Taylor has a chance to win it for West Ham on the break. He's running clear, with United defenders gaining fast .... so he loses his bottle and elects to shoot from 30 yards, wafting the ball high and wide.
90 +1 min:
United are besieging the West Ham box now, and Hernandez comes close to snatching a winner from a Giggs cross but Carroll, of all people, slides it to foil the striker. "Will Nicolle be able to resist rubbing her ex's nose in it after the result at the Cottage?" muses Simon McMahon. "A few subtle digs will be in order at least?"
West Ham mount a bit of pressure for the first time in a long time, but Carrick gets back to twice repel Collison crosses.
Chelsea are now 3-0 at Fulham thanks to Terry's second goal of the night.
Van Persie tries to steal victory for United but his 25-yard drive flies well wide.
Carlos Tevez has scored to put Man City 1-0 up. Title race back on? Of course not.
West Ham changes: Nolan and Diamé off; Taylor and Collison on.
Carrick picks out a smart Hernandez run but Jaaskelainen catches the Mexican's glancing header.
Carroll is outmuscled at the edge of the United area by Valencia, who gallops forward to launch a United attack, which concludes with Jaaskelainen saving another Van Persie header.
Man United substitution: Kagawa off, Hernandez on.
GOAL! West ham 2-2 Man United (Van Persie 77)
Kagawa produces a brilliant swivel and shot from the edge of the area but his effort crashes out off the post ... but straight into the path of Van Persie, who was offside when the shot was taken and thus was on hand to slam the ball into the net from six yards!
Man City are still locked at 0-0 with Wigan, suggesting, at least, that the imminent FA Cup final may carry a little more intrigue than the title race.
Giggs first touch is an inviting cross from the left to the far post, where Van Persie narrowly fails to meet it. West Ham badly need to get back on to the front foot.
Manchester United substitution: Rooney, who has been slovenly all night, is withdrawn and replaced by Giggs.
West Ham are asking for trouble now, retreating deeper and deeper in a bid to cling on to their lead.
Valencia crosses from the right, Van Persie meets it with a fine header from 10 yards but Jaaskelainen pushes it over for a corner, which is cleared.
West Ham substitution: Noble on, O'Neill off.
Mark Noble seems set to come on. No sign of a Man United chance yet though and, therefore, no sign of a comeback.
United exert a bit of pressure but West Ham are defending with great numbers and discipline. Still, United win a corner. Carrick pulls it a low one to Rooney on the penalty spot. The striker-cum-defender hits it first time and it bobbles over Jasskelainen .... but O'Neill wellies it off the line.
What a save by Jasskelainen, flicking a Van Persie volley away with his foot after a cross from the right by Valenica. But that didn't matter either because, as it turns out, Van Persie was offside.
Jones, who has no fulfilled expectations tonight, concedes a freekick for a lubberly clash with Diamé. United are slack. It's a real shame that it doesn't really matter any more. "While I appreciate the gallantry on display, I think this is me taking a break from the dating pool," simpers Nicolle. "One bad apple/I'll never trust again/every other cliche relating to heartbreak/etc."
GOAL! West Ham 2-1 Man United (Diamé 55)
What a stonker! Demel flipped the ball to Diamé at the right-hand corner of the box and the Senegalese spun past his opponent before sending a fierce low curler into the bottom corner of the goal! The home side deserve this lead.
As United continue to suffer the bludgeon of Carroll, Chelsea go 2-0 at Fulham thanks to John Terry.
The ball sits up nicely for Carroll, who takes on touch before lashing a looping shot at goal from 25 yards. It drops just wide.
Rooney gives the ball away yet again (it was his sloppiness that led to United coughing up the ball just prior to West Ham's goal), allowing West Ham to pile on more pressure. This time De Gea competes strongly with Carroll and clutches the cross. Carroll is then booked for his challenge, which seems senseless as he didn't do anything wrong. Obviously it couldn't have been a half-time whinge from Ferguson that led to this hard line.
The aerial onslaught resumes but this time Vidic stands tall to head clear under pressure from Nolan, rather than Carroll.
Jones misses an early chance for United, failing to force the ball into the net after a nod back across goal from Van Persie.
For the dozens (yes!) of gallant male readers who have written in to offer Nicolle a shoulder to cry on (and me actual cash in return for her email address), I include this link. You're welcome.
"I'd love more updates from the other two games as well," pleads Horus Loris. "Nothing as dramatic as Nicolle from L.A., but would be quite interested in knowing how Chelsea is doing (race for 3rd/4th and all that playing in the background). Fulham versus Chelsea must be the most 'bourgeois' derby in the world." Chelsea are leading 1-0 thanks to David Luiz, while City and Wigan are still scoreless.
Man United were slack and are somewhat fortunate to be level, even if their goal was a fine one, coming from their only high-class move of the half. West Ham's direct robustness is vexing the visitors, of whom too many have been out of form. They must improve if they are to win this. West Ham sense blood.
The ref berates Vidic and Carroll for some penalty area jostling ahead of a corner. United's defendants are certainly riled by the big man. When the corner eventually comes in, De Gea punches it clear amid heavy traffic ... and then goes down under the full weight of Carroll, who threw himself sideways into the keeper in a manner that suggests he's no stranger to stagediving at, say, Slayer gigs.
Another West Ham appeal for a penalty and this one looks the most convincing on first sight: Collins pinged a surprising low pass into Nolan, who trapped it with his back to goal jsut inside the box. Then he went down, seemingly following a shove by Vidic .... but no, the replay suggests that he actually just got his own feet in a tangle and was on his way down before Vidic made even slight contact.
Demel smacks a first time cross from the right. Carroll meets it, of course, but not very well. His weak header is easily saved.
More Man United sloppiness, this time from Kagawa in midfield, cedes possession to West Ham, who rollick forward. Jarvis chips the ball from the left to the back post, where Carroll tries to meet it but hits the ground following contact with Vidic. Again the ref sees nothing awry.
A Vidic slip in midfield presents Vaz Te with a chance to punish United ... but his attempted through-ball to Carroll lacks purchase and Ferdinand intervenes.
Jarvis, who looks on song tonight, skedaddles down the left and dinks in another nice cross but this time it eludes Carroll. Evra clears.
Vaz Te has a brainwave: "why don't I try to smash the ball into the top corner from 35 yards", he seems to say to himself. Alas, no other voice spoke up to dissuade him and he wound up embarrassing himself badly. There's another souvenir for someone in the crowd. "Please spare a thought for me, sitting at my desk, trying to surreptitiously follow the various games while working, and wrecked that there is no mbm of the West London derby to keep me entertained, weeps Nicolle in Los angeles. "Even though I know we are prone to draws, I really need a win tonight in this derby as I am fresh out of a seven year relationship with a lying, cheating bastard and it is his team versus my team. I know what you are thinking but he's the Fulham fan and I'm the Chelsea supporter. No, I'm not a masochist and no, he wasn't always a bastard; his decline closely mirrors my years of supporting the blues: started off great with Zola but somehow I ended up with Terry. I need sympathy." No you don't, you need to go dancing.
United are into their attacking groove now and Reid has to strain to head a Kagawa cross clear after another sweeping move by the visitors.
GOAL! West Ham 1-1 Man United (Valencia 31)
Lovely move. United broke down the left before Van Persie rolled the ball through the legs of Collins to Kagawa, who put Reid down with a wonderful shimmy and then stroked the ball across the face of goal for Valencia to tap into the net from a yard.
Rooney and Evra combine nicely before the Frenchman tries to pull the ball back from the sideline to Kagawa, but Reid reads him.
Rooney attempts to slip a ball through to Van Persie but he underhits it, allowing Collins to intercept. Cue a long ball towards Carroll, who, of course, wins the header, flicking on for Jarvis, who momentarily seems set to score ... until the ref pings him for offside.
Collins lamps one long for Carroll, who has won everything in the air so far. Vidic and Ferdinand can't cope with him; might be a good idea to stick Jones back there.
I wonder whetehr the score here will filter through to the Etihad, where, according to Chris Monks, Manchester City seemingly do not believe United can collapse again. "Are City even interested in a CL spot?" mewls Chris. "Players are acting like they're in 10th with nowt to play for, empty seats in the stands and an atmosphere like a reserve league game. You can hear people biting into their pies." It's 0-0 there, in case you hadn't gathered that.
Excellent block by Collins as Kagawa tried to get off the visitors' first shot on target.
A long punt forward by Jasskelainen finds Jarvis, who tries to wriggle his way between Ferdinand and Rafael and into the box; he collapses under the combined challenge of the defenders and the home fans howl for a penalty but the ref correctly rules that he was fairly dispossessed.
So we got our wish, as Man United have been well and truly knocked out of the comfortable stride they've been allowed to deploy over the last few weeks. Can they respond?
GOAL! West Ham 1-0 Man United (Vaz Te 16)
Diamé leads a counter-attack for this hosts, romping forward before feeding Jarvis out wide. The winger runs at Ferdinand, then sidesteps him and clips a fine centre to Carroll, who nods it down for Vaz Te to bundle into the net from close range!
A new ball is located and West Ham take the corner, aiming, naturally, for Carroll, who nuts it over the bar from 10 yards.
Oi! Give the ball back! There's a delay in play as the ball gets tonked into the stand behind United's goal and someone fancies keeping it as a souvenir. But your swanky Premier League has a spare .... somewhere .... and the moment they find it, we'll be able to continue.
United are perking up and Valencia, who has endured a so so season, chugs down the right and nearly get in a dangerous cross, only to be thwarted by O'Brien.
Vaz Te hurtles down the right and cross early. It pings around the United box, where Carroll makes a nuisance of himself before firing a decent low shot from 17 yards just wide.
It's been all West Ham so far, in a harum-scarum way. Little precision but at least they're showing more vigour than Sunderland and Stoke managed.
West Ham get the game going, working it straight back to Collins, who clonks it downfield for Carroll to chase. It all results in a throw-in by the corner flag for West Ham, which constitutes a triumph for Allardyce.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien, Diame,
Nolan, O'Neil, Jarvis, Carroll, Vaz Te.
Subs: Henderson, Carlton Cole, Collison, Maiga, Taylor, Noble, Pogatetz.
Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Valencia,
Carrick, Jones, Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie.
Subs: Amos, Evans, Giggs, Hernandez, Nani, Welbeck, Cleverley.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Sam Allardyce says he wants his players "to give Man United a right good game and try to create a bit of a shock" and while such an outcome would surely be too little, too late in terms of making the title race interesting, it would at least be heartening to see Manchester United shaken up a tad: it has been quite deadening, the way they have sauntered to the top of the league with such feeble protests from the rest of the Premier League. West Ham should at least be able to inconvenience them more than Sunderland and Stoke did in their last away outings and it'll be interesting to see whether, for instance, Andy Carroll can bother Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand and how Phil Jones fares in midfield, where he has presumably been deployed to outscrap the dynamic Mohamed Diamé. A darn useful player, that Jones. In fact, Gary Neville has just this moment said on Sky that he could be "a future Roy Keane, someone you just have to get in your team somewhere". In other news, I note that James Collins is almost 4/1 to get a card at some point in this match, which borders on bookie philanthropy, if you ask me.