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Wide boys impress as City earn point
Published : 09 May 2010 18:26:00
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson pressed their World Cup claims by combining to earn Manchester City a point in a 1-1 draw at West Ham. England assistant coaches Franco Baldini and Ray Clemence were in the stands to run their eye over six potential summer stars ahead of Tuesday's 30-man provisional squad announcement. Wright-Phillips' far-post header from Johnson's cross drew Manchester City level after Luis Boa Morte had put West Ham ahead on his return to the side after a year on the treatment table. The two City wide-men caused West Ham problems all afternoon while West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green and Matthew Upson both acquitted themselves well. Scott Parker was his usual tenacious self but Baldini will have left disappointed by the contribution of Carlton Cole, who has been troubled by a long-standing knee injury but hardly made any impact. Parker had been tipped by West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola as the ideal replacement should City midfielder Gareth Barry fail to recover from an ankle injury in time. Patrick Viera replaced Barry today while Sylvinho, Roque Santa Cruz and Wright-Phillips all came into the team following the midweek defeat to Tottenham, which had cost City a shot at Champions League qualification. Boa Morte was making his first West Ham start since the final game of last season after finally recovering from knee ligament damage - and he marked it with a delightful goal. With nothing for either team to play for, the match had a relaxed, end-of-term feel about it and led to an enterprising first half. West Ham found some early space in behind Viera and Ilan almost picked out Cole with a dinked ball over the City defence before Boa Morte skewed a 25-yard shot wide. Wright-Philips cut open the West Ham defence with a pass in behind Julien Faubert but Sylvinho's whipped cross was just too high for Santa Cruz. Julien Faubert tested the City defence with a wicked free-kick, which Vincent Kompany did well to clear at the last second, before Alessandro Diamanti created the opening goal. The Italian's crafty back-heel sent Boa Morte through on goal and the Portuguese midfielder clipped the ball over advancing City goalkeeper Marton Fulop. But City hit back within three minutes with a far-post header from Wright-Phillips - all 5ft 6in of him - after Johnson had dug out a right-wing cross. Johnson was making the most of his opportunity to impress and he drew strong penalty shouts from Manchester City after cutting dangerously into the box. Johnson beat Daprela and Radoslav Kovac before going down under a challenge from Upson but referee Howard Webb was convinced the West Ham defender had got a toe to the ball. Diamanti worked space for himself outside the City box after a driving run from Ilan and drilled a low shot which just clipped the outside of Fulop's right hand post. But City were soon back on the attack and Johnson, this time attacking through the middle, teed up Emmanuel Adebayor who forced Green into a smart reaction save. Santa Cruz met Johnson's subsequent corner with a clean header and should have hit the target from seven yards but his effort fell wide. Wright-Phillips caused a scare for West Ham early in the second half when he cut in from the left wing before trying his luck from 25 yards but the shot flew harmlessly over. Diamanti tried an acrobatic strike before Parker forced the ball to Ilan, who found himself clean through on the keeper with an excellent chance to put West Ham ahead but Fulop was quickly off his line to block the shot. Sylvinho jinked his way past two defenders and into the box but Manuel Da Costa, one of West Ham's most improved players this season, blocked his path. Santa Cruz rifled a shot over the bar before Pablo Zabaleta's dangerous run into the box was also blocked by Da Costa. Tevez received a standing ovation from the West Ham supporters when he came on for Santa Cruz with 17 minutes remaining. The Argentina striker almost marked his return with a goal but his cute attempt to lift the ball over Green came down on the roof of the net. But the game had lost its spark and both sides rounded off their seasons with a point.