Newton's theory proves his worth

Shaun Newton was all smiles after netting his first goal for West Ham United to help secure a 1-0 victory over Manchester City on Saturday, and is hoping that the feel-good factor continues to build this week.

The Hammers winger came in for only his fifth Premiership start of the season following an injury to Matthew Etherington and celebrated by firing the 15th minute winner that sent Alan Pardew's men into seventh place.

"I was happy to get my first goal and even happier that we got the three points," said Shaun. "I've missed a few chances this season and the gaffer has been on at me to score goals, so I was delighted to finally get off the mark and play a part in the victory.

"Bobby had been playing really well early on and was getting the better of their defence, so once he broke free on the left, I knew I had to get forward and offer him some support.

"Thankfully he saw me and, although there was a bit of luck with the ball going through Ben Thatcher's legs, I had a bit of time to control it and pick my spot. I didn't want to take it too close to David James, because his size would have narrowed the angle even more!"

"In the end, it was a very well-fought and hard-earned three points," added Shaun. "Obviously they caused us a few problems and created some decent chances but we hung on well after getting ourselves in front and it was a good win in the end.

"We knew it was going to be hard game - they were obviously a bit wound up after we knocked them out of the FA Cup, and it was just a case of rolling our sleeves up and getting the job done."

Now the focus turns to tomorrow's trip to Middlesbrough, ahead of an FA Cup semi-final against the same opponents just six days later and, while Shaun is realistic enough to know that he won't be first-choice should Pards have his regular midfield quartet fit, the 30 year-old insists he will be ready and willing to play whatever part he can.

"At the end of the day, we're all in it together," he says. "We haven't got a massive squad, but we are all hard-working, honest players who want to do our best for West Ham.

"The way the midfield has been playing this season means that I can't really argue with being out of the team. I've had to be patient and just try to take my chance when it comes. Hopefully I've given the gaffer something to think about and I'll just be ready for whatever he needs me to do."