A thrilling game of attacking football, defensive howlers, penalty claims and stunning saves ended with just about the right result. But, although Leeds United will take inspiration from a dynamic performance that could have brought them a first away win of the season, Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager, is concerned by the "fear factor" when playing at Upton Park.
After losing their opening home match to a late goal by Cardiff City, West Ham conceded a 90th-minute equaliser to Adam Clayton yesterday. "Two points thrown away," Allardyce said. "At home you've got to take the responsibility to retain possession of the ball and see the game out.
"Having won two games away, which is the difficult thing, we've taken one point from two home games. We weren't clever enough in either game. A result like today's puts a fear factor in everyone before the next home game."
Simon Grayson, the Leeds manager, had sensed the nervousness. "But they've got to deal with that," he said. "When you've got Premier League players, everyone wants to beat you."
West Ham were ahead after six minutes, when Cole met Matt Taylor's corner with the outside of his right foot six yards out. But Leeds shrugged off the setback and poured forward, the home side's midfield unable to stem the tide. Robert Green, on his 200th appearance for West Ham, saved well from Max Gradel's snap-shot, then turned aside Andy Keogh's effort, and was relieved to see Gradel hit a 27th-minute penalty wide after Taylor had handled.
Andy Keogh and Ross McCormack were proving especially hard to subdue, and Keogh's backheeled pass allowed Robert Snodgrass to cross for McCormack's overdue equaliser.
Now, you felt Leeds must go on to win – so, naturally, West Ham regained the lead almost immediately as Julian Faubert crossed from the right and Kisnorbo volleyed the ball into his own net. West Ham almost distorted the scoreline further, but Andy Lonerghan tipped over James Tomkins's header and somehow blocked Winston Reid's point-blank volley before Parker's shot was deflected on to a post.
That resistance paid off. A cross from the right reached Jonathan Howson, whose shot came back off the bar, but Clayton smacked home the rebound. "We could have buckled after their early goal but we got back into it," Grayson said. "The own goal knocked the stuffing out of us but the equaliser was the least we deserved."
West Ham United (4-2-3-1) Green; J O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, Ilunga; Noble (Piquionne, 81), Parker; Collison (Faubert, 58), Nolan, Taylor; Cole (Carew, 66). Substitutes not used Boffin, Barrera.
Leeds United (4-4-2) Lonergan; Lees, Kisnorbo, O'Dea, White; Snodgrass, Clayton, Howson, Gradel (Sam, 88); McCormack (Nunez, 77), Keogh.
Booked: West Ham Tomkins, Leeds, O'Dea.
Man of the match Green.
Referee M Oliver (Northumberland).
Attendance 28,252.Reuse content