With two England goalkeepers between the posts it was perhaps no surprise that this game ended goalless but for the West Ham supporters who launched catcalls on the final whistle, a draw at home to Bristol City was nothing to be proud of, even though it kept Sam Allardyce's side in second place in the Championship and therefore on course for an automatic return to the Premier League.
Allardyce was quick to remind the dissenters of exactly that with a defence of a team that had squandered enough chances for a comfortable victory. "Was it harsh? Absolutely, 100 per cent yes," he said of the booing. "It didn't hurt because that's what fans can do if they feel we haven't won a game we should have done. It was an outstanding performance but not the right result. When you have 19 attempts at goal and 10 are on target you expect to win the game. We played far better tonight than we did against Leicester at the weekend and we won 3-2."
City goalkeeper David James, a Hammer between 2001 and 2004, must have suspected he was in for a busier night than Robert Green, the man he replaced in the England starting line-up after just one game of the ill-fated 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. So it proved as the veteran denied Frédéric Piquionne and Kevin Nolan before half-time, although a long-range effort from Freddie Sears did get the better of him before bouncing back off a post.
It was a similar story after the break although down to poor finishing rather than goalkeeping proficiency: Piquionne was guilty of two glaring misses within as many minutes, Nolan fired against James' legs, Julien Faubert and substitute Carlton Cole blazed over with all the goal to aim at and, finally, Mark Noble headed one last clear chance desperately wide.
The point lifted Bristol City off the bottom of the table above Doncaster. "It's a great point for us," said new manager Derek McInnes. "David James was well protected and everyone worked hard."
West Ham United (4-4-1-1): Green; O'Brien, Reid (Faye, 7), Tomkins, McCartney; Faubert, Noble, Nolan, Sears (Diop, 76); Piquionne; Baldock (Cole, 68). Substitutes not used: Kurucz (gk), Hall.
Bristol City (4-5-1): James; Skuse, Fontaine, Nyatanga, McGivern; Cisse (Wilson, 81), Elliott, Kilkenny, Woolford (Bolasie, 67), Adomah; Maynard (Clarkson, 87). Substitutes not used: Gerken (gk), Wilson, Pitman.
Referee M Haywood (W Yorkshire).Reuse content