The home side were growing increasingly anxious to convert pressure into
goals and they were left to rue another near miss when the inspired Cudicini
denied Sinclair from the edge of the area.
The tentative defending that has undermined the Hammers season reared its
ugly head in the 31st minute when Christian Dailly, in as a replacement for
the suspended Ian Pearce, failed to clear a corner and was relieved to see
the ball scrambled off the line.
Steve Lomas was then presented with best chance of the half after timing
Rufus Brevitt's corner to perfection in the 43rd minute, but headed wide
from six yards out when unmarked.
After a quiet opening to the second period, Kanoute narrowly missed out when
headed inches wide with Cudicini beaten.
Cudicini was proving to be the thorn in West Ham's side and he was on hand
to save Lomas's fierce header in the 67th minute.
Paolo Di Canio returned to the fray for the Hammers in the second half and
was given a rousing reception in what is likely to be his last appearance at
He made an immediate impact when he delivered a fine ball to Kanoute, whose
header was deflected wide by Marcel Desailly.
However, di Canio was not finished and made the most decisive of
contributions with his vital goal in the 71st minute.
Defoe found width on the right and his deflected cross was directed home by
Di Canio, sparking jubilant scenes in front of the full Bobby Moore stand.
At the death Frank Lampard nearly came back to haunt his old side with a
stinging shot from outside the box. However, David James, who had a quiet
afternoon, was up to the task when he tipped a fine save round the post.
West Ham: James, Johnson, Repka, Dailly, Brevett, Lomas,
Cole, Sinclair, Kanoute, Les Ferdinand, Defoe.
Subs: Van Der Gouw, Hutchison, Di Canio, Garcia, Cisse.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Gallas, Desailly, Babayaro,
Morris, Petit, Lampard, Le Saux, Gudjohnsen, Zola.
Subs: de Goey, Hasselbaink, Zenden, Stanic, Cole.
Referee: A D'Urso (Essex)