Harewood Winner Stuns Wigan

SECOND-HALF goals from Teddy Sheringham and Marlon Harewood have earned West Ham United a brilliant 2-1 victory against Wigan at the JJB Stadium.

Without a win in five games, Alan Pardew rang the changes to take on the team lying second in the Championship. The most notable was in goal, where Jimmy Walker came in to make his third League start of the season in place of Stephen Bywater.

Tomas Repka returned at right-back after a three-match suspension, with Shaun Newton moving to right midfield in place of Luke Chadwick. In the centre of midfield Hayden Mullins earned a recall with Carl Fletcher starting on the bench after playing twice for Wales last week.

True to the reputations of both sides, the game was open and fast right from the kick-off. Tomas Repka had to be alert at the back post to prevent Leighton Baines' cross reaching Nathan Ellington after just five minutes.

Graham Kavanagh scuffed his 20 yard shot well wide with less than 10 minutes on the clock, before Walker was called into action for the firs time, spreading himself well at the feet of Jason Roberts.

On 14 minutes Mark Noble had West Ham's first goal-bound effort, his dipping 25 yard shot no more than catching practice for John Filan in the Wigan goal.

Two minutes later a slick Hammers move involving Teddy Sheringham and Nigel Reo-Coker released Marlon Harewood, but he pulled his shot wide from the edge of the area. Sheringham's effort five minutes later did hit the target, but the Hammers captain couldn't find the power to trouble Filan.

Tempers had hardly been raised during the opening exchanges, until Reo-Coker lunged in far too late on Baines, sparking an ugly melee and earning the Hammers midfielder a yellow card.

With passions suddenly running high, Wigan had a great chance to open the scoring. Roberts chased a ball in behind the West Ham defenders and was clattered by the on rushing Walker. But the referee waved away the home side's penalty claims and Walker recovered to make a safe catch from Gary Teale's shot.

His next stop was far from straight forward, though. Elliott Ward's slip allowed Ellington to race clear on goal, but Walker won the battle, spreading himself to make a great stop with his legs.

With Wigan well on top, all Hammers could do was hold on. They could not quite get a grip on Teale though, as he jinked his way into the penalty area and curled a shot just wide of the post.

Three minutes before half-time Roberts went down in the box again, Tomas Repka the challenger this time. But again referee Curson waved away Wigan's protests.

It was left for Hammers to have the final chance of the half, Sheringham's lofted pass releasing Harewood through the middle, who dinked the ball over the advancing Filan, but cleared the crossbar as well.

HT: 0-0

Hammers started the second-half far better than they had the first, Reo-Coker and Hayden Mullins busily supporting their forwards.

But in their urgency to push forward, Alan Pardew's men left themselves vulnerable on the break, and that allowed Jason Roberts to open the scoring with 51 minutes gone.

The Latics forward brought down a long ball under pressure from Anton Ferdinand and burst past the defender to bury his shot low to Walker's right.

Alan Pardew's men hit back in the best possible fashion just five minutes later. Elliott Ward swung in a cross from the left and the ball broke to Teddy Sheringham at the far post.

The Hammers striker, celebrating his 39th birthday, showed a coolness honed over the years to lash the ball past Filan and make it 1-1.

Lee McCulloch saw a back post header drift high of the crossbar and then a wild shot fly even higher, before Sheringham raised the expectation level inside the JJB when he lined up a 20 yard free-kick that eventually bent straight into Filan's arms.

With 65 minutes gone West Ham wasted a crucial chance. Elliott Ward's long ball was chased by Harewood and when his pressure caused David Wright to slip, the Hammer striker was through on goal. He danced around Filan, but took the ball too wide and by the time he could cross Wigan had got defenders back to clear.

But there was no stopping Harewood just a minute later. Mark Noble's fine threaded ball released Harewood and his finish was cool and clinical, firing low to Filan's right to put Hammers 2-1 in front.

Paul Jewell introduced new signing Brett Ormerod for the final 20 minutes to try and silence the fantastic West Ham travelling fans.

The change certainly added some urgency to the Wigan attack. Soon Ward was making a fine block to deflect Graham Kavanagh's fierce shot after Ormerod had knocked the ball down.

Wigan were enjoying plenty of pressure, but a defence marshalled by the excellent Anton Ferdinand refused to buckle.

At the other end, Sheringham's flick on released the marauding Harewood again, this time his rasping near post drive was tipped around the post by Filan. From the resulting corner Noble picked out Ferdinand, but his header crept just over the bar.

With four minutes left Roberts' header from Leighton Baines' cross bobbled just inches wide of Walker's post, but that chance aside, Hammers continued to put up a solid barrier against Wigan's attack. Carl Fletcher was added to that barrier when he replaced Shaun Newton with two minutes left to shore up West Ham's midfield.

Four minutes of injury time were added, but Hammers held firm until the final whistle to celebrate a 2-1 victory and one of their most important three points of the season so far.