Teddy Sparks Hammers Triumph!

TEDDY Sheringham was West Ham United's cracker on fireworks night, netting in the 57th minute to earn Hammers a 1-0 win over West Brom.

Pards made just one change from the side that lost to Liverpool, Teddy Sheringham recalled up front in place of David Bellion who dropped to the bench.

Shaka Hislop continued in goal in place of the injured Roy Carroll, while Bobby Zamora recovered from a hamstring injury to take his place on the bench. Nigel Reo-Coker shook off a midweek knock to captain the side, while Matty Etherington overcame a tight groin to start.

Hammers made a bright start and had an early penalty appeal waved away when West Brom centre-half Curtis Davies appeared to nudge Sheringham in the back.

Only four minutes in Martin Albrechtsen had to make an excellent block on Marlon Harewood's shot from 12 yards, and from the resulting corner Anton Ferdinand got the faintest of flicks inside the six yard box but could only steer the ball wide of the far post.

Inside the first 10 minutes it was Hammers dominating the game and really turning on the style, with West Brom all but camped in their own half.

Diomansy Kamara did liven up the visitors though, slipping inside Tomas Repka before firing into the side netting. But it was an unconvincing end to West Brom's best passage of play so far.

On 18 minutes the same player jinked away from an Anton Ferdinand/Danny Gabbidon sandwich, but fortunately for the Hammers defence his shot was high and wide.

In a game that was already showing plenty of action, Sheringham then did well to release Yossi Benayoun but bearing down on goal and from a tight angle West Brom goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak made a good block. Moments later Hayden Mullins blazed a great chance over the bar from barely seven yards out.

On 24 minutes West Brom squandered their best chance of the game so far when Kamara headed straight into the hands of Shaka Hislop from six yards out after Robert Earnshaw had picked him out with a fine cross.

With 36 minutes gone Hammers should have taken the lead, with excellent interventions by Kuszczak and Davies the only things saving West Brom. First the Baggies goalkeeper made a fine block from Harewood's low shot and then with the ball loose in the box recovered to palm the ball away from the feet of Mullins.

But the chance was still alive for West Ham as, with the keeper stranded, the ball was worked back to Benayoun 12 yards out. The Israeli international shot for goal, but Curtis Davies was backing his goalkeeper up on the line and kicked the ball clear.

Hammers applied all the pressure in the closing stages of the half, but there was no way through for West Ham as it ended all-square at the break.

HT: 0-0

Feeling the effects of his midweek injury Nigel Reo-Coker didn't come out for the second-half and was replaced by Christian Dailly, who also assumed the captaincy.

It was West Brom making the better start to the half though, Steve Watson shooting from the edge of the box on 49 minutes and forcing Hislop into a smart save down low. The Hammers goalkeeper paid the price though, going down injured as he gathered at the feet of Kanu and needing treatment in the goalmouth.

Hammers responded almost instantly, a long ball from Konchesky releasing Harewood, whose first time shot rippled the wrong side of the West Brom net, much to the disappointment of the Bobby Moore Lower behind Tomas Kuszczak's goal.

But Alan Pardew's men only had to wait until the 57th minute for the vital breakthrough, and fitting that it should be the recalled Teddy Sheringham finishing off a clinical Hammers set-piece.

Tomas Repka swung in a deep free-kick, substitute Dailly rose to head down and Sheringham was on hand to fire past Kuszczak from seven yards out and put West Ham 1-0 up.

But the goal was tinged with disappointment around Upton Park when goalkeeper Hislop had to leave the field four minutes later, replaced by Stephen Bywater who made his first appearance of the season in claret and blue after a loan spell at Coventry City.

The sub goalkeeper was quickly into the action too, doing very well to hold a stinging Ronnie Wallwork drive at his near post.

Bryan Robson threw on the muscular Geoff Horsfield in attack as his side pressed for an equaliser in the final 15 minutes. But the Hammers defence continued to stand firm, while in central midfielders Hayden Mullins and Christian Dailly they had an effective screen, which broke up wave after wave of West Brom pressure.

The Baggies probed for an equaliser, but there was little conviction in their play, epitomised by a tame Watson shot that Bywater dealt with comfortably.

On bonfire night it was hardly fireworks at Upton Park. But it was a vital 1-0 win over West Brom and three points that keep West Ham United in the Premiership's top ten.