West Ham extend unbeaten run to three by drawing with Everton

West Ham extend unbeaten run to three by drawing with EvertonAvram Grant's men are unbeaten in three league games and, as Scott Parker stated folllowing this battling draw, will approach the visit on Saturday of Wolverhampton Wanderers – who are bottom – with credible confidence that they can now avert the drop.

"We have a big game at the weekend and there are some positives to take. There are times when it will be a bit edgy when you are down the bottom of the league but we are confident we can get ourselves out of this," the midfielder said. "We needed to win today but we have come off a good result against Fulham [3-1 on Boxing Day], we have not lost a game and that's important."

Before this contest against David Moyes's fellow strugglers West Ham's return had been a draw at Blackburn Rovers and the victory over Fulham, so Grant hoped his team would climb from the relegation zone by beating an Everton side that had defeated Manchester City in their previous outing.

The Israeli, unable to select 10 first‑team regulars due to injury and suspension, also put Carlton Cole on the bench for a breather and witnessed a first half that ended in frustration due to Seamus Coleman's soft equaliser.

Before kick-off Grant had spoken confidently of his team feeling no exhaustion due to the tonic derived from the win on Sunday and on the quarter‑hour two moments suggested he was correct.

First came West Ham's opener. Freddie Sears forced a corner that was lifted in from the left by Parker. When a James Tomkins header was repelled by Tim Howard, Radoslav Kovac reacted first to hook the ball towards goal where Tony Hibbert sliced an unwanted finish beyond his keeper and the watching Coleman. The second illustration of West Ham's appetite came when Coleman, Everton's £60,000 acquisition from Sligo Rovers last year, zipped beyond their rearguard towards Green. But Matthew Upson raced back swiftly to thwart the threat.

Moyes had plumped for Tim Cahill as the lone striker in Everton's 4-1-4-1 formation. Though Everton pressed West Ham, the threat was sporadic and the sense was that Cahill would be better utilised in the less advanced position that allows him to shape play or drift forward.

"That is an argument," Moyes said. "But I chose who I thought were the best players today."

Everton's equaliser arrived when Cahill dropped back and Coleman did the drifting. Steven Pienaar rolled a ball forward for Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard moved left before unloading a pass to Cahill who saw Coleman ghosting towards the post.

The left-back, Jonathan Spector, newly introduced for the injured Herita Ilunga, should have been patrolling there but the American had been sucked inside and Coleman calmly claimed a second league goal for Everton.

His strike gave Moyes a simpler half-time chat than Grant, who required only 11 minutes of the second half to decide that Cole should be introduced for Frédéric Piquionne. Cole was subsequently presented with a golden chance by Sears when his delivery from the right dropped sweetly into the forward's path but he could only scuff a disappointing attempt with his left foot.

Grant said: "I'm very pleased with the effort of the boys. To play two games in 48 hours is difficult." Now, he hopes for victory over Wolves.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jamie Jackson at Upton Park, for The Guardian on Tuesday 28th December 2010 21.22 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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