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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future