Relegation-haunted West Ham's wait for their first home win of the season will drag into 2003 after the London derby with Fulham ended level at Upton Park.
The 10-man Hammers, bidding to become the first Premiership team to be bottom at Christmas and yet avoid the drop, at least claimed a point in their 12th home game when Trevor Sinclair's penalty cancelled out Facundo Sava's opener. But they had Tomas Repka sent off in injury-time for arguing with referee Dermot Gallagher.
Nervy home goalkeeper David James twice almost gifted Jean Tigana's team anearly lead with alarming errors.
Glenn Roeder's men hit back and Jermain Defoe hit the post with a 22-yardfree-kick in the 45th minute. Sava struck four minutes after the break, sliding in to convert Steve Finnan'sexcellent cross.
The Argentinian, back a fortnight ahead of schedule after hiscalf problem, celebrated with his trademark 'man in the mask' routine.
Sinclair hammered home the equaliser from the penalty spot after SylvainLegwinski's 65th-minute handball. James performed heroics to keep the scores level - finger-tipping Marlet's point-blank effort onto the post - but West Ham's long wait for success on home soil goes on.
The first half of this bottom-of-the-table London derby squabble had been notable mainly for total lack of atmosphere in a stadium packed with 35,025 fans.
But the second 45 minutes was the complete opposite, with the home faithful roaring on their team as they came close to breaking their home hoodoo.
West Ham's Freddie Kanoute, who has missed three months of action with a groin injury, started up front. For Fulham, themselves hovering just above the drop zone, Sava's early return bolstered Tigana's injury-hit squad.
Maik Taylor made a rare start in goal due to Edwin van der Sar's broken foot.
Both backlines looked shaky in the opening exchanges - and the Hammers'defensive jitters appeared to have rubbed off on James after eight minutes.
The England goalkeeper collected a back pass and fired the ball straight at the onrushing Sava.
Luckily for James, the ball rebounded just wide of hisright-hand post. Steve Marlet then poked wide when Tomas Repka and James got in a muddle.
It was an end-to-end period of football, with Christian Dailly's poweringMichael Carrick's corner goalwards - only for Fulham's Rufus Brevett to clearoff his own goalline.
Taylor saved Fulham twice in quick succession in the 24th minute, afterreferee Gallagher inadvertently set up a Hammers chance.
The ball struck the official and fell the feet of Defoe, who fired into Taylor's body.
The Northern Ireland shot-stopper was up quickly to grab Carrick's weak follow-up effort.
Fulham did create a genuine opening nine minutes before the break, however,when Legwinski smacked Steed Malbranque's cross straight at James.
The Hammers' best move so far came in the 41st minute. Taylor saved whenSinclair met Kanoute's whipped near-post cross with a sweet close-range volley.
And Defoe hit the post with a 22-yard free-kick with in the final seconds of the first half.
Fulham roared into the lead four minutes after the break thanks to some excellent incisive forward play. Marlet slipped a precise pass inside to Finnan, advancing down the right flank, and the full-back delivered a slide-rule cross along the six-yard linefor Sava to convert at the far post.
The striker marked his goal with his now customary routine, pulling a Zorro mask from his left sock and strapping it across his eyes. But Fulham midfielder Legwinski gift-wrapped West Ham's 65th-minute equaliser.
The Frenchman handled Dailly's downward header and Sinclair swept the resulting penalty into the bottom left corner.
Legwinski was booked and manager Jean Tigana responded by immediately hauling him off.
At the other end, James made a wonderful save to claw Marlet's point-blankeffort onto the foot of his left upright.
Marlet then snatched at a great shooting opportunity and missed the target.
West Ham increased the pressure in the last 15 minutes and Taylor stretched to palm away Don Hutchison's looping header.
Gallagher waved away penalty appeals after Alain Goma collided with Defoeinside the Fulham area.
In injury-time, Marlet blazed over the top before Repka argued with Gallagherover a decision which led to Marlet's chance and talked himself first into a booking and then a red card.