West Ham 1 Everton 2
The Hammers slipped to defeat against Everton this afternoon in a match that was marred by some contentious refereeing decisions.
Sam Allardyce was able to welcome Jack Collison back to his squad for the first time this season but the Welsh midfielder had to be content with a place on the bench.
Everton got off to a good start and could have scored early through Distin but an early chance saw a header go over the bar.
Everton, as they pushed forward, thought they had opened the scoring when Osman headed home from a Banes corner but Anichebe was adjudged to have fouled Jaaskelainen, most neutrals would say it was a harsh decision.
But with fourteen minutes on the clock, and soon after the disallowed goal, West Ham went ahead when Carlton Cole controlled a ball from Matthew Taylor, wrong-footed a defender and smashed home an unstoppable shot past Howard in the Everton goal.
Everton, as the half progressed, responded with efforts from Pienaar, which was saved By Jaaskelainen, a Jelovic effort that flew wide and a Baines free kick that the keeper turned over the bar.
Half Time - West Ham 1 Everton 0
Trailing, Everton had a great chance to get level early on in the second half, but Jelovic, from eight yards out, hit his shot straight at the keeper. The visitors then had another opportunity but Gibson saw his free kick bend over the wall and hit the side-netting.
But West Ham`s defences were finally breached when Pienaar was given far too much time and his cross was met by Anichebe who guided his header into the net.
Minutes later West Ham were reduced to ten men when Carlton Cole was shown a straight red card, after appearing, to accidently, catch Baines with his studs. Taking the slow walk off, Cole received the sympathy of several Everton players whilst Big Sam looked bemused on the bench.
Matters went from bad to worse when Everton, soon after took the lead. Osman engineered some space in the area cutting the ball back and in the melee of players it looked as if Pienaar got the final touch as the ball ended up in the net.
West Ham had a late chance to grab a point when Nolan hit the side netting after Jaaskelainen had denied Osman and Jelovic with a double save but the referee was to have the last laugh when he sent Darron Gibson off late on.
Not the ideal result with Christmas looming but the effort was there and on another day, we could have had all three points, if another official had been in charge!