For a man still waiting to lead West Ham to victory the thought for Alan Pardew must have been that in playing Wimbledon, the bottom side in the First Division, the fates would finally smile on him. Wrong. The Dons may be displaced but they are not as misguided as their League position suggests and, here in Milton Keynes, the Hammers' winless run extended to nine games, with Pardew's personal tally reaching seven.
Pardew had cried out for reinforcements after West Ham's goalless draw with Watford on Saturday. Clearly someone heard the Hammers' manager because he sealed the purchase of Marlon Harewood for £500,000 from Nottingham Forest in double-quick time.
Pardew duly lined him up in an aggressive three-man front-line that included the former Wimbledon striker, David Connolly, as well as Brian Deane. However, the early signs were not encouraging as they only managed one shot on target between them before half-time.
It reflected the Londoners' generally listless display, which saw them cede ever more possession and ground to Wimbledon, whose own form has improved of late, giving them hope of grinding their way out of the relegation zone.
Part of the need to hurry Harewood's transfer through was because of Jermain Defoe's five-match ban, which he is serving for two sendings-off already this season.
Kevin Horlock was also toying with a possible red card. The former Manchester City midfielder was booked within the first five minutes and quickly committed two more cautionable fouls that the referee generously chose to overlook.
Displaying a deadliness that neither he nor his fellow strikers hinted at in the first half, Deane broke the deadlock six minutes after the interval. A series of ricochets saw the ball run to the target man, and the former Leicester striker found the bottom corner of Steve Banks' net from 20 yards. But West Ham have found holding on to a lead hard and with 65 minutes gone Wimbledon were level. Their best move of the match saw a neat three-man interchange end with Jobi McAnuff sidefooting low past David James from six yards.
Wimbledon (4-5-1): Banks; Lewington, Leigertwood, Herzig, Darlington; Small (Gray, 68), Chorley, Nowland, Reo-Coker (Holloway, 90), McAnuff; Agyemang (Holdsworth, 84). Substitutes not used: Worgan (gk), Gier.
West Ham (4-3-3): James; Repka, Dailly, Pearce, Quinn; Horlock, Carrick, Mullins; Harewood, Deane (Hutchinson, 69), Connolly. Substitutes not used: Bywater (gk), Ferdinand, Garcia, Byrne.
Referee: B Knight (Orpington).Reuse content