Hammers Hat-trick Against Coventry

HAMMERS have made it three wins in a week, a fine second-half performance sealing a 3-0 win over Coventry City.

An own goal by Richard Shaw was complemented by Teddy Sheringham's penalty and a late Bobby Zamora strike to make it nine points out of three games for Alan Pardew's men.

For the third game in succession Pards kept an unchanged side. Marlon Harewood shook off an ankle injury to partner 19-goal Teddy Sheringham in attack, while Hayden Mullins retained his place ahead of Carl Fletcher.

On the bench, Luke Chadwick returned in place of Gavin Williams after scoring for the Reserves in midweek.

Confident from back-to-back wins, Hammers were positive right from the kick-off, Marlon Harewood's volley forcing Coventry goalkeeper Luke Steele into an awkward catch after just two minutes.

On nine minutes Sheringham showed a wonderful touch on the edge of the area that would have put Chris Powell in but for Richard Duffy's intervention, while at the other end Coventry's first effort was a speculative drive from Gary McSheffrey that was deflected well over Jimmy Walker's crossbar.

Playing with top-scorer McSheffrey alongside strikers Dele Adebola and Shaun Goater, the visitors were looking for goals. On 15 minutes Walker had to be alert to tip Duffy's inswinging cross away for a corner.

With 20 minutes gone Sheringham and Harewood displayed the neat link-up play that has underpinned their two match-winning performances of late. The latter laid it back for the former to execute a sublime chip that was just too low, allowing Steele to pluck the ball safely out of the air.

Harewood then forced a fine save out of Steele, dancing inside Duffy and curling a shot towards the top corner that the Coventry 'keeper did well to claw away.

After half an hour, Sky Blues midfielder Isaac Osbourne was forced off through injury, veteran Steve Staunton the replacement.

Three minutes later Hammers saw a great chance to open the scoring go begging. A flowing move released Sheringham down the right and his low cross picked out Mark Noble, but the young midfielder could only divert the ball wide from point blank range.

Anton Ferdinand did well to dig Duffy's low cross away from danger, and straight away set up a West Ham break.

Sheringham's wonderfully flighted pass picked out Harewood at the back post, but Richard Shaw nicked the ball away at the last moment.

Hammers could content themselves with the better of the first-half chances, but in the last throws of the half Walker had to make a fine save to deny McSheffrey and send the teams off 0-0.

HT: 0-0

Pards brought on Matty Etherington in place of Hayden Mullins for the start of the second-half to give the Hammers more natural width.

But it was Coventry threatening again two minutes after the restart, Robert Page's bullet header forcing Walker into a magnificent diving save to keep Hammers on level terms.

Sadly, Marlon Harewood was less accurate with his own header that flew over the bar from Shaun Newton's cross.
But, backed by a noisy home crowd, Hammers were starting to threaten with regularity.

Anton Ferdinand's header from Etherington's corner drew a great diving save from Steele and from the resulting corner Newton had a stinging effort well-blocked by the goalkeeper, before Noble volleyed the rebound well over.

Then Harewood should have done better with two chances, the first fired well over the bar from 20 yards, the second a wayward header from Tomas Repka's cross.

Hammers continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock, Newton's bustling run into the box disrupted by the presence of Shaw, before the ball broke to Harewood wide on the right and he let fly with a dipping cross/shot that was inches away from embarrassing Steele at the far post.

With 20 minutes left Harewood departed to be replaced as target man by Bobby Zamora.

But it was West Ham's first substitute, Matty Etherington, who helped hapless Coventry centre-back Richard Shaw put through his own net on 76 minutes and give Alan Pardew's men a precious lead.

Etherington broke free on the left and whipped in a vicious low cross that Shaw flew in to clear, but instead headed the ball past Steele and into the bottom corner of the net.

Having gone behind, Coventry upped their work-rate as they went in search of an equaliser. But Steve Staunton's free-kick from 25 yards was more danger to the enthusiastic supporters in the Bobby Moore Lower than goalkeeper Jimmy Walker.

In fact, it was West Ham playing the more fluent football and on 86 minutes Alan Pardew's men were awarded a penalty when Duffy's clumsy tackle upended the excellent Etherington.

Up stepped the in-form Teddy Sheringham to take it. After referee Williamson sorted out some pushing and shoving on the edge of the box, Sheringham ran up and chipped his penalty goalwards. Already committed, Steele still managed to palm the ball away. Sheringham was quick to follow-up and force in the rebound, but the referee had already ordered a re-take for encroachment.

Sheringham reloaded, and this time made no mistake, firing low to Steele's right to make it 2-0.

Not content, West Ham continued to push forward and sealed all three points with less than a minute remaining.

Etherington was again the provider, skipping away down the left and delivering a magnificent cross that Bobby Zamora headed home from close range to make it 3-0.

The final-whistle sounded shortly afterwards, confirming Hammers third win in a week, nine points that could prove very valuable come the end of the season.