Hammers' ugly record continues

Posted by Peter Thorne

Bryn Lennon/Getty ImagesIt was a frustrating night all-around for Joey O'Brien and West Ham who fell 1-0 at Crystal Palace.

It's a sad fact that West Ham have failed to win two consecutive games since returning to the Premiership and that unsatisfactory record continued with a depressing 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace. With mission impossible coming up at Anfield at the weekend -- the last time West Ham won there, Geoff Hurst scored -- it seems as if it is one step forward, two back for Sam Allardyce's men.

- Report: Crystal Palace 1-0 West Ham

As if things couldn't have gone worse on the night for the manager, in one of those 'only at West Ham moments' that the claret and blue faithful seem to have endure so often, the away supporters had to watch as the only goal was scored by Crystal Palace forward Marouane Chamakh -- the same player that was on loan at Upton Park last season but was barely played, and left in the summer criticising Allardyce for the lack of opportunities he'd been given.

However, perhaps the fans shouldn't be wondering if they have left a decent striker slip through their fingers; the goal was the first the Moroccan has scored since August and the forward barely had to do anything, bar nod his head to an inswinging centre from Barry Bannan after the Palace player's first cross from a corner had failed to get past the first defender. It was a poor goal to concede though, and Allardyce will not be happy at the way his team defended with only a couple of minutes left before half-time.

West Ham had a large percentage of the play and looked comfortable for most of the time, but once behind, again their lack of a cutting-edge told. Meanwhile, as probably expected, new Palace boss Tony Pulis gave the south London side a more competitive edge; fighting for every ball and defending in depth on the rare occasions the Hammers threatened.

Mo Diame and Mark Noble had chances in the first half when the Hammers looked the more likely, but chasing the game in the second half, it was Palace who looked better and the visitors had to thank Jussi Jaaskelainen for two good saves, one full stretch from Jason Puncheon and another one-on-one with Cameron Jerome. Stewart Downing had the ball in the net just after the hour but James Tomkins had been deemed to have fouled in the build-up and the attempt was chalked off.

In truth though, West Ham only looked the part in the middle of the park and -- bar Downing -- there was not enough creativity to help, first Carlton Cole who started, and later Modibo Maiga when he came on just under the hour. Joe Cole -- as he did on Saturday -- substituted for Kevin Nolan, but there just wasn't enough spark to unsettle Palace who will be ecstatic at the win.

The uncomfortable fact is that West Ham not only lost to a team that has won only once at home since the start of the season, but they have given Crystal Palace a boost in their relegation battle that could pull the Hammers back into the mire. A golden opportunity to break the back-to-back record has been frittered away and this is a deeply disappointing defeat that Allardyce -- like his back four -- will have difficulty defending.

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