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Match Report
West Ham Utd vs Manchester City
 1 - 0 
Date: 
01/03/2009
Venue: 
Boleyn Ground
Attendance: 
34,562
Referee: 
Mike Dean
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Jack Collison struck the only goal of the game to give West Ham United a vital victory over Manchester City and move the club up to seventh place in the Barclays Premier League.

Before the game much of the talk was about Craig Bellamy's return but, on St David's Day, it was his Wales team-mate Collison that stole the post-match headlines with his 70th-minute winner. The win was a welcome tonic after the midweek FA Cup exit but was marred by a serious-looking first-half left-leg injury to Valon Behrami that required extensive treatment and saw him taken to hospital.

For the Sunday lunchtime sell-out, Gianfranco Zola had made two changes from the defeat at Middlesbrough with Collison in for the suspended Mark Noble and David Di Michele replacing Freddie Sears who dropped to the bench. Also among the replacements was 18-year-old midfielder Josh Payne, alongside the 19-year-old winger Junior Stanislas.

City were without the suspended Shaun Wright-Phillips, while further forward Bellamy was to play just over an hour before making way for Elano with a knee knock. Far more serious was the 38th-minute injury to Behrami who appeared to catch his leg in the turf and required extensive treatment before being carried off to a standing ovation.

In truth, the first half saw limited opportunities for both teams. Jack Collison and David Di Michele had the best of the Hammers' moments with a couple of low shots after well-worked moves while Robinho's flicked effort on 15 minutes forced a tremendous save by Robert Green. The big-money Brazilian then poked the ball just wide seven minutes later from barely six yards out.

Referee Mike Dean was also busy - booking Scott Parker and Radoslav Kovac in the early exchanges while Vincent Kompany also had his name taken. The caution did not trouble Parker, who was to prove among the brightest performers on the pitch with an industrious box-to-box display that showed just why City tried unsuccessfully to prise him away from the Boleyn Ground at the turn of the year.

The second half burst into life when Savio - wearing the No10 shirt vacated by Bellamy, who was now receiving treatment back in the dressing room - cut inside from the left on to his favoured right foot and fired in a fierce shot. Given saved but could only parry the ball to Collison who expertly hooked the ball into the net.

City tried to find a way back into the contest, with Felipe Caicedo, who had replaced Micah Richards as early as the 15th minute, firing into the side-netting and over the bar either side of a Robinho effort that was blasted wide. Zola made his second change with eight minutes to play by replacing home debutant Kovac with Jonathan Spector.

Walter Lopez then made his first league appearance for the final four minutes as Zola's men saw out the closing stages in relative comfort. Hughes took off Nigel De Jong for striker Valeri Bojinov before Elano's goalbound free-kick was flicked by the inspirational Neill away to safety. Up into seventh position, Zola's men can push on when they go to Wigan Athletic, the team they have leapfroggged, on Wednesday.

Gianfranco Zola and Mark Hughes
 Match Stats
 
  West Ham Manchester City
Goals : 1 0
Possession : 55% 45%
Shots On Target : 9 2
Shots Off Target : 4 7
Corners : 4 7
Fouls : 14 18
Most Fouls : Parker (4) Zabaleta (4)
Yellow Cards : 2 2
Red Cards : 0 0
 
Scorers :
Collison 71
 
 Team Line Ups :
 
Robert Green   
Lucas Neill   
James Tomkins   
Matthew Upson   
Herita Ilunga   
Valon Behrami 43
Scott Parker   
Jack Collison   
Radoslav Kovac 83
David Di Michele 87
Carlton Cole   
 
Substitutes :
 
Junior Stanislas   
Jan Lastuvka   
Walter Lopez 87
Savio Nsereko 43
Jonathan Spector 83
Freddie Sears   
Josh Payne   
 
 
   Shay Given
15 Micah Richards
   Nedum Onuoha
   Richard Dunne
   Wayne Bridge
   Pablo Zabaleta
89 Nigel de Jong
   Vincent Kompany
   Stephen Ireland
66 Craig Bellamy
   De Souza Robinho
 
 
 
15 Felipe Caicedo
   Joe Hart
89 Valeri Bojinov
66 Blumer Elano
   Glauber Berti
   Javier Garrido
   Darius Vassell
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