Supersub Stanislas saves Hammers
Junior Stanislas came off the bench to save West Ham United from defeat against ten-man Fulham with an equaliser two minutes into added time. But the Hammers were still booed off at Upton Park after throwing away a golden chance to secure a first victory since the opening day of the season.
West Ham were cruising at the interval after Carlton Cole's header earned them a deserved lead and Fulham had South African midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi sent off on his full debut. The Hammers lost all composure after the break and their defensive frailties were horribly exposed again as Danny Murphy drew Fulham level from the penalty spot before Zoltan Gera slotted home a far-post volley.
West Ham became increasingly desperate and it was more through luck than judgment that Stanislas earned the point, with a strike that deflected off Aaron Hughes to beat Mark Schwarzer. The result keeps both sides in the relegation zone and will do little to lift the pressure that is building on West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola.
Matthew Upson returned to the heart of West Ham's defence after missing the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City with a calf injury, while Zavon Hines came in for Radoslav Kovac.
West Ham dominated the first half and Fulham were somewhat fortunate not to be more than 1-0 down as they struggled to cope with Cole up front and Alessandro Diamanti's deliveries from the right wing. After Brede Hangeland had been booked for a clumsy challenge on Julien Faubert, it was Diamanti's vicious free-kick that allowed Cole to bury his header past Schwarzer at the near post.
Diamanti almost carved out a carbon copy minutes later when he curled a corner to James Tomkins at the far post, but the unmarked West Ham defender headed wide.
Murphy's quick free-kick released Andrew Johnson into the West Ham box, but Robert Green raced off his line to close the angle and the Fulham striker pulled his shot across goal and wide. But it was a rare opening for Fulham, who were on the back foot. Cole almost picked out Hines after an incisive passing move and he then sent Mark Noble through on goal with a deft touch from Luis Jiminez's lofted pass.
Scott Parker changed the point of attack with a driving run into the box and then had a 30-yard drive saved after Fulham had again failed to deal properly with another Diamanti cross from the right. Fulham were then reduced to ten men when Dikgacoi was sent off for an off-the-ball clash with Parker.
West Ham were playing slick, one-touch football, which allowed them to make use of the extra man to create two more chances before the interval. Noble's shot from inside the box was tame before Herita Ilunga slipped Hines into space and the young winger unleashed a sweet right-foot drive that flew just wide of the post.
West Ham were playing with such attacking verve it seemed victory was a formality, but Fulham emerged in the second half to produce the perfect example of how to play a man down. Chris Baird came on for Johnson to shore up the midfield and within 30 seconds they were ahead as Diomansy Kamara bustled into the area and was brought down by Upson.
Murphy beat Green from the penalty spot and West Ham began to lose their composure. Green reacted smartly to block Paul Konchesky's low free-kick but, from the resulting corner, Gera emerged unmarked at the far post to put Fulham ahead with a cool, side-footed finish.
Julien Faubert was booked for throwing the ball away after conceding a soft free-kick and the frustration began to grow around Upton Park. Zola made two changes just after the hour mark, with Parker replaced by Valon Behrami and Stanislas introduced for Hines.
Behrami brought urgency to West Ham, but Diamanti resorted to shooting on sight and Stanislas opted for a speculative drive from distance that flew over the bar. West Ham finally found the breakthrough two minutes into added time when Stanislas worked space inside the Fulham box and had his shot deflected past Schwarzer.