Portsmouth 1 West Ham 1

westham.jpgWest Ham had to settle for a point in last night's relegation scrap at Fratton Park.

A 52nd minute goal by Matthew Upson looked to have secured the win for the Irons but Portsmouth's Danny Webber rescued his side with a fine low strike 14 minutes from full time.

It means West Ham have not won away from Upton Park since the opening day victory at Wolves, and with Bolton beating Burnley last night things are getting very tight at the bottom of the Premier League.

On a freezing night on the south coast West Ham were watched for the first time by their new joint chairmen, David Sullivan and David Gold, and the pair will have seen just how much the team needs to be strengthened if relegation is to be avoided.

But they will have taken heart seeing England striker Carlton Cole make his long-awaited comeback from injury as a second half substitute.

A scrappy first half saw neither side really take control, with both teams seemingly aware of what was at stake.

West Ham had the first serious chance, when teenage striker Frank Nouble forced a good save from Begovic, and the Bosnian keeper made it a double stop when he blocked Diamanti's effort from the rebound.

West Ham's Robert Green also distinguished himself a minute later when he dived to his right to palm away Aaron Mokoena's shot, although the England keeper had Mark Noble to thank for clearing Kaboul's volley off the line from the resulting corner.

Begovic was again called into action when he tipped Jack Collison's fulminating drive round the post.

With both sides desperate for points it was understandable that nerves would start to play a point in proceedings.

Kevin-Prince Boateng dragged a shot into the side netting on 70 minutes and it looked as though a goalless draw was on the cards.

But Upson opened the scoring on 52 minutes when Alessandro Diamanti's cross from the right was headed by Younes Kaboul against the advancing Upson's chest, with the ball looping past Pompey keeper Asmir Begovic.

Pompey hit back with substitute Webber latching on to John Utaka's through ball to slide the ball wide of Green and into the corner of the net from just inside the box.

With both sides desperate not to lose the closing minutes were somewhat frantic, and it was Portsmouth who came closest to snatching the win as Green made smart saves to deny Webber and Utaka.

Not a perfect start for the new owners, and Gianfranco Zola was disappointed with the result.

He said: "I think it feels like two points dropped. We had control of the game and I didn't see them coming back. We also had two chances to score again."

Portsmouth: Begovic, Kaboul, Hreidarsson, Finnan, Mokoena, Mullins (Vanden Borre, 64), Utaka, Boateng, Basinas, Wilson, Piquionne (Webber, 73). Unused subs: Ashdown, Ben-Haim, Hughes, Ritchie.

Booked: Mokoena, Boateng, Basinas

Goal: Webber, 76

West Ham: Green, Faubert, Spector, Upson, Tomkins (Da Costa, 80), Kovac, Noble, Collison, Behrami, Diamanti (Stanislas, 87), Nouble (Cole, 73). Unused subs: Stech, Daprela, Jiminez, Sears.

Booked: Noble

Goal: Upson, 52

Attendance: 18,322

Referee: Andre Marriner

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