Friday 26 May 2017

Ba catches fire to stun Baggies

WEST BROM 3 WEST HAM 3

JOE LOVEJOY

If this is relegation warfare, who needs the Champions League contenders? A marvellously entertaining scrap, which could easily have ended six apiece, left both teams still in the mire, but the paying spectators with full value for money.





West Ham drop to the bottom of the table again, but it was their fans who headed for home in high spirits, chorusing "Bubbles" after a stirring fight-back that resulted in a well-merited point from a 3-0 deficit at half-time.

In Albion's case, new boss Roy Hodgson, who watched the match before formally taking charge at the Hawthorns tomorrow, can only have been encouraged by the way his new charges scored three without reply in a first half they dominated totally.

The disintegration that followed has left him with much to do, but defensive organisation has always been his forte.

They were ahead after only three minutes, when Graham Dorrans, returning after injury, beat Robert Green from 25 yards. Jerome Thomas angled his drive across Green, from left to right to make it 2-0 after eight minutes.

In the 33rd minute Dorrans's free-kick turned the West Ham defence to stone, nobody moving before Winston Reid, at the far post, turned the ball past Green.

At 3-0 it should really have been all over, but the 'boing-boing' fraternity knew better, and their fears were soon realised. West Ham were back in it six minutes into the second half, when Demba Ba scored from close in. Six minutes later Frederic Piquionne was left unattended near the byline on the right to set up Carlton Cole in nodding range for only his fourth goal in 25 league games.

West Ham had taken over completely, and it was no surprise when Ba's second made it 3-3 after 83 minutes,as hooked in on the volley.

Observer

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