Point eases Bilic’s woes
WEST Brom held West Ham to a forgettable draw as the Hammers continued to ease the pressure on boss Slaven Bilic. The visitors claimed their second clean sheet in a week after a 2-0 win over Huddersfield and took their first away point this season.
West Ham remain in the bottom three after five games, but there were at least more shoots of recovery for the visitors at the Hawthorns yesterday. They lacked a cutting edge, but claimed a useful point which could prove crucial for Bilic, even at this early stage of the season.
Pedro Obiang struck the bar from 45 yards, but there was little quality from either side, with James Morrison badly missing a header and Kieran Gibbs seeing a shot blocked for the Baggies.
West Brom boss Tony Pulis wanted his side to hit back following their 3-1 defeat at Brighton last week and was rewarded with a clean sheet, if not a victory. Gareth Barry equalled Ryan Giggs’s Premier League appearance record as he featured in his 632nd game, but that was the only memorable moment from a match which left a lot to be desired.
Albion created an early opening, as Chris Brunt skinned Obiang and Kieran Gibbs’ shot deflected for a corner, which Barry nodded over. But it was a scrappy opening.
It took almost half an hour for the Hawthorns to liven up, when Ben Foster claimed Michail Antonio’s low effort after 27 minutes, but the former England goalkeeper was left scrambling by Obiang two minutes later.
The midfielder spotted Foster off his line to launch an audacious 45-yard lob which looped over the back-pedalling goalkeeper before coming off the bar.
Andy Carroll fired over soon after as the Hammers began to exert some pressure, but Morrison wasted a fine opening for the hosts when he miscued a header eight minutes before the break.
Carroll was proving a nuisance, but a goal, for either side, looked remote, even if Jose Fonte nodded an early second-half corner wide. Little excitement followed before Foster escaped with a yellow card after 65 minutes when he clattered into Javier Hernandez just outside the box.
The goalkeeper survived thanks to two covering defenders. Carroll was replaced by Diafra Sakho late on, with the big striker clearly unhappy about it.
Hal Robson-Kanu headed weakly at Joe Hart in a rare late Baggies attack, but the game did not deserve a goal.