Allardyce laments lack of proven goalscorer

West Ham United 1 Watford 1

Upton Park

Sam Allardyce spent January adding strikers to his West Ham squad, just as in August, but still he fears that he lacks the firepower to secure automatic promotion in May. This game was a case in point. Chances were created, chances were spurned and in the end it was down to Ricardo Vaz Te, a substitute, to score the late equaliser that stopped Watford taking all three points.

Southampton are top, a point ahead of the Hammers, and Allardyce wishes his squad contained the equivalent of Saints' Rickie Lambert. "It all boils down to sticking the ball in the net," the manager said. "If we had Lambert in our team we would have won the title already. "We haven't got a anybody with 10 yet."

At least Vaz Te found the net, from 12 yards and off a post, just as Watford's teenage winger Sean Murray had at the other end in the 68th minute.

Sean Dyche, the Watford manager, was convinced that the home side's goal should not have been allowed.

"It should have been a free-kick for an overhead kick to the head by Carlton Cole in the build-up," he said. "Anywhere else on the pitch and it would have been a foul."

Allardyce countered that fortune had favoured the Hornets with their goal. Murray's shot beat the Hammers' goalkeeper, Robert Green, from a tight angle on the right. Replays indicated a deflection off Abdoulaye Faye.

"It was going nowhere until it was deflected," Allardyce said, "and when it went in I thought it was going to be one of those nights. Fair play to the lads, they got back into a winning position."

Allardyce admitted that his side's home form was poor. "It is very frustrating," he said. "We haven't shown nearly enough quality in the chances we created and nearly paid the price for it. We just can't find the cutting edge here at Upton Park. The chances we had and missed were disappointing. We nearly ended up losing this one.

"If we had won we would have been where we wanted to be but now we have dropped behind again. The most important thing is two points a game because I know what that gives us – automatic promotion."

A point was bittersweet for Dyche, not least because of an injury suffered by the defender Dale Bennett, who had to be carried off with his neck in a brace after receiving lengthy treatment on the pitch, early in the second half.

"He has gone to hospital and we are waiting for feedback," Dyche said. "We have been told it might not be as bad as it looked."

West Ham United (4-4-2): Green; O'Brien ( Lansbury, 74), Faye, Tomkins, McCartney; Faubert, Noble, Nolan, Matt Taylor (Vaz Te, 74); Maynard (Baldock, 62), Cole. Substitutes not used Boffin (gk), O'Neil.

Watford (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Doyley, Mariappa, Bennett (Martin Taylor, 58), Dickinson; Murray (Buaben, 88), Eustace, Hogg, Kacaniklic; Deeney, Iwelumo. Substitutes not used Loach (gk), Trotta, Garner.

Referee K Stroud (Hampshire).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral