Date: 16th November 2008 at 6:07pm
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West Ham’s terrible run without a win was extended on Saturday as Portsmouth held Gianfranco Zola’s men to a 0-0 draw, though Robert Green kept a clean sheet for the first time this season.

Although Portsmouth dominated the first half of the match, recently criticised keeper Robert Green did well to prevent the visiting side scoring. The former Norwich player pulled out a string of saves to keep the Hammers in the match, who looked more positive in the second half.

West Ham did have a handful of chances in the first 45 minutes though, Freddie Sears claiming a penalty on behalf of Sylvan Distin who had appeared to have handled the ball. Herita Ilunga had also done well to cross the ball into the danger area for Carlton Cole, who could not connect.

Ilunga though turned out to be a weakness in the Hammers team, being exposed by former Hammer Glen Johnson for Pompey to go on and almost score, first providing for another ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe, second allowing Johnson himself to shoot.

Defoe had a number of key chances in the first half, producing several impressive runs and was unlucky to score, thanks to the key resurgence in form of Green, under the watchful eyes of England manager Fabio Capello – Green was unlucky to miss out on a place in the squad.

After the restart, Craig Bellamy beat David James to hit the crossbar from a free kick just outside of the penalty area following a foul on the returning Valon Behrami.

Following a few chances for the Hammers in a row, the home support picked up and as did the team, forcing James to produce a couple of decent saves but no-one of either team was sharp enough to break the deadlock and a 0-0 draw was fair.

Next up is Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, an intimidating place in which West Ham have had limited success recently. With the Black Cats also struggling for form, a win would be crucial for either team.
Gianfranco Zola on not conceding:
West Ham team:
Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga (Faubert 61), Behrami, Parker (Mullins 75), Collison, Sears (Etherington 46), Cole, Bellamy.

Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Davenport, Bowyer, Di Michele.

Portsmouth team:
James, Johnson, Kaboul, Distin, Pamarot, Diop, Davis, Diarra (Armand Traore 19), Belhadj, Crouch (Kanu 75), Defoe.

Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Nugent, Mvuemba, Hughes.

Gianfranco Zola on not conceding:
‘It’s been a problem for a while, so today was important – we didn’t create a lot but a clean sheet is excellent for the players’ morale.

‘Robert Green was outstanding, I’m pleased for him as we concede a lot of goals and I’m sure it’s frustrating for him, but I think today made up for it.

‘Today was a tough match – they gave everything, which is a good thing for me.’