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2013-05-19T15:23:00 Updated 2015-02-19T00:40:06

Hammers finish with a flourish

Kevin Nolan notched a hat-trick to help West Ham United end the season in style with a 4-2 victory over relegated Reading.

Nolan's treble sunk the Royals after they had gamely battled back from 2-0 down to level early in the second half.

There was to be no denying the Hammers a top-ten finish though, as two Nolan goals in the final 11 minutes took the game away from the visitors again and delighted the Boleyn Ground crowd.

The Hammers were a mere whisker away from scoring inside the first minute when Carroll, who was to be heavily involved throughout the first half, couldn't quite stretch enough to divert Mark Noble's cross goalwards.

With 23 minutes played, though, there was no way Nolan could miss as the ball dropped nicely off Carroll's charge down to round Alex McCarthy, stroke home and leave the Reading stopper red-faced.

The keeper earned a first England call-up this week and there more of a sign why five minutes later when he threw himself to his right to tip Nolan's close range header against the crossbar after he had again been set up by Carroll.

The Hammers were finding plenty of space in the final third and were rewarded with a second goal on 34. It came as no suprise that Carroll was once more in the thick of the action, showing a great touch to pluck Mohamed Diame's deep cross out of the sky and lay back for Vaz Te to fire across McCarthy and in at the far post.

Reading were in danger of being overrun and they were thankful to the woodwork for keeping the score down when Vaz Te blasted a rocket against the angle of post and bar.

There had only been one team in the contest sunce the 20th minute, but Reading, having made a double substitution at the break, came out firing at the start of the second period and Jem Karacan was close to reducing the deficit when his 20-yarder fizzed just over.

The Hammers were dozing and they were punished by a double Reading blast, first Garath McCleary getting his side back in the contest with a fierce shot from the edge of the box which deflected off Noble and flew past a helpless Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Two minutes later it was all square thanks to the two subs combining. NIck Blackman showed fleet of foot to streak clear down the left and cross low for Adam Le Fondre to take advantage of WInston Reid's missed attempt to clear and knock home.

West Ham were reeling as they struggled to get a grip on the game and Reading sensed blood.

But the Hammers began to exert their control again in the final quarter and moved back in front - for a decisive second time - 11 minutes from the end.

Nolan was the man on target, sealing his place as the Club's top goalscorer in the process, racing onto Noble's clipped through ball, waiting for McCarthy to blink and rolling the ball home.

There was still time for the skipper to bag his hat trick, rising highest in the middle to meet a fine cross from sub Modibo Maiga and plant a downward header into the net.

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien (Taylor 86); Nolan, Noble, Diame; Vaz Te (Maiga 81), Carroll, J.Cole (Collison 74)
Subs: Henderson (GK), Tomkins, Paulista, O'Neil

Goals: Nolan 23, Vaz Te 34, Nolan 79, Nolan 87

Booked: Nolan, Collison

Reading: McCarthy; Gunter, Morrison, Gorkss, Kelly; McCleary, Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff; Robson-Kanu (Blackman 46), Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre 46)
Subs: Taylor (GK), Pearce, Mariappa, Akpan, Carrico

Goals: McCleary 53, Le Fondre 55

Booked: McAnuff

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 34,973

2013-14 Season Tickets

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