Dec 28 (Reuters) - West Ham United wasted a perfect opportunity to ease their relegation fears on Saturday when they were held to a 3-3 draw in the Premier League by drop zone rivals West Bromwich Albion.
In a thrilling clash at Upton Park, the Hammers took an early lead through former England forward Joe Cole, but were hit by two goals in five minutes by French striker Nicolas Anelka just before the interval.
The half-time introduction of Mali striker Modibo Maiga enlivened West Ham again and, after striking an equaliser in the 65th minute, he helped set up Kevin Nolan two minutes later as the home team went ahead again.
But West Ham were unable to hang on to their lead and the visitors' substitute striker Saido Berahino equalised with a fine diagonal left-foot shot after 69 minutes. He also hit the post with an 82nd minute free-kick, but West Ham hung on to avoid defeat.
The result extended a grim sequence for West Ham who have won only once in 12 league games since winning 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur on October 6. They remained 19th with 15 points while West Brom are 15th. (Reporting by Tim Collings, editing by Pritha Sarkar)