Brooking moves on to leave parting gift of profligacy

West Ham United 2 Burnley 2
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The Independent Online

Trevor Brooking's period as West Ham's caretaker manager came to a frustrating end at Upton Park yesterday when chance after chance was wasted to leave the new manager, Alan Pardew, probably believing that his first priority should be simple shooting practice.

So Brooking now relinquishes control of the team with only one defeat in 11 matches and the fans and players, although they would like him to stay, have to be content with his confidence-building groundwork after the upheavals that followed last season's relegation. He will never stop being like some kindly godparent, which is why he is concerned that the squad must be strengthened if a sustained return to the top division is achieved.

Brooking has been worried about the team's continued dropping of points and this match turned out no differently. He admitted: "It was good for Alan to see what's needed - we've got vulnerable points. We are definitely not the finished article. He's got four hard games in 10 days even before he gets much time on the training ground.''

Yesterday the return of Jermain Defoe and David Connolly to the West Ham attack initially had an encouraging influence. Defoe's nimbleness and Connolly's directness, supported by composed midfield construction, left only the need to finish the work. Brooking's worries over that requirement were justified up until the 20th minute.

Michael Carrick gently eased a pass forward for Defoe, who nipped away from none-too-alert defenders and sent in a shot that Brian Jensen did well to deflect. But it only went as far as Connolly who, without opposition, lodged West Ham's first.

Burnley's defensive uncertainty against the questioning West Ham front pair was unrelieved. Carrick appeared to have complete control behind them yet after 38 minutes Luke Chadwick intercepted a loose pass, Ian Moore threaded the ball across the goalmouth and Delroy Facey comfortably equalised.

West Ham's inadequacy in completing their own attacking industry returned with Defoe and Connolly squandering promising chances.In an attempt to improve the finishing Brooking switched from 4-4-2 and added Neil Mellor to the attack but almost instantly another chance disappeared as Ian Pearce stubbed a shot against Jensen.

Finally, West Ham paid for their profligacy when Moore chipped over David James and Tomas Repka could only help the ball in. Yet Brooking's admirable record was continued with a fine equalising volley from an awkward angle by the substitute, Don Hutchison.

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