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West Ham remain in relegation zone after West Brom draw

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The Canadian Press
12/28/2013 10:21:20 AM
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LONDON -- West Ham will head into 2014 stuck in the Premier League's relegation zone after twice surrendering the lead to draw 3-3 with West Bromwich Albion in a thrilling match at Upton Park on Saturday.

Former France striker Nicolas Anelka scored twice in a five-minute span -- his first goals for West Brom -- to put his team 2-1 ahead at halftime after Joe Cole had given West Ham a fourth-minute lead with a low shot.

Substitute Modibo Maiga curled a shot underneath goalkeeper Ben Foster for West Ham's equalizer in the 65th before heading across goal for Kevin Nolan to net a flying volley two minutes later, the captain's first goal since the start of the season.

That looked like giving the hosts a victory in what under-pressure manager Sam Allardyce had labeled a "must-win" game. But Saido Berahino's low finish in the 69th earned a point for West Brom, which is unbeaten in three matches under caretaker manager Keith Downing.

Of the teams to start the day in the bottom six, only West Ham hasn't changed its manager since the start of the season.

"Any of the six teams in trouble, if Sam is out of a job, they hire him to keep them up," Nolan said. "The chairmen have been brilliant with him, they understand we've had injuries. We're all in it together.

"We feel we'll be in the Premier League come the end of the season."

West Ham, which has won just one of its last 12 games, was fortunate to come away with a point after Berahino curled a free kick against the post in the 82nd.

By running on to Chris Brunt's pass and clipping home a finish in the 40th to make it 1-1, Anelka became the ninth player to score for six different Premier League clubs. It was his first goal in the English top division since August 2011.

Nicolas Anelka (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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