Harewood miss puts Pardew in perilous position

West Ham United 2 Leicester City 2
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The Independent Online

Sky were showing their 500th Football League fixture last night but it may just well turn out to have been Alan Pardew's last at West Ham. If he does leave - and Gordon Strachan is supposedly waiting in the wings - in the next fortnight, he will also reflect long and hard on a missed Marlon Harewood penalty.

Sky were showing their 500th Football League fixture last night but it may just well turn out to have been Alan Pardew's last at West Ham. If he does leave - and Gordon Strachan is supposedly waiting in the wings - in the next fortnight, he will also reflect long and hard on a missed Marlon Harewood penalty.

With one point from four games, Pardew's future is seemingly hanging by a slender thread and the last thing the Londoners' manager would have wanted was to see a player he sold go on and score against his team.

But, with 24 minutes gone, that was exactly what happened when Joey Gudjonsson played a pass that bisected the Hammers' midfield. Stephen Bywater hesitated, when he could have charged out and cleared, instead allowing Hughes into the penalty area, whereupon he duly fouled the midfielder. The referee spared West Ham a double punishment by not issuing a red card to the goalkeeper, showing a yellow one instead.

David Connolly, sold by Pardew last summer for £500,000 and back where he had played for a season, converted the spot-kick.

Yet despite this being West Ham's third game in a week they responded with an urgency that belied that statistic. Gone were the recent hesitancy and nervousness and within three minutes they were level.

Harewood used his pace down the right and his cross was inch-perfect for Teddy Sheringham, who headed home from six yards.

However, the visitors somehow went into the interval in the lead. Elliott Ward headed a long clearance by Walker straight to Keith Gillespie who gave Bywater no chance with a volley from 25 yards.

With the international break beckoning, Pardew needed a win to satisfy his board, who have grown frustrated at the club's lacklustre form. They did regain a foothold in this game when Sheringham hit his second equaliser of the night after 62 minutes.

With 10 minutes left, Nikos Dabizas was sent off for handling Mark Noble's goalbound shot and Harewood stepped up for the penalty, only to give Walker an easy save to his left.

West Ham Utd (4-4-2): Bywater; Newton, Ferdinand, Ward, Powell; Noble, Reo-Coker, Fletcher, Chadwick (Rebrov, 45); Sheringham, Harewood. Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Brevett, Mullins, Zamora.

Leicester City (4-4-2): Walker; Kenton, Dabizas, McCarthy, Maybury; Gillespie, Gudjonsson, Hughes, Tiattob (Williams, 61); Dublin (de Vries, 70), Connolly (Stewart, 82). Substitutes not used: Hirschfeld (gk), Moore.

Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands)

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