FULHAM v WEST HAM UNITED
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
WEDNESDAY 1 JANUARY 2014
REFEREE: MARK CLATTENBURG
Final score - Fulham 2-1 West Ham United
95: Fulham attack one last time and Kasami pokes a shot wide. Jaaskelainen clears upfield and that's it as Mr Clattenburg blows for full-time. West Ham lose again. We'll have all the post-match reaction soon. Thanks for joining us.
94: This will be the last chance. Taylor to take the corner. It is headed out and falls to Downing in the D. He slips as he shoots and it's going wide. Demel gets his head on the ball, but it merely helps the ball past the upright.
93: Last chance. Jaaskelainen hacks upfield and McCartney gets to the ball a split second before Senderos, who fouls him 30-odd yards out. Taylor's free-kick clips the wall and spins behind for a corner.
91: Four minutes to be added. Downing wins a throw inside the Fulham half. The ball is worked to the No23 again and his shot is deflected wide. Corner! Could they? Rat takes and about five players rise for the ball and it bounces clear. Taylor retrieves, but Rat's second ball in is charged down for a throw.
89: Riether's cross is charged down by Demel for another corner. This one is worked short to Kacaniklic, who fires a shot into the near side-netting.
88: Diarra concedes a corner as he challenges Kasami. It's worked short to the Swiss midfielder, who curls a cross in that Jaaskelainen claws away for a corner on the far side. If anything, the weather has got worse. Brilliant. The corner is only half-cleared.
87: Quite a few home fans are leaving! You'd think they'd want to watch their team in a winning position.
84: Fulham continue to play their passing game and it is giving West Ham half a chance. Collison lifts the ball into the box for Cole, but Senderos holds him off.
80: Downing collects a crossfield ball from Collison and just cannot get past Riise. He tries again and crosses low. The ball is hacked out by Sidwell to Demel, whose cross is headed down by Taylor, but Stockdale gets there ahead of Collison. More frustration for the thousands packed behind the goal to my left.
79: Approaching the final ten minutes and it's difficult to see how the Hammers can get back in this. Saying that, Fulham's domination has subsided slightly in the last five minutes.
77: A rare chance for the Hammers as Taylor curls over the free-kick and Diarra gets in front of his man but heads over. That was a decent chance from eight yards. He got under the header, though. Fulham replace Duff with Kasami.
76: West Ham have a bit of possession inside the Fulham half. Collison and Rat are involved before the midfielder finds Taylor on the edge of the box. He crosses left-footed and Stockdale dives to his left to collect. West Ham win the ball back from his clearance and Cole is taken out by Amorebieta. Yellow card for the defender. West Ham free-kick 35 yards out.
75: The West Ham fans are cheering every completed pass. It's been that sort of afternoon. They never lose their sense of humour, no matter how bad things look.
74: Fulham's fans are getting exasperated that their team are not going forward quickly enough. And their team is winning!
71: Taylor wins another free-kick on halfway. McCartney lifts the ball in and Stockdale catches. Fulham break immediately and Bent is clean through down the middle - I'm sorry, I didn't see how he got there. Jaaskelainen comes out and makes a fine save with his legs.
70: Berbatov gives the ball away to Taylor, then fouls the No14 and is booked.
69: West Ham make their final change too. Carlton Cole is on for Maiga.
68: Fulham are going for this now. Taarabt is replaced by Darren Bent.
66: Goal! It had to come and it does. Kacaniklic gets in behind O'Brien, cuts the ball back and Parker helps it on for Berbatov, who cannot miss from six yards. No offside. Fulham lead.
65: Another chance for the home side, who work a throw-in to Taarabt. He passes square for Sidwell, whose first-time shot is held by Jaaskelainen.
63: Parker tees-up Riise, whose shot is deflected over by Rat, who was booked for the initial foul. The corner is cleared.
62: Fulham have a free-kick about an inch outside the box as Rat allows Duff to get goalside before pulling down the winger. Duff and Taarabt want a penalty. Mr Clattenburg insists it was outside, which it was. This is still Riise territory though.
61: Taarabt and Berbatov combine to set up a shooting chance for Sidwell. He shoots and O'Brien blocks behind for a corner. West Ham clear it, but Fulham soon attack again. The cross comes over from the left and Taarabt's header is goalbound until Jaaskelainen palms it on to the post. The Finn kicks the ball straight back to Taarabt, who somehow misses the target from six yards. Amazing miss.
59: Maiga needs the physio on after a clash with Kacaniklic. Mr Clattenburg has his yellow card out, but I have no idea who for. He may have simply been noting the substitutions, or he may have booked someone...
58: Fulham come close again. Sidwell crosses low and Berbatov slips as he tries to shoot from ten yards. The ball slides to Duff, whose shot is half-blocked by Downing and spins into the air for Jaaskelainen to collect.
56: A change for both teams. Downing is on for Diame and Kacaniklic replaces Richardson.
55: West Ham are going to bring on a substitute, but I cannot quite make out who it is through the rain! Before the can happen, Berbatov flicks for Duff. Rat and O'Brien converge on the Irishman and the ball squirms through to Jaaskelainen.
52: It's attack against defence. Fulham win another corner. It's taken short to Taarabt and he fires a shot that is deflected just wide for a corner. West Ham do not pick up Duff from the corner and he plays a one-two before driving a shot a yard over the bar from 16 yards. He should have hit the target.
50: Parker beats Taylor before feeding Riether. His right-wing cross is headed dangerously goalwards by a stretching McCartney. Jaaskelainen is there to save and then pounce as the ball rolls away from him.
49: Berbatov heads down and the ball drops to Duff, whose cross is headed behind by Diarra for a corner. Fulham take it short and work the ball out to Parker. He shoots from 25 yards and Jaaskelainen saves again. This is going to be a LONG 45 minutes.
48: Riise turns and gets past Joey O'Brien from Taarabt's pass before stinging Jaaskelainen's knees with a well-struck shot. The ball goes out for a throw.
47: 4-4-1 from West Ham. Diarra is now holding in midfield behind Diame. Maiga on his own up top. Taylor wide left, Collison wide right.
46: Collison and Taylor get us back underway.
The two teams are out after the break. West Ham will be unchanged after the break. The Hammers are going to have to pull out something special here.
Half-time score - Fulham 1-1 West Ham United
47: It's half-time. As has happened so often on the road, it all started so well for the Hammers. Diame gave them an early lead, then Nolan was denied by a flying save by Stockdale. That proved to be a turning point as Fulham controlled matters after that moment. The Cottagers equalised through Sidwell's header before the West Ham skipper had what can only be described as a descending of the red mist as he lashed out at Amorebieta and was sent-off. I should also mention that West Ham suffered a further blow with the loss of Mark Noble to a calf injury.
45: That's Nolan's second sending-off in less than a month. West Ham have it all to do. To make matters worse, the Hammers will be playing into the wind in the second half.
44: I simply don't know what to say. A clearance up the line is aimed at nobody. Nolan chases and Amorebieta runs across him slightly. For no reason I can think of, Nolan lashes out at the Venezuelan and is sent-off.
41: Some relief for the Hammers as Maiga collects inside the Fulham half and shoots. It's blocked away for a throw. From that, Demel finds Diame, whose cross is aimed towards Nolan but is headed away by Amorebieta. West Ham try again a couple of times through Rat and then Taylor, but the hosts stand firm.
39: Taarabt goes down and this time he is fouled by Taylor wide on the Fulham right. The free-kick drops to Richardson, whose shot is deflected behind by Diarra. After another scramble, Maiga volleys clear.
37: Taarabt goes down just outside the box but Mr Clattenburg waves away the home claims. Taylor brings the ball away and is fouled on halfway. The free-kick is pumped into the box and Senderos heads clear.
36: This has not been pretty for the last ten minutes or so. Fulham have had almost control of possession and territory.
33: Fulham come forward again and Richardson pokes a shot wide. It doesn't go out. Berbatov and Taarabt swap passes before the Moroccan slams a low shot against the inside of the far post! Diarra heads the ball sideways and O'Brien puts it out for a corner. This time West Ham deal with it.
32: Goal! It was coming. The corner comes over from the right and Sidwell gets in front of McCartney and plants a powerful downward header past Jaaskelainen.
32: Noble is going off... Rat is coming on. Presumably Taylor will go into midfield.
31: Fulham are coming forward again and again. Taylor concedes another corner. Noble is down rubbing his calf. Surely not another injury?
28: Fulham have a corner as a slalom run from Parker is ended by a challenge from McCartney. The home fans are making some encouraging noises. Jaaskelainen comes for it and Amorebieta gets there first. Thankfully, Maiga is on the line to head away and Collison acrobatically completes the clearance.
26: West Ham under real pressure now as Fulham attack again. The home side work it well from right to left and Riise crosses first-time. Berbatov volleys on the turn and the Finn flies to his left again to hold on.
25: Jaaskelainen has his first save to make and it's fairly routine as he dives low to his left to hold on to Taarabt's effort.
23: So close to 2-0! Fulham try to play out from the back but gift the ball to Taylor. He finds Diame, who clips a fine left-foot cross to Nolan at the far post. He is unmarked six yards out and heads down powerfully, only for Stockdale to make a fantastic save with his right foot. Nolan cannot believe it.
20: Another offside against a Fulham player. It is either Berbatov or Taarabt, I couldn't see. Anyway, the flag goes up and that's a West Ham free-kick.
19: Good build-up involving a few players down the West Ham left ends when Maiga is caught offside from Collison's pass. That's a shame, because it was a promising one-touch move developing.
17: The wind is really blowing and when the ball goes any distance off the ground it is either being held up or blown along. A cross from the right is headed out by O'Brien as far as Riise. Wind or no wind, the Norwegian pummels it on the half-volley and the ball flies a yard or two wide of the top corner. Absolute ping from Riise, but it's just a goal kick.
14: Fulham play out patiently from the back before Riise's ball finds Taarabt in space in the centre circle. He turns and finds Parker, who is felled about 30 yards out by Diarra. Shooting chance for Taarabt. He hits the wall and the ball flies high into the air. Jaaskelainen watches it closely and clutches it safely to his chest.
12: Diame crosses and Amorebieta heads over his own crossbar for a corner with Nolan lurking. West Ham have the wind at their backs but this time it doesn't benefit them as Noble's corner is deep and flashes off the head of Diarra and behind for a goal kick.
11: Richardson bursts beyond O'Brien and is momentarily clear until McCartney covers across and volleys out for a throw. Good defending. Fulham keep possession and Riether crosses again, but Diarra is there to clear.
10: There are going to be goals in this one! Riether crosses yet again from the right and the ball is allowed to bounce just in front of Taarabt in the penalty area. Luckily, the Moroccan cannot get to it and the ball skips out for a throw.
9: Senderos heads clear but Taylor picks up the loose ball and West Ham attack down their right. Demel and Taylor combine before the latter curls a left-footed cross beyond the far post.
8: Berbatov is caught offside for a third time. Can Jaaskelainen get another assist? He tries! The flick-on causes havoc as Nolan challenges and the ball is headed behind for a corner.
7: GOAL! Diame! Jaaskelainen's long free-kick is allowed to fly all the way through to Diame inside the penalty area. He controls on his thigh, swivels and drives the shot low into the bottom left-hand corner. Simples.
6: Riise clips a ball over the top of Diarra and Berbatov controls, but McCartney appeals for offside and the assistant raises his flag. Correct decision, but only by a yard or so.
5: The conditions play a part as the Fulham defenders allow Jaaskelainen's free-kick to bounce. Diame flicks on for Nolan, but he cannot get any power in his shot and Stockdale is able to collect easily.
4: Conditions are going to make this an interesting and error-strewn game. Riether's cross from the right skims off the turf towards Berbatov, but Diarra is there to cut it out. Moments later, the German has another go and this time he finds Berbatov. The Bulgarian is offside as he fires over the top.
2: It's 3-5-1-1 for West Ham. Maiga is up front, with Nolan tucked in behind. Taylor and Demel are the wing-backs, with Diarra, O'Brien and McCartney at centre-half. Fulham attack down their right through Duff, but his cross is cut out at the near post and Noble can clear for a throw on halfway.
1: The fans have a new song for Maiga, by the way, alluding to his winner at White Hart Lane a couple of weeks back!
3pm - The Cottagers kick-off and immediately give the ball away to Maiga, who shoots after about five seconds from all of 35 yards. It dribbles wide. Weird start!
2.59pm - Fulham will kick-off.
2.55pm - The teams are here, led by captains Nolan and Parker. The rain is falling and the wind is blowing across the stadium. Great, old-fashioned conditions for a proper game of football! The Hammers fans behind the goal to my left are making an absolute racket. There are 3,000 of them here, plus I'm sure there are a few more in the Neutral Section.
2.50pm - It really is a horrible New Year's Day here on the banks of the River Thames in west London. Can the Hammers brighten things up by securing a victory today? One person who will certainly hope so is Sir Trevor Brooking, who is staring out into the gloom from his seat in the stand! As kick-off approaches, why not check out dozens of exclusive photos from Craven Cottage on our Official Facebook page. Simply click on the link above and feast your eyes!
2.30pm - Alou Diarra's name is on a Barclays Premier League teamsheet for the first time this season. The France international's only previous league appearance this season was eight minutes as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Cardiff City on the opening day of the campaign. He injured his knee ligaments in the Capital One Cup win over Cheltenham Town the same month before returning to first-team duty in the quarter-final win at Tottenham Hotspur in the same competition on 18 December. Today's start is Diarra's first in the Premier League since the 3-0 defeat at Sunderland on 13 January 2013.
2.20pm - The results might not have been great in recent weeks, but there is still no lack of spirit, togetherness and confidence in the West Ham ranks. Defender George McCartney is in the team today and he's been speaking to us about how things are behind the scenes: "You look over the last few weeks at the teams that have sacked their managers, the players haven't been happy with whatever way they were playing, all different things. But our dressing room is great, confidence is high, the spirit is high. We're all in it together and we're still doing all the right things on the training ground. It's after Christmas now and when you find yourselves in the bottom three, everyone maybe gets a little bit edgy and games you feel you should be winning you're just not getting across the line. It eventually catches up on you. The dressing room's great and we're just trying to move up the table again and get ourselves out of this situation."
2.05pm - The team news is in. Big Sam rings the changes following Saturday's 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion. Demel, Diarra, Taylor, Collison and Maiga come in, with Rat, Tomkins, Joe and Carlton Cole and Jarvis dropping out of the starting XI. Fulham have made seven changes from the side that lost 6-0 at Hull City, dropping Hughes, Zverotic, Ruiz, Karagounis, Rodallega, Kasami and Dejagah. In come Riether, Senderos, captain Scott Parker, Richardson, Duff, Taarabt and Berbatov.
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O'Brien, McCartney, Diarra, Noble, Collison, Nolan (c), Diame, Taylor, Maiga
Subs: Adrian, Jarvis, Rat, Downing, J.Cole, C.Cole, Potts
Fulham: Stockdale, Riether, Riise, Amorebieta, Senderos, Parker (c), Sidwell, Richardson, Duff, Taarabt, Berbatov
Subs: Bettinelli, Kasami, Kacaniklic, Hughes, Bent, Dejagah, Dembele
1.40pm - We'll have the team news confirmed in about 20 minutes. Before then, you can enter our matchday #WHULINEUP competition by guessing our starting XI. If you get it right, you could win a signed piece of Hammers memorabilia!
1.35pm - The Hammers have arrived at Craven Cottage, where the rain is now falling even harder than it was an hour ago! Carlton Cole will be hoping to add to the seven goals he has bagged in his last nine Premier League appearances against Fulham. He'll be encouraged by the fact Fulham have let in eleven goals in London derbies this season - more than any other team. Fulham have also conceded the opening goal in 14 of their 19 league games.
Good afternoon and a Happy New Year from a very wet and windy Craven Cottage!
West Ham United begin 2014 with a London derby and Sam Allardyce and his players will be absolutely desperate to start the new year with a vital and morale-boosting victory on the banks of the Thames.
The Hammers beat Fulham 3-0 in the reverse fixture at the Boleyn Ground on 30 November - Martin Jol's final game in charge of the Cottagers - and a repeat of that result this afternoon would take West Ham above their hosts and, hopefully, out of the bottom three.
Big Sam's side come into the game on a run of just one win - that success against Fulham - in their previous 12 Barclays Premier League matches, while the home side were thrashed 6-0 at Hull City in their last fixture on 28 December.
Since taking charge following compatriot Jol's departure, Dutchman Rene Meulensteen has overseen two victories - at home to Aston Villa and away at Norwich City on Boxing Day - and four defeats. Fulham have conceded 17 goals in his six games as manager and have both the Barclays Premier League's worst defence (41 goals conceded) and goal difference (minus 22).
Both managers have selection rather than New Year's Day hangover headaches to deal with!
Big Sam has no recognised fit centre-back available, with Winston Reid (ankle), James Collins (calf) and James Tomkins (groin) all out. Forwards Andy Carroll (foot), Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) and Mladen Petric (calf) are also unavailable, while winger Stewart Downing is still recovering from the gash to his Achilles he suffered at Liverpool last month.
One boost for the West Ham boss is the return from a groin injury of Ravel Morrison, but the lack of fit defenders means youngsters Leo Chambers and Dan Potts have been added to the squad.
Meulensteen, who has been joined at Craven Cottage by new technical director Alan Curbishley in recent weeks, could welcome back forward Dimitar Berbatov (groin) and centre-back Brede Hangeland (back). In goal, David Stockdale is set to continue as Netherlands international Maarten Stekelenburg has an ankle injury. United States international Clint Dempsey has re-joined Fulham on a two-month loan from MLS side Seattle Sounders, but is unavailable this afternoon.
Before the team news is confirmed at just after 2pm, why not enter one of our two matchday Twitter competitions - #WHULINEUP and #WHUGOAL - as you could win a piece of signed memorabilia!