West Ham and West Brom share spoils
WEST HAM 1 WEST BROM 1
Rickie Lambert climbed off the bench to rescue a point for West Brom in a 1-1 draw against West Ham at Upton Park.
The striker had been on the pitch just five minutes as a half-time substitute when his shot deflected in off Hammers defender Winston Reid.
The fortuitous strike cancelled out a superb free-kick from Mauro Zarate which had given West Ham an early lead.
But the Hammers, now without a win in four games, will look back on a host of missed opportunities to stretch their advantage before Lambert pegged them back.
Zarate, only in the West Ham side due to the recent injury suffered by playmaker Dimitri Payet, was at the heart of the action throughout the first half.
His first opportunity arrived after Manuel Lanzini's delightful, jinking run into the area, but Zarate sliced his shot into the side-netting.
Moments later the former Birmingham striker lost the ball in midfield and Salomon Rondon was inches away from giving West Brom the lead with a fierce drive which flew just wide.
But in the 17th minute Zarate found the target in style after Gareth McAuley fouled Diafra Sakho just outside the area.
The Argentinian curled the free-kick up and over Albion's defensive wall and out of the reach of goalkeeper Boaz Myhill into the top corner.
West Ham should have extended their lead but Cheikhou Kouyate glanced Aaron Cresswell's inviting cross wide and Myhill twice denied the lively Lanzini.
Sakho would have scored but for a brave last-ditch block from Jonny Evans and Victor Moses blazed an angled shot over the crossbar.
And West Ham were paid to pay for those missed chances five minutes after the interval when a half-cleared cross fell to Lambert, who fired the rebound straight at the arm of Hammers skipper Reid.
Lambert immediately appealed for a penalty but quickly changed his tune as he saw the ball bouncing past wrong-footed keeper Adrian and into the net.
Suddenly Adrian was the busier of the two keepers, getting down well to keep out a curling Lambert free-kick before pulling off a fine point-blank save from Rondon's close-range header.
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic threw on Andy Carrroll in search of a winner, but promptly lost Sakho to injury after the striker stretched for a shot which was deflected into the side-netting by Jonas Olsson.
Moses had a chance to win it for the hosts two minutes from the end but the Chelsea loanee volleyed Lanzini's chip across goal and wide.