West Ham United 1 Reading 0

Another 30,000 plus crowd - minus Alan Pardew - saw West Ham climb into the top three of the first division, after this hard fought 1-0 home win over Reading.
Whether Pardew, who resigned as Royals boss in midweek, in the hope of filling the vacant manager's seat at Upton Park, will eventually make the trip east remains to be seen.

In the meantime, Trevor Brooking maintained his 100% winning record in his second spell as caretaker manager thanks to Christian Dailly's headed winner in the 18 minute - his first goal in 93 games for the club.

Hammers created and missed three good chances and Neil Mellor could have had a hat-trick in this early onslaught.

With just five minutes gone, the ponderous Mellor fired his shot into the body of keeper Hahnemann. A minute later, Jermain Defoe was unlucky to see his left foot shot strike the base of the post before Hahnemann again defied Mellor's follow up.

And the Liverpool loanee went close again on 12 minutes when his near post header from Defoe's corner flashed inches over the bar.

West Ham's second corner of the game did produce a rare set-piece goal. Defoe's well-flighted delivery from the left was met firmly by the head of skipper Dailly from 12 yards out.

But Reading, ignoring the home crowd's taunts of 'We've got your manager', grew stronger and finished the first half with a flourish. Left midfielder Andy Hughes was particularly dangerous. Testing David James with a sharp low cross and then a shot from outside the box.

Reading's passing and movement in midfield was slicker and superior to West Ham's and after Royals dominated the opening few minutes of the second half too, Brooking acted to change things.

The caretaker manager replaced Anton Ferdinand, who made little impact at right midfield, and the wasteful Mellor, with new signing Nicolas Alexandersson and Matt Etherington, abandoning his favoured 4-3-3 formation to go like-for-like with the visitors' 4-4-2.

Having started the game with two wide midfielders who are essentially full-backs - Wayne Quinn making his debut on the left - Hammers lacked a decent supply line to the front three after that initial burst.

Brooking's double substitution gave Hammers a more solid look after the break, which was just as well because Reading continued to probe the open spaces, enjoy plenty of possession and were unlucky not to grab an equaliser.

Alexandersson did, though, manage to stifle the forward threat of Hughes and also found time to make his mark further forward when he forced a flying save from the impressive Hahnemann.

The keeper had to be at his best again to deny Defoe, who became an increasing threat as he cut loose in the closing stages, while Quinn also brought a fine save from the Reading number one.

But for all Reading's enterprise and neat passing game, they rarely opened up West Ham's defence and, in fact, it was Hammers who made all the clear cut chances and should have won convincingly.