West Ham fight back to draw

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:42

West Ham fight back to draw

The game sprung into life six minutes before the interval when City’s record-signing Abel Hernandez leaped above a static James Tomkins to head the hosts into the lead on his debut.
He almost doubled his and the Tigers’ tally five minutes later, but saw his goalbound effort come back off the crossbar.
However, Hernandez was then emulated by another debutant, as Enner Valencia, on his first start for the Hammers, unleashed a thunderous equaliser just five minutes after the break.
Former Hammer Mohamed Diame coolly converted an opportunist chance to give the home side the lead for the second time in the match after 64 minutes, but once again the visitors came straight back, this time after Diafra Sakho’s cross-shot managed to evade Hull keeper Allan McGregor and rebound off the legs of City skipper Curtis Davies to level proceedings for the second time.
Valencia almost won this enthralling encounter at the death for the Hammers, but saw his header deflected over by Michael Dawson on the line.
The result, West Ham’s first draw in 19 matches, sees Hull sneak into the top half, while Sam Allardyce’s men climb to 13th.
It was a very cagey affair in the opening exchanges, with neither side managing to create any meaningful chances, and possession was squandered far too frequently.
Stewart Downing had the best of the early chances, playing a neat one-two before lashing the ball over the bar from the angle.
Another debutant Sakho did come mightily close as the game opened up, only to see his deflected header brilliantly clawed away by Allan McGregor with the goal gaping.
However, a rare piece of first-half quality broke the deadlock, with Hernandez showing why Hull boss Steve Bruce parted with such a hefty fee to secure his services, getting up highest to head a pinpoint Ahmed Elmohamady cross past the despairing dive of West Ham stopper Adrian.
On a high, Hernandez tried his luck from distance just before the break, but his rasping effort came back off the underside of the crossbar, with Adrian beaten.
The Hammers needed the break, and came out a different side after Allardyce had obviously rallied his troops in the dressing room.
And their pressure told, as Valencia produced an incredible strike to make matters all square.
It looked like the Ecuadorian forward had run out of ideas, but he shifted the ball to his right, and fired an unstoppable effort past a helpless McGregor to equalise.
Adrian saved well from Hernandez as Hull looked to immediately respond, but the home fans, who voiced their disapproval at plans to sell the club all evening, did not have to wait long for their side to regain the lead.
Against his former club Diame simply showed more desire than Cheikhou Kouyate, stealing the ball off the West Ham midfielder, carrying it forward and curling a sublime effort past Adrian.
Yet, once again, Hull were caught out at the back just two minutes later. A lovely disguised pass from Downing played Sakho in, who turned and fired goalwards, but Davies in trying to block got in all kinds of trouble, and diverted the ball just over the line.
Adrian saved well from substitute Robbie Brady as the hosts went in search of a winner, but it was Valencia who almost snatched three points right at the death.
Picked out at the back post, the 25-year-old escaped his defender, headed down into the ground, beat McGregor, but Dawson managed to somehow flick the ball onto the crossbar, and over.

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