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Sunday, 17th September 2000

West Ham United 1
Liverpool 1

by Graeme Howlett

The Hammers failed yet again to muster a first win of the season - but once again showed signs that those first three points won't be too far away following an excellent performance against a resilient Liverpool side.

Despite going a goal down to virtually the first attack of the game from the visitors, the Hammers showed dogged determination and eventually scored the goal which earned them a deserved draw when Paolo Di Canio struck the equaliser from the spot in the 70th minute.

It was a goal which looked for long periods as if it would never arrive, as Liverpool, playing just one up front due to the enforced absence of in-form Michael Owen shut up shop after the break.

But accusations of a confidence shortage at Upton Park were proved to be wildly inaccurate as the Hammers continued to create wave after wave of attacks which eventually culminated in the penalty, with just 20 minutes remaining.

Even so after the goal either side could have snatched all three points, with chances going begging for both.

The Hammers were yet again fielding the less than 100% trio of Ferdinand, Sinclair and Kanoute. Harry Redknapp confirmed after the match that none had trained properly since last week's match at Tottenham. But unlike last week you couldn't tell, as all put in solid performances.

But it all started so badly for the Hammers. After just 11 minutes Danny Murphy's low cross evaded everyone except Steven Gerrard, who slid in at the back post to touch home past the stranded Hislop.

The Hammers responded well after the goal, but yet again failed to provide the clinical finish which had eluded them so often this season. Joey Cole and Paolo Di Canio put in wonderful cameo performances to the delight of the approving crowd, and created the best chance for the Hammers between them following an exquisite back-heel from Cole, but Di Canio's toepoke was safely gathered by Westerveld.

The second period saw the Hammers continue in the same vein; Freddie Kanoute was the constant thorn in the visitors side, but he failed to convert three good chances that came his way.

But when he seemed to have spurned a golden opportunity on 70 minutes Liverpool defender Henchoz inexplicably pulled him down inside the box, which was the cue for the maestro. Up stepped Di Canio, who neatly despatched the ball beyond Westerveld to level the scores.

So another point for Harry's boys which still wasn't enough to haul them off the bottom of the table. A potential banana skin awaits on Tuesday when the Hammers visit second division pacesetters Walsall in the Worthington Cup, then it's back to the Premiership next weekend with a trip to Coventry. That elusive win surely can't be more than a few days away ...

West Ham: Hislop, Winterburn, Sinclair, Ferdinand, S.Pearce, Lomas, Stimac, Cole, Carrick, Di Canio, Kanoute

Subs: Forrest, Peacock, Potts, Newton, Keller

Liverpool: Westerveld, Henchoz, Song, Babbel, Heskey, Murphy, Hamann, Gerrard, Barmby, Carragher, Traore.
Subs: Ziege (Murphy 70), Heggem (Gerrard 72), Arphexad, Fowler, Diomede

Booked: Murphy, Song

Goals: Gerrard (12), Di Canio (70)

Attendance: 25,998

Referee: D.Elleray

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