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Nicolas Anelka scored a double as West Bromwich Albion twice came from behind to earn a thrilling 3-3 draw at West Ham United.
Joe Cole opened the scoring inside the first four minutes for the hosts, only for Anelka to return to haunt former manager Sam Allardyce, who signed the Frenchman for Bolton Wanderers in 2006, with a brace that put West Brom in command.
Anelka's first goals for the Midlands club proved not to be enough to secure the points as the hosts launched a second-half fightback, substitute Modibo Maiga restoring parity as Ben Foster was unable to stop the forward's shot creeping into the net and Kevin Nolan pouncing to net his first goal since the opening day of the campaign. West Brom refused to lie down and secured a share of the spoils after 69 minutes, Saido Berahino's fine effort from an angle ensuring West Ham remain in the relegation zone, although the visitors are nine without a league triumph.
Jussi Jaaskelainen returned to West Ham's XI in place of Adrian, while Berahino and Anelka led the line for West Brom in six changes made by interim head coach Keith Downing.
The visitors went close early on when Chris Brunt volleyed into the side-netting from James Morrison's cross. However, they fell behind moments later, Joe Cole slotting home with a cool finish following neat link-up play with Nolan.
James Tomkins was forced off with a groin injury, and replaced by Guy Demel, and the switch seemed to give West Brom the initiative in possession as they dominated play. However, it was the hosts who continued to create the better opportunities, Carlton Cole heading over from a Matt Jarvis corner before Demel shot wide from point-blank range.
Mark Noble spurned another chance for West Ham as he curled a free-kick off target, and Allardyce's men were made to pay for their profligacy just five minutes before the interval when Anelka converted from Brunt's through-ball to net for his sixth different Barclays Premier League club.
Anelka put West Brom ahead in first-half injury time with his second after the hosts had failed to clear Brunt's corner.
Maiga was brought on for Carlton Cole at the break and made an instant impact, testing the reflexes of Foster before finding the net in the 65th minute with a curling shot that crept under the England goalkeeper's body. The turnaround looked to have been completed two minutes later when Nolan bundled the ball home from a Maiga knock-down to score only his second goal of the campaign.
But there was to be yet another twist in the tale, which came courtesy of England Under-21 forward Berahino, who teased the West Ham defence before firing in off the far post. West Brom finished the contest the stronger of the two sides, Berahino hit the woodwork with a free-kick, but the visitors could not find a dramatic late winner.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "The game was very frustrating. There is a reason why that happened, none of our centre-backs are fit. Losing James Tomkins was a big blow for us. Our coping mechanism was playing four full-backs across the back four. That has cost us three points. They did their very best but got caught out. We didn't have enough aerial threat defending corners.
"We showed great fighting spirit in the second half. We practise on the training ground how to hold on to leads. But the players forgot how to deal with West Brom's kick-off and stop them scoring. You can blame anxiety or fatigue, but you can't forget how to deal with them."
West Brom interim head coach Keith Downing: "That [the character] comes from the players. They take a lot of credit from the fact that they grow when we concede. From Hull onwards, through Tottenham and today - twice coming back - that goes down to the players' attitude to get themselves back into the game.
“He [Anelka] had a good game. He combined with Berahino really well. He has the quality to drop in and link the play and controls the game from that area. He got on the shoulder for his first goal and then a typical poacher's goal from the corner. It has been a while since he has played but his dedication and attitude has always been spot on. He is prepared to play and wants to play."
|19 Apr 2014||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|22 Mar 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
|11 Jan 2014||v Cardiff (A)|
|26 Apr 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|01 Jan 2014||v Fulham (A)|
|26 Mar 2014||v Hull (H)|