shoots from about 35 yards. It's on target and Foster pushes the ball aside before Carr clears.

81 mins - Ba has looked lively so far. He finds Parker, who drives into the penalty area and wins a corner. Bridge takes but it's too high.

77 mins - Bridge curls a free-kick over and Da Costa wins the header. The ball drops to Ba, who smashes the ball against the angle of post and crossbar from a difficult angle.

76 mins - Keane's home debut ends as he is replaced by Ba.

74 mins - We're going to see Demba Ba shortly. He could make a name for himself here. Foster is booked for time-wasting.

72 mins - Nothing doing for West Ham at all going forward. Instead, Birmingham are on top. They have a corner, but it's dealt with.

67 mins - Birmingham come close to a second. Zigic holds the ball up and lays it off before Bentley flashes a cross along the edge of the six-yard box. Nobody is there to tap it in.

66 mins - GOAL! Zigic scores. Noble bundles over Bentley needlessly. Larsson curls the free-kick to the far post and the Serb heads in. Simple goal.

63 mins - Great chance as O'Neil wins the ball in midfield and Parker drives forward. Unfortunately, his pass doesn't find a West Ham player. They had four forward then, too.

61 mins - Cole does well, cutting inside two challenges before seeing his shot blocked. The ball falls to Keane and he drops his shoulder but his cross is cleared.

60 mins - West Ham make a change, replacing Piquionne with Carlton Cole for the final half-hour.

59 mins - Zigic is offside but he shoots anyway and it flies high over the crossbar from 16 yards.

58 mins - Bentley sends over a free-kick and Reid can only glance it on for a corner. Larsson delivers and Jacobsen heads clear. For a little man, the Dane has won a lot in the air today.

57 mins - Birmingham bring on Sebastian Larsson for Jerome.

56 mins - Piquionne gets in behind Johnson but he shanks his cross and it's an easy one for Foster.

54 mins - Bridge picks out Keane in the box. The No34 tries to accept the ball under pressure from Johnson and goes to ground. The fans behind the goal want a penalty and so does Keane, but Foy gives nothing.

53 mins - West Ham are playing some nice football but the ball just won't drop in the penalty area. A cross comes over and Piquionne heads down, but the ball bounces over Keane's foot.

51 mins - Zigic nods a deep cross well wide of the far post. Ironic cheers from the home fans. Ba and Cole are warming up on the touchline now.

50 mins - Hmmm... Zigic and Da Costa have a bit of a wrestling match off the ball inside the penalty area. Both go to ground as Reid heads clear Bentley's cross. Referee Foy stops the game and talks to the two giants. No further action is taken.

49 mins - So close! Obinna wins the ball in midfield and cuts on to his left foot, but Johnson blocks his shot. Obinna regains possession and tries to pick out Keane, but a Birmingham defender just gets a toe to the ball.

48 mins - Green clears long and Piquionne flicks on. Keane is in on goal, but the ball hits him on the back and the chance is lost! Unlucky.

47 mins - Good dogged play from Obinna and Noble sees the Nigerian fouled by Ferguson. West Ham have a free-kick 35 yards out in a central position. Noble floats it up and Da Costa wins it. Reid challenges Foster, but the goalkeeper holds on. Reid was offside, anyway.

46 mins - Birmingham get the second half started and Da Costa is straight into the action, challenging Jerome before clearing for a throw.

Scott Parker leads the Hammers out for the second half. Da Costa is indeed going to come on in place of Upson. It's the No22's first appearance since Arsenal away on 6 November. However, he did come through an hour for the reserves against West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday evening.

I think we might see Manuel da Costa after half-time. Matthew Upson was struggling a bit before the break and it actually looked like the Portuguese might come on after about 35 minutes, but Upson stayed on until the break.

47 mins - Piquionne's cross finds Keane inside the box. He turns and makes space for himself with a clever flick, but belts a left-foot volley over the top. Moments later, it's half-time.

46 mins - Parker picks out the run of Obinna, who shows great skill before his cross hits a defender. Obinna wants a penalty, but the assistant referee says it hit Johnson's chest. Replays show it hit the defender's arm, but it certainly wasn't deliberate.

44 mins - Argh! It's just not quite happening. Parker charges down a clearance and West Ham have two-on-two. Keane pulls to the far post and Parker's cross is to the near. Johnson clears.

42 mins - Parker misses a trick after West Ham clear a dangerous Birmingham attack. Keane is in acres of space on halfway, but Parker turns back and keeps possession with a short pass. That's a bit of a missed opportunity.

39 mins - West Ham take their time building from the back before Upson sends a raking pass towards Piquionne, who is fouled about 30 yards from goal on the left of the goal. Not a shooting chance, but a dangerous position nonetheless. Noble takes and it comes to nothing. When the ball is cleared to Bentley, Noble fouls him and is booked.

36 mins - Fantastic from Obinna, who turns Carr and runs him down the left touchline. He delivers a superb cross that Johnson dives to head behind. The corner comes over and should be cleared, but isn't. Obinna heads the ball to Reid, who nods it wide.

35 mins - Another Birmingham header off-target. This time it's Zigic who can't keep his effort down.

34 mins - Bentley gets a cross in and Gardner challenges Upson for it before the latter stabs clear to Parker. He tries to pick out the run of O'Neil but it's intercepted. Next, Jacobsen gets in behind and crosses low but it's cut out.

31 mins - Bowyer has a try with his left-foot. It's not going in, but Green claims. Birmingham win possession back and Jerome wins a corner off Reid. Bentley delivers and Green gets a touch to the ball before Reid hacks it out for a throw. Birmingham work the ball well and Bowyer delivers from wide on the left. Johnson is free but his header flies over the top.

30 mins - West Ham are getting up a head of steam. O'Neil gets in behind and crosses, but none of the three Hammers in the box react quickly enough when Carr's touch drops into the middle of the box. Birmingham clear.

29 mins - Piquionne finds O'Neil, but his cross is too close to Foster at the near post.

28 mins - Zigic is back on in a new shirt, without name or number. At 6'8", he doesn't really need either to be identified!

26 mins - Good patient build-up play from West Ham sees them keep possession for 30 seconds or more before Obinna wins a corner off Johnson's head. Noble's corner drops to Reid, but his touch lets him down as he tries to lay the ball back to Parker and he commits a foul. Parker shoots anway and the ball flashes wide.

25 mins - Obinna tries to play the ball through behind Jiranek for Piquionne, but the Czech does well and finds Carr, who dribbles across the pitch before finding Ridgewell, who completes the clearance. Zigic challenges with Reid and picks up a cut in the process. He needs to go off.

21 mins - Keane again, holding off his marker and rolling the ball square for Obinna. The Nigerian hits the shot but it goes a few yards wide of the right-hand post.

20 mins - Superb touch by Keane has Piquionne away. He gets the ball caught under his feet a little and consequently his shot is weak and an easy claim for Foster.

18 mins - It's not really caught fire yet, this game. Piquionne has time to turn inside the Birmingham half but his touch lets him down and he fouls Johnson.

15 mins - Handball by Johnson and West Ham have a free-kick inside the Birmingham half. Jacobsen sends it over and it hits a Birmingham head before being claimed high above his head by Foster. Birmingham come forward and Reid can only poke the ball to Gardner, but his shot is wayward.

13 mins - Upson does well twice and the ball reaches Obinna. He brings it forward 30 yards before trying to thread a pass through for Piquionne. Jiranek does well and holds off the striker. Foster collects.

10 mins - Piquionne's pass hits Zigic on the head and Keane commits a foul. Free-kick to Birmingham. Ferguson launches it into the box, but Jacobsen is there to head clear for a throw.

8 mins - Birmingham haven't started here. Noble finds O'Neil wide on the right but his first touch is a bit loose. He still gets the cross in but it's high and an easy catch for Foster. Birmingham break and Bentley twists and turns past Parker before shooting left-footed, but it's too high.

7 mins - O'Neil charges down Ridgewell's clearance and the ball breaks to Piquionne. The No30 cuts inside Jiranek but Ridgwell gets back in and is fouled by the Frenchman.

6 mins - Jacobsen sends over a cross and Obinna tries to get to it, but Foster comes out and punches clear with a little help from Carr. A few 'Ooohs' from the home fans.

5 mins - West Ham have started well here as Johnson concedes a free-kick wide on the left. Bridge curls the ball over and it hits a defender on the back before bouncing out to the near side.

3 mins - Keane hassles fellow countryman Carr and the right-back concedes a throw. Bridge gets forward and wins a corner off the No2. The corner is deep and Keane retrieves the ball before volleying into the face of Carr. The striker smiles as he appeals for handball.

2 mins - Ferguson tries to pick out Carr with a diagonal pass, but it is too strong and bounces behind for a goal kick.

1 mins - We've had 45 seconds and Lee Bowyer needs a breather after injuring himself tackling Lars Jacobsen. The former Hammer is back on his feet without the need for any treatment.

1 min - Keane and Parker get things underway...

1.30pm - West Ham will kick-off towards the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand...

1.28pm - A very, very late change to the starting lineup. Tomkins is replaced by Matthew Upson. Julien Faubert is now on the bench.

1.26pm - 'Bubbles' starts to play and the teams are ready to enter the field of play. There is a real feeling of expectation around the place this afternoon. Should West Ham win, they'd leapfrog Birmingham, Wigan and West Brom and climb to 16th place in the table - within four points of tenth-place Newcastle United.

1.22pm - A video montage of Robbie Keane's goals for Republic of Ireland is being shown on the big screen, along with a host of interviews with players and Chairman David Gold praising West Ham's new No34. Keane, of course, scored at Blackpool on Wednesday and will be eager to score on his home debut too.

1.21pm - Harry Singh, who is a visitor to Richard House Children's Hospice and the inspiration for the 'Harry's Million' fundraising campaign, is interviewed in the home dugout. For more details about Harry's Million and how you can get involved, click here.

1.20pm - Scott Parker will captain West Ham again today. The No8 was also wearing the armband at Blackpool on Wednesday night.

1.15pm - I'm sure you've read or heard this elsewhere, but West Bromwich Albion have parted company with manager Roberto di Matteo. West Ham, of course, head to The Hawthorns next Saturday. Down by the pitch 2008 Beijing Olympic Lightweight Double Scull (stroke) Gold Medallist Mark Hunter is being interviewed. The 32-year-old is a huge Hammers fan and is sporting an Avram Grant-style claret and blue scarf. Hunter, who is also the current world champion, speaks of his hope that the club will secure the 2012 London Olympic Stadium, as well as of his own hopes of repeating his Beijing success next year.

1.10pm - Contrary to his Wikipedia entry, it is Avram Grant's 56th birthday today! The manager will not be celebrating just yet, though, as he is fully-focused on gathering three vital points this afternoon.

12.40pm - Avram Grant has made one enforced change to his starting XI from the 3-1 victory at Blackpool, replacing the injured Danny Gabbidon with Winston Reid. Matthew Upson is on the bench after missing the last two games, while Manuel da Costa is back after three months out with an achilles injury. Birmingham are unchanged from their 2-2 midweek draw with Manchester City.

12.35pm - Team news is in! See below for the starting XIs and substitutes.

12.20pm - Team news of a different kind! Keith Hill has replaced Andy D'Urso as the fourth official.

Good afternoon and welcome to the Boleyn Ground for what promises to be a mouth-watering Sunday lunchtime clash between West Ham United and Birmingham City.

Before I begin, I should say that today's game is raising awareness and funds for Richard House Children's Hospice. Beckton-based Richard House was London's first children's hospice and provides care for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

Today's match marks the fourth meeting between the two sides this season, with each club having won once each in the Carling Cup and played out a 2-2 draw in the reverse Barclays Premier League fixture at St Andrews on 6 November. However, Birmingham of course won through to the Carling Cup final courtesy of a 4-3 aggregate victory over the Hammers last month.

More encouragingly, Birmingham have not won on any of their last four visits to the Boleyn Ground dating back to 5 October 2002.

West Ham have hit form in recent weeks, winning six and drawing three of their last 12 matches in all competitions. Birmingham, meanwhile, were beaten 5-0 at Manchester United in their last away fixture.

Team news-wise, West Ham will definitely be without long-term absentees Thomas Hitzlsperger and Jack Collison (both knee) and Junior Stanislas (hernia), while Benni McCarthy and Herita Ilunga are not eligible after being left out of the club's 25-man Barclays Premier League squad. Danny Gabbidon is also missing with a hamstring problem.

Birmingham could be without captain Barry Ferguson and striker Cameron Jerome (both ankle), while centre-back Roger Johnson (calf) is a doubt and Nigeria forward Obafemi Martins has failed to secure a visa in time for the game. Scott Dann (hamstring), James McFadden (knee) and Enric Valles (foot).

The teams will be announced at around 12.30pm.

Don't forget that team news and goal updates will also be posted on the club's official twitter feed. To start following now, click here.

West Ham United: Green, Jacobsen, Reid, Upson (Da Costa 46), Bridge, O'Neil, Parker, Noble, Obinna, Keane (Ba 76), Piquionne (Cole 60)
Subs: Boffin, Faubert, Kovac, Sears

Birmingham City: Foster, Carr, Johnson, Jiranek, Ridgewell, Bentley, Bowyer, Ferguson, Gardner, Jerome (Larsson 57), Zigic
Subs: Doyle, Murphy, Davies, Fahey, Beasejour, Phillips