Middlesbrough v Hammers

In a warm-up for next Sunday's FA Cup semi-final showdown, Hammers were beaten 2-0 by Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

Goals either side of half-time from Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Massimo Maccarone earned Steve McClaren's men all three points and sent Hammers home empty-handed.

Following Saturday's 1-0 win over Manchester City, Alan Pardew made four changes to his starting line-up. Shaka Hislop returned in goal, Teddy Sheringham and Marlon Harewood replaced Bobby Zamora and Dean Ashton up front, while Yaniv Katan came in on the left side of midfield in place of his Israeli colleague Yossi Benayoun.

With Matthew Etherington not fully recovered from a niggling calf strain, Pards also named 18-year-old left winger Kyel Reid on the substitutes' bench for the first time.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, made no fewer than NINE changes to the team that lost 1-0 at Portsmouth on Saturday. Only defender Matthew Bates and Brazilian midfielder Doriva survived from the loss at Fratton Park, as Steve McClaren rotated his squad ahead of their UEFA Cup semi-final first leg at Steaua Bucharest on Thursday.

Hammers had a glorious chance to open the scoring after just five minutes, when Katan's cross from the left was diverted into the path of Harewood just six yards out, but the striker saw his point-blank effort somehow palmed over the bar by goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.

Moments later, Sheringham also went close as he beat Wheater and fired a shot just past the post but, having spotted that the 40-year-old had used his arm to flick the ball past his marker, referee Martin Atkinson brandished the first yellow card of the afternoon.

However, with their first-choice strike pairing of Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka on show, Middlesbrough clearly had intentions to go out and win the game. On 22 minutes, the front two combined superbly to set up Quedrue, who somehow blasted wide with the goal at his mercy, before then Hislop pulled off an impressive save to thwart Hasselbaink and then bravely gathered the loose ball just as Viduka was about to pounce.

The Hammers keeper could do nothing about Boro's opening goal just five minutes before the interval, though. Maccarone's clever pass out on the right released the overlapping full-back Bates, who surged into the box and cut the ball back for Hasselbaink to sweep low into the corner of the net from just six yards out.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors just 10 minutes into the second half, as Middlesbrough added a second in controversial fashion. As Johnson skipped between Scaloni and Newton in the penalty area, there appeared to be minimal contact but the winger went to ground and the referee pointed to the spot.

Maccarone stepped up to take the spot-kick and, although Hislop guessed the right way, the Italian's low effort squeezed just inside the post to secure the crucial second goal for Boro and send Hammers heading towards their third straight defeat away from home.

With 25 minutes remaining, Pards made a bold triple substitution, sending on Ashton, Zamora and Fletcher in place of Harewood, Katan and Scaloni, as Hammers switched to a 3-4-3 formation that saw Konchesky push forward into midfield and Fletcher form a Welsh international trio alongside Gabbidon and Collins in defence.

The switch helped create a late rally from the visitors that saw Mullins send a scorching 20-yard effort just inches past the post and Sheringham uncharacteristically head wide of the target from just six yards out, but the breakthrough unfortunately didn't arrive.

Hammers had a penalty shout of their own turned down late on when Newton's cross appeared to be blocked by the hands of Johnson, but the frustration of the afternoon was summed up in the final minute when Zamora's cross dropped invitingly at the feet of Ashton just six yards out, who somehow hooked his effort high over the bar.

Perhaps more worrying for Pardew was the fact that Gabbidon limped off in the closing moments with a groin injury that could see him face a race against time to be fit for next Sunday's FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park, a game that will of course see the two teams do battle for a much greater prize…