Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: West Ham 1 Blackburn 1

Thomas Hitzlsperger rescued a point for West Ham United with a sweet strike 12 minutes from the end of a tense relegation clash with Blackburn Rovers, who had led for most of the game through Jason Roberts’ close-range finish.

It was enough to end a run of five successive defeats that had pinned West Ham to the foot of the table but they had really required a victory going into the make-or-break final two matches, at Wigan and at home to Sunderland.

West Ham looked nervous at the back from the start and were duly punished after 13 minutes with a smoothly-worked goal from the visitors. Jermaine Jones’s pass found Brett Emerton free on the right and his low cross was turned in by Roberts.

With an industrious five-man midfield and the giant frame of Christopher Samba anchoring Blackburn’s uncompromising back line, an already arduous task had become yet more difficult for a west Ham side again without Scott Parker, their midfield mainstay who is still troubled by an achilles injury.

But with Blackburn content to defend deep in numbers, West Ham were able to press forward and the half chances started to come. Carlton Cole glanced Wayne Bridge’s deep cross wide, and Freddie Sears shot at goalkeeper Paul Robinson after being set up by Cole before half-time.

West Ham emerged after the interval with greater intent, and Hitzlsperger’s 20-yard rocket in the 50th minute was too hot for Robinson to gather at the first attempt. Still, though, Blackburn looked unmoved and West Ham manager Avram Grant was not slow to add to his attacking impetus, bringing on Robbie Keane and Frederic Piquionne.

West Ham’s frustrations were summed up when the Upton Park crowd jeered Manuel Da Costa’s over-hit crossfield ball with 18 minutes remaining. The clock was ticking down on an uninspiring encounter in which Blackburn were happy to soak up the limited dangers posed by the uninspired home side.

Demba Ba headed Cole’s cross wide 13 minutes from the end but then, 60 second later, the mood around Upton Park was transformed. Blackburn were suddenly struggling to clear the danger and Cole laid the ball back for Hitzlsperger to drive low past Robinson from just inside the penalty area.

It would have been even better for West Ham had Keane been able to apply a finishing touch to Piquionne’s cross two minutes from the end. Samba then blocked Cole’s drive deep in added time.

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