Zamora Double Eases Hammers Past Wednesday

TWO goals from Bobby Zamora, a Christian Dailly header and David Bellion's first strike for the Club gave West Ham United a 4-2 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the Carling Cup Second Round at Hillsborough.

It was a difficult end to the game for Pards' men though as they saw a three-goal second-half lead eroded by goals from Graham Coughlan and David Graham, only to be eased home by on-loan Bellion's first goal in the claret and blue.

Pards made eight changes to the side that beat Fulham 2-1, retaining Marlon Harewood, Bobby Zamora and Tomas Repka.

In came James Collins for his West Ham United debut and Shaka Hislop, making his first senior start since returning to the Club.

Gavin Williams, Mark Noble, Elliott Ward, Chris Cohen and Shaun Newton all started first-team games for the first time.

Captain Christian Dailly started for the first time since the opening day win over Blackburn.

On the bench, French forward David Bellion appeared for the first time after recovering from a broken leg. Academy players Tony Stokes and Matt Reed were also part of a first-team 16 for the first time, while it was Hogan Ephraim's second time amongst the senior matchday squad.

Backed by an enthuiastic band of travelling Hammers, Pards' men made the best start possible taking the lead inside two minutes.

Gavin Williams' incisive through ball released Bobby Zamora and the striker made no mistake firing past Wednesday goalkeeper David Lucas to make it 1-0 and stun Hillsborough into silence.

After the quick-fire start Hammers settled into a steady rhythm of dominance. And on 10 minutes Harewood went very close to extending West Ham's advantage with a shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area that whistled just wide of Lucas' left-hand post.

But Chris Brunt got the home fans out of their seats four minutes later with a scorching back-post volley that whistled just over Hislop's crossbar.

With 24 minutes gonea fine save from Lucas denied Zamora a second. Shaun Newton whipped in a perfectly flighted cross and Zamora out jumped his marker to get in the header. But Lucas was equal to it, diving to his left to push the ball away.

Moments later Wednesday produced a good move of their own, Jon-Paul McGovern working the ball to Glenn Whelan on the edge of the area but he curled his shot over the bar.

On 32 minutes David Graham tested Hislop for the first time with a left-foot volley on the angle that the Hammers goalkeeper saved comfortably at his near post.

It was the best effort of the half's closing stages and the game began to bog down in midfield.

But Hammers could be pleased with their first-half performance, taking a 1-0 lead in at the break.

HT: 1-0

The Owls came out for the second-half determined to get back into the game, and seconds after the re-start almost did when Brunt's 20 yard drive was tipped over the bar by Hislop.

It wasn't long before Hammers were back in gear though and on 54 minutes Pards' men made it 2-0. Christian Dailly was the scorer, his first goal since the strike in the Play-off semi-final win over Ipswich Town in May 2004.

A Shaun Newton corner made the chance, picking out Dailly's run and the Scottish international powered a header past David Lucas to spark the Hammers fans into full voice again.

On 62 minutes Pards' men all but killed off the tie with the decisive third goal. It came from the right-foot of Bobby Zamora, and what a strike it was.

The striker pounced on a poor defensive header from Graham Coughlan to send an unstoppable volley screaming past Lucas and into the far corner of the net to make it 3-0.

The goal was quickly followed by the arrival of French striker David Bellion on loan from Manchester United, who made his claret and blue debut replacing Marlon Harewood.

Hammers looked to be maintaining a business-like grip on the game until a Coughlan header got them back into the game with quarter of an hour to go. The defender headed home from Chris Brunt's corner to make it 3-1.

There still seemed little danger of a Wednesday revival. But no-one told that to David Graham. Three minutes later he wriggled away from the attentions of James Collins and from the edge of the area curled a low effort past Hislop into the bottom corner of the net to make it 3-2.

Suddenly Hillsborough was sensing a momentus comeback. Graham certainly was as again he forced his way through the Hammers defence and closed in on Hislop. This time he was off target though lofting his effort over the Hammers goalkeeper and the crossbar.

Hammers were certainly not prepared to wilt in the face of the Wednesday pressure though and on 84 minutes hit back with a fourth goal to restore their cushion.

It was a first for on-loan striker Bellion, who chased down Zamora's ball over the top, cut inside and fired low past Lucas to make it 4-2.

With four minutes to go Pards handed first-team debuts to Academy graduates Tony Stokes and Hogan Ephraim in place of Tomas Repka and Gavin Williams.

Noble saw a chipped effort comfortably saved by Lucas in stoppage time as Hammers coasted towards the Carling Cup Third Round.

It was certainly a more dramatic scoreline than Pards would have wanted, but a much-changed Hammers side had done more than enough to secure their passage in the Carling Cup, securing an entertaining 4-2 win.