Filed: Saturday, 25th August 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel
The Hammers were held to a draw at home in this afternoon's Premier League clash with Wigan.
Lee Bowyer came off the bench to save a point for United late on in the second half, minutes after Austrian Paul Scharner had given the visitors a 78th minute lead with a spectacular overhead kick.
West Ham went into the game with Lucas Neill reinstated to the side after recent injury, although Freddy Ljungberg and Scott Parker were still missing.
Alan Curbishley's side had the better of play in the first half and managed to hit the back of the net towards the end of the half - only for referee Andre Marriner to rule the strike offside.
The Hammers also saw a strong penalty appeal turned down when Mark Noble was manhandled in the box - not so, according to the man in black.
Wigan's best chance of the half came in the 42nd minute when Jason Koumas' strike cannoned back off the woodwork with Robert Green beaten.
The Latics - minus Chairman Dave Whelen who, coincidentally, is currently on holiday - lost leading scorer Antoine Sibierski to what looked like a hamstring injury otwards the end of the first half.
But that didn't stop them silencing a packed Boleyn crowd twelve minutes from time when Scharner gave Robert Green no chance with an overhead strike.
The Hammers - whose worrying lack of firepower was beginning to show with Craig Bellamy forced to retire having picked up a knock and Dean Ashton still looking less than 100% fit - had to respond quickly, and respond quickly they did when Lee Bowyer drilled home the equaliser just three minutes after Scharner's goal at the opposite end.
That Bowyer's strike was United's first goal of the season from open play will not have gone unnoticed in the boardroom; with just one week of the transfer window remaining efforts to boost Curbishley's attacking options are likely to be stepped up.
Overall it was a fair result for both sides, although the Hammers will perhaps feel aggrieved that a late penalty shout was ignored - again - by referee Marriner.
West Ham United: Green, Neill, McCartney, Ferdinand, Upson, Mullins (Bowyer 65), Noble, Dyer, Etherington, Bellamy (Boa Morte 75), Zamora (Ashton 61).
Substitutes: Walker, Spector.
Goals: Bowyer (81)
Booked: Upson (64, unsporting behaviour)
Wigan Athletic: Kirkland, Melchoit, Scharner, Bramble, Granqvist, Valencia (Brown 77), Koumas, Landzaat, Kilbane, Sibierski (Aghahowa 38), Heskey.
Substitutes: Pollitt, Hall, Folan.
Goals: Scharner (78)
Booked: Landzaat (54, unsporting behaviour)
Referee: Andre Marriner
Attendance: To be confirmed.
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