Ipswich loss frustrates Sam

Sam Allardyce was making no excuses after what he described as the most disappointing performance of the season to date for West Ham United.

Although the Hammers went into the Ipswich Town fixture on the back of their best start in 28 years, they were undone by former Hammers midfielder Lee Bowyer's driven last-gasp winner when the manager believed his team switched off - first to a long goalkeeping clearance and then from the resulting corner. In truth, the visitors were always the better team even with the Hammers' improved second half.

Bowyer might also have scored in the first half when home man of the match Robert Green tipped a curled effort on to the post, while Michael Chopra could have registered for Ipswich in the opening minutes. The Hammers never got as close as that to a goal themselves, and a seven-match unbeaten run was always in peril in front of nearly 28,000 fans on a balmy September evening at the Boleyn.

Still, with the scores level into the closing stages, Allardyce was frustrated his team did not at least secure the draw. "We thought we had learned our lesson and clearly we haven't done that. I keep telling the players about respecting the point. Coming off nil-nil would have been a good point for us because I didn't think we were at our best - particularly in the first half.

"We can ill afford to throw points away but more importantly we can't do that at Upton Park. We really have to eradicate that because we have to make up those points away from home and while we have been magnificent in terms of our results away from home we won't always keep going away from home and winning."

The manager made two enforced changes with Matt Taylor (calf) and Winston Reid (hamstring) missing out, while Julien Faubert dropped to the bench to accommodate Sam Baldock's first home game as the manager went for a 4-4-2 formation. James Tomkins partnered Abdoulaye Faye at the back and David Bentley got his maiden start on his fourth appearance in claret and blue.

There is plenty to ponder for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace as Allardyce's men aim to return to the form that has taken them to fourth place in the npower Championship. Having seen his team bounce back before after their defeat by Cardiff City on the opening day, the manager wants a similar statement this weekend.

"If we want to go where we want to go, this isn't good enough. I know it is early doors and the team is a new team put together but it doesn't stop you being organised and being professional in the final minutes of a game.

"Everyone in our dressing room, apart from one or two of the younger element, are vastly experienced players and have seen it all before at a higher level than this and that is what disappoints me. They need to take the responsibility in the dying embers of a game to do the right thing."

"Those small elements when you put them together ends up with Ipswich winning a game that we shouldn't have allowed them to win although you have to give the opposition great credit.

The manager had plenty more praise for Paul Jewell's team, who went into the match on the back of a good win against Coventry City and draw at pace-setters Middlesbrough. He was forced to reshuffle his plans to match them up, but even the introduction of Jack Collison and John Carew for Henri Lansbury and Carlton Cole could not spark a decisive reaction.

"Ipswich are a very good side and we might have let a little bit of complacency creep in which we sorted out at half-time and got better in the second half. But then in terms of goalscoring opportunities, that was lacking.

"I changed the system because of injury and the fact the last two games haven't produced any goals apart from a penalty. Unfortunately the way we have played, we have gone from better to worse.

"We have really got to work at our game and put this behind us at Crystal Palace by finishing the week off with some points."