West Ham United 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Last updated : 25 August 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Substitute Lee Bowyer stepped from the bench to rescue a point for West Ham with his first-ever goal for the Hammers.

And that was no more than they deserved after dominating the proceedings only to find themselves trailing to Paul Scharner's spectacular 78th-minute overhead kick

Last Saturday evening, Wigan Athletic had topped the Premiership thanks to a 3-0 win over Sunderland and, seven days on, that predictably led to Chris Hutchings naming an unchanged side.

Following their opening day defeat against Manchester City , West Ham had got their season on the road with a victory at Birmingham City last weekend and that meant that Alan Curbishley made just one switch, as skipper Lucas Neill returned in place of substitute Jonathan Spector.

But with Dean Ashton only named on the bench and injured summer signings Scott Parker, Julien Faubert and Freddie Ljungberg all unavailable, the Hammers' boss still could not name his strongest side against former Brighton & Hove Albion team-mate, Chris Hutchings.

With three wins from their previous four league visits to Upton Park, the fourth-placed Latics also had history on their side, but it was West Ham who shone in the scorching sunlight in a one-sided opening half-hour that saw George McCartney send a long-ranger over the angle and another shot onto the roof of Chris Kirkland's net.

And with Craig Bellamy and Kieron Dyer busily buzzing around the Wigan defence, West Ham were left to rue the fact that Bobby Zamora had, seemingly, left his shooting boots in the dressing room with a series of mis-kicks and airshots.

On the quarter-hour mark, Mark Noble floated over a precision cross that was met by the soaring Zamora, who sent a downward header bouncing tantalisingly wide of Kirkland's right-hand post to the dismay of the home crowd.

Apart from the raiding Scharner's header that flew inches wide, Wigan had barely threatened and their cause was not helped by the retirement of the injured, in-form, Antoine Sibierski just before the interval.

But the visitors almost took a shock half-time lead when Jason Koumas sent a low 20-yarder crashing onto Robert Green's left-hand post and just after the break, breaking substitute Julius Aghahowa forced the ball over the advancing Hammers' keeper only to see it drift wide.

And after Noble sent a 20-yard pile-driver inches wide through a pack of bodies, Scharner again served notice that the visitors were still in the contest with a low 25-yard screamer, while Mario Melchiot also headed wide after Aghahowa had forced a brave save from Green just moments earlier.

With their excellent Upton Park record, Wigan's legacy of upsetting the east enders continued when they took the lead in spectacular style after Melchiot's long-throw was nodded on by Emile Heskey and Scharner sent an acrobatic overhead kick past Green from 12 yards.

But this time the Latics' joy did not last long and within just three minutes, Ashton combined with Luis Boa Morte, whose precision pass invited the overlapping Bowyer to place a crisp, angled 12-yarder wide of Kirkland.