West Ham, WBA share spoils
London - West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion each squandered opportunities to move away from the Premier League relegation zone in a topsy-turvy 3-3 draw at Upton Park on Saturday.
After Joe Cole put West Ham ahead in the fourth minute, Nicolas Anelka scored his first two West Brom goals to give the visitors a 2-1 half-time lead.
Substitute Modibo Maiga equalised for West Ham and then teed up Kevin Nolan as the hosts went in front, but Saido Berahino struck two minutes later to earn managerless West Brom a point.
West Ham have won only once in 12 league games and the dropped points prevented them from climbing out of the relegation zone, while West Brom remain in peril after seeing their own winless run extended to nine matches.
West Brom caretaker coach Keith Downing gave Anelka his first start since late October in a new 3-5-2 formation and his side made a positive start, with Chris Brunt volleying into the side netting from James Morrison's cross.
However, from the resulting goal kick West Ham went ahead, with Carlton Cole flicking on Jussi Jaaskelainen's high ball for Joe Cole, who exchanged passes with Nolan before drilling a low shot past Ben Foster.
West Ham then lost James Tomkins to a groin injury, with Guy Demel taking his place, but the hosts continued to push forward, with Demel striking the outside of the post and Mark Noble bending a free-kick narrowly wide.
West Brom had not mustered a shot in anger since falling behind, but in the 40th minute they drew level, with Anelka racing onto a lofted pass from Brunt and coolly clipping a low shot past Jaaskelainen.
It was a sucker-punch, and West Brom hit their hosts with another in first-half injury time, as Anelka poked home from close range after Jonas Olsson's header was blocked on the line by Carlton Cole.
Maiga replaced Carlton Cole at half-time and after seeing Berahino flash a shot just wide, West Ham set about restoring their lead.
Foster repelled Maiga's first effort of note with a fine diving save, but moments later the West Ham substitute found the back of the net with a low curling effort that the England goalkeeper should probably have saved.
Maiga came to the fore again two minutes later, nodding down a cross from Noble for Nolan to hook home, only for Berahino to equalise almost immediately with a low drive that went in off the right-hand post.
West Brom came closest to snatching all three points, but Brunt could only shoot straight at Jaaskelainen from a promising position and Berahino saw an 81st-minute free-kick come back off the post.