Allardyce worried by West Ham's late struggles at Upton Park

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The Independent Football

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has urged his players to turn Upton Park into a fortress after ex-Hammer Lee Bowyer returned to haunt his former club with a last-gasp winner for Ipswich.

The game looked destined to end in a stalemate until midfielder Bowyer pounced with a minute left to grab his first Ipswich goal.

This was the Hammers' first defeat in eight games, since a 1-0 reverse against Cardiff on the opening day, but after seeing his side concede a fourth late goal at home already this season, Allardyce knows things must change.

"We thought we had learned our lesson about conceding late goals but clearly we haven't," he said.

"I keep telling players to respect the points and how important they are and I think a 0-0 would have been a good point for us as we weren't at our best, particularly in the first half.

"We can't afford to throw points away, and more importantly at Upton Park, and that is four points we have thrown away late at home. This means we have to make these points up when we go away and we won't keep winning away so we need to sort it out. If we want to get to where we want to get to, then this isn't good enough."

In a first half that lacked any real quality it was the visitors who could count themselves unlucky not to find a goal: Michael Chopra was denied at close range by Robert Green while Bowyer hit the post.

Things failed to improve after the restart but Ipswich stole all three points in the dying minutes, Bowyer reacting quickest to a Keith Andrews header that hit the post from a Jimmy Bullard corner to drill home.

The Tractor Boys are now unbeaten in three games, conceding none in the process, and Paul Jewell was full of praise for his players despite some tired legs.

"This was our third game in eight days with pretty much the same squad and same team but I thought we deserved the win, particularly the way we played in the first half," the Ipswich boss said.

"Football is a funny old game though and we have a confidence in the team now where a month ago we looked bereft of ideas and couldn't pick our feet up.

"But since then we have had a change of fortune, the players realise they are good players and they are full of confidence."