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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Watford 1-1 West Ham
By Chris Bevan

Watford's Danny Shittu (l) and Marlon Harewood tussle for possession
Watford's Danny Shittu (l) tussles with Marlon Harewood
Watford had to work hard to pick up their first point of the season in an entertaining draw with West Ham.

The Hornets came closest to scoring in the first half when Marlon King flicked Hameur Bouazza's cross against a post.

West Ham upped the pace after the break only for Watford to take the lead when King smashed the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area.

However, Bobby Zamora replied instantly by bundling home Paul Konchesky's cross to continue West Ham's unbeaten start.

Watford had been unlucky to lose out against Everton on the opening day of the season and they were clearly keen to make amends on home turf.

606 VIEW

Aidy Boothroyd's side showed plenty of industry and effort in the opening minutes and had the best chances of the first half.

They were desperately close to taking the lead when Bouazza surged down the left and sent in a cross that King side-footed against the far post.

The Hornets' tactics were to get the ball into the box as often as possible and they almost paid dividends again soon after.

Another Bouazza cross was met by the head of Darius Henderson and Ashley Young reacted quickly to send an acrobatic overhead kick bouncing just wide.

The Hammers were struggling to create chances but they at least looked strong down the flanks where Konchesky and John Paintsil - on his first start - got forward at every opportunity.

But it was only after the break that the visitors began to put the Watford defence under any real pressure.

A deep cross from the impressive Paintsil was headed straight at Watford keeper Ben Foster by Konchesky.

And Foster was called into action again soon after when Harewood and Zamora linked up on the edge of the area, allowing Bowyer to drive in a low shot which the Watford keeper had to scramble to save.

Watford had only threatened sporadically since the restart but surprisingly took the lead on 63 minutes.

Ashley Young teed up King on the edge of the area and the former Gillingham striker sent his shot rocketing past the helpless Roy Carroll.

But the home side's lead lasted only seconds before West Ham were level.

Konchesky found space on the left and his low cross hit Zamora on the knee and flew into the net despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Straight after their equaliser, Hammers boss Alan Pardew sent on Teddy Sheringham and Yossi Benayoun for Marlon Harewood and Danny Gabbidon and switched his formation from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2.

Veteran striker Sheringham, 40, was making his 700th League appearance but he could not influence the outcome here.

It was Watford who came closest to grabbing a winner when only a superb save by Carroll stopped Anton Ferdinand from deflecting King's cross into his own net from close range.

  • Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd:
    "We play to our strengths and if that upsets some people, it does not worry me.

    "If people don't like it, it doesn't matter. It is what we will be doing so they need to get ready.

    "People talk about our need to adapt to the Premiership, but it is about making the Premiership adapt to us."

  • West Ham manager Alan Pardew:
    "If I were a neutral I'd say Watford deserved to win, given their endeavour, organisation and the way they tried to stop us from playing.

    "I feared that, as it was their first home game of the season, we were catching them at the wrong time.

    "Sure enough they were in the mood, and they made it very, very difficult for us to introduce our style of play."

    Watford: Foster, Doyley, DeMerit, Shittu, Powell, Bouazza (Priskin 73), Francis, Mahon (Spring 45), Young, King, Henderson.
    Subs Not Used: Lee, Stewart, Mackay.

    Goals: King 63.

    West Ham: Carroll, Paintsil, Ferdinand, Gabbidon (Benayoun 66), Collins, Konchesky, Bowyer, Mullins, Reo-Coker, Harewood (Sheringham 66), Zamora (Cole 83).
    Subs Not Used: Walker, Dailly.

    Goals: Zamora 65.

    Att: 18,344

    Ref: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).


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