West Ham 0, Manchester City 0

First published in Other Sport by

THE fireworks failed to materialise at the Boleyn Park this afternoon but the hosts put in a dogged display to take a point off the champions.

In fact, for all of Manchester City's possession, it was the Hammers who may feel most aggrieved after Kevin Nolan hooked the ball home expertly after three minutes only for it to be - wrongly - ruled out for offside.

It was an open start and, after Sami Nasri forced Jussi Jaaskelainen to parry his drive, England's number one Joe Hart showed all his class to push Yossi Benayoun's rasping volley over the bar.

It was an even first half but the clear chances fell to City - and Mario Balotelli, in particular. The Italian shot over with just Jaaskelainen to beat from Nasri's delivery, fired wide from Kolo Toure's cutback, and then hooked an improvised volley wide.

City - who'd seen city rivals United go top with a win over Arsenal in the early kick-off - continued to turn the screw after the break but Nolan's header wide, and Andy Carroll's overhead kick past the post, renewed the Hammers' belief and drew a thunderous roar from the crowd.

The home faithful had given the returning Carlos Tevez a warm welcome, and when the Argentinan screwed wide with a sight of goal just after the hour mark those fans burst into a humorous rendition of: "He wants to come home...".

Tevez was quickly back in the thick of it, centring for the arriving Gareth Barry - who was only given a start after James Milner was injured in the warm-up - but he screwed wide in front of goal after appearing to use his arm to control the ball in the first place.

The conclusion saw a resolute Hammers keeping their visitors at bay while continuing to conjure something on the break, but neither keeper was really stretched as honours ended rightly even.

West Ham (4-4-1-1): Jaaskelainen; McCartney, Reid, Collins, O'Brien; Benayoun, Diame (O'Neil 70), Noble, Jarvis; Nolan; Carroll (Cole 77).

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