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West Ham lucky to survive

West Ham, unbeaten in the League since last Boxing Day, only just survived a stringent test of their Championship aspirations against Liverpool, who were at their most workmanlike at Upton Park.

The Londoners will be the first to concede that they were fortunate to escape defeat in an absorbing contest which intrigued the 30,802 crowd until the final whistle.

The match mirrored the contrasting styles of the teams, West Ham's adventurous approach inevitably leaving them vulnerable to the counter-attack that has become Liverpool's hallmark. Having taken the lead they fell ultimately to a crucial error by Parkes of all people.
In the 79th minute Alan Kennedy was allowed too much room on the left to send over a wickedly swerving cross, Parkes got both hands to the ball but it eluded his grasp and Johnson bobbed up to head into the net.

Outstanding saves

Earlier Parkes demonstrated his claim to be the best keeper in Britain by making a number of outstanding saves, particularly from Dalglish, who forced him to turn a powerful drive over the bar in only the fifth minute.

Throwing caution to the winds West Ham put Grobbelaar, whose sure handling belied his eccentric reputation, under extreme early pressure and Neal was booked for an unnecessarily violent body check on Allen.

Neal was lucky to remain on the field for later he was guilty of dissent when Lee was punished for a foul and in the 75th minute he brought down Pike.

West Ham's goal came as Liverpool were beginning to impose a grip on the game. The instigator was Neighbour, who has achieved belated maturity since returning to the First Division.

Industrious Pike

Alan Kennedy headed out to the industrious Pike, another greatly improved player, who fired in off the crossbar. Subsequently Liverpool resumed control and Ray Kennedy almost equalised when, after a one-two with Dalglish, he struck a post with a powerful shot.
Parkes, clearly feeling his knee injury, allowed Bonds to do the goal-kicking in the second half.

Copyright - The Times

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