West Brom 3 West Ham 3: Strikers pressing from the bench will aid Hammers’ survival battle

West Ham manager Avram Grant feels the strength of his forward line has been bolstered considerably after his dealings in the January transfer market.

The Hammers signed up strikers Robbie Keane on loan from Tottenham and Demba Ba on a permanent deal from German side Hoffenheim last month to join Victor Obinna, Frederic Piquionne and Carlton Cole in their attack.

It meant that despite the loss of Keane (calf) and Obinna (ankle) to injury ahead of Saturday’s game with West Brom at The Hawthorns, Grant could still pair Cole and Ba up front for the game and keep Piquionne in reserve on the bench.

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After a forgettable first half in which the Londoners found themselves three goals behind, it was this trio of forwards which ultimately salvaged a point for West Ham from a thrilling encounter.

Ba – on his first start for the Hammers – pulled one back in the 50th minute before substitute Piquionne teed up Cole for the second eight minutes later.

Senegal international Ba then made it 3-3 with seven minutes of normal time remaining as West Ham, who are two points behind 17th-placed Albion, moved off the bottom of the table to 19th.

“This is one of the reasons why we wanted to bring in players in the transfer window,” Grant said.

“We didn’t have a good bench, especially in terms of forwards.

“Now we can have players like Piquionne on the bench, or even Cole or Ba, and in these situations it is good to have them there – especially after we lost Keane, who has been very good in the two games he has played, and Obinna, who has been fantastic.”

The contest, which could not have been more different during an opening 45 minutes in which strikes from Graham Dorrans and Jerome Thomas and Winston Reid’s own-goal had put West Brom firmly in the driving seat, was characterised by poor defending from both sides.

West Brom’s caretaker boss Michael Appleton said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the second half.

“We talked with the boys at half-time about momentum, which is a big thing in football, and it was crucial to get the first goal in the second half. The first 15 minutes were going to be key, and to concede the goal, with the position we are in at the moment, the boys are a little bit frail from that point of view.”

Following Roberto Di Matteo’s dismissal last weekend, Appleton was overseeing the Baggies for one game before handing the reins to new head coach Roy Hodgson today.