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 Monday, 9 December, 2002, 07:03 GMT
Ehiogu denies Hammers
Hammers midfielder Joe Cole
Cole broke the deadlock early in the second half
Middlesbrough 2-2 West Ham

Middlesbrough defender Ugo Ehiogu denied West Ham the three points with an equalising goal two minutes from time at the Riverside.

Ian Pearce looked to have eased the pressure on Hammers manager Glenn Roeder with a 76th minute strike.

The big defender was thrown into an attacking role with Jermain Defoe in the absence of the injured Paolo di Canio and he responded with the Hammers' second goal 14 minutes from time.

Key moments
46 mins: Joe Cole scores with a fine individual effort
58 mins: Szilard Nemeth gets an equaliser for Boro
76 mins: Ian Pearce gets the Hammers' second
88 mins: Ehiogu equalises for Boro
But Ehiogu scraped a point for Middlesbrough with a header from a Geremi corner and kept their unbeaten home record intact.

It was a cruel blow for the struggling Hammers who dominated for much of the game and had looked good value for a win that would have moved them off the bottom of the table.

They made a bright start and almost went into a second-minute lead, but midfielder Edouard Cisse saw a header cleared off the line.

But the home side soon got into the game when Geremi sent in a header towards the far post that David James just managed to parry to safety.

I thought we deserved to win, no question about that

West Ham United manager Glenn Roeder

There was more danger for Roeder's side from the corner when the ball flicked off Cisse's head and against the woodwork.

The recalled Cisse was finding himself at the heart of the action on his return to the side.

He then cut inside from the right and fired in a powerful shot, but Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer did well to tip the ball over for a corner.

Steve McClaren (left) and Glenn Roeder
Roeder (right) got a good effort from his players
West Ham maintained the pressure and Defoe's shot was blocked before Pearce was denied by Schwarzer with the follow-up.

Defoe beat the keeper in the 35th minute but saw his lob drop just wide of the upright.

The luck finally turned for West Ham after less than a minute of the second half when they went ahead from a superb effort from Joe Cole.

It was vital that we did not get beat today - we and Southampton are the only teams not to have been beaten two games on the bounce

Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren

The Hammers stand-in skipper went past Franck Queudrue before slotting his shot past Schwarzer and in off the post.

Middlesbrough could have been back on level terms almost immediately when Massimo Maccarone set up Alen Boksic who got free to shoot, but James pulled off a smart save.

James then almost gifted Middlesbrough a way back after making a mess of a Geremi cross, but Boksic failed to take advantage.

The Hammers' defence finally gave way in the 58th minute when Boksic set up Szilard Nemeth and the half-time substitute beat James.

West Ham went back in front when Defoe's shot was blocked by Queudrue and the ball fell to Pearce who fired past Schwarzer.

Middlesbrough appeared to have run out of ideas but, just as it looked like their unbeaten record at home was over, Ehiogu popped up to head a dramatic equaliser.


Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Queudrue, Ehiogu, Southgate, Vidmar (Nemeth 45), Parnaby, Boateng, Greening, Geremi, Maccarone (Wilkshire 89), Boksic (Whelan 86).

Subs Not Used: Wilson, Crossley.
Booked: Parnaby.

West Ham: James, Winterburn, Repka, Dailly, Schemmel, Sinclair, Carrick, Cisse (Moncur 85), Cole, Defoe, Pearce (Breen 90).

Subs Not Used: Van Der Gouw, Minto, Camara.
Booked: Repka.

Attendance: 28,283

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

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 BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"West Ham were organised and committed"
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