Hayden Happy With Win

Hayden Mullins grabbed the headlines with his first goal of the season in the FA Cup third round win at Norwich, but insisted afterwards that he was just happy to be through to the next round.

The 26-year-old midfielder got Alan Pardew's men off to a flyer with his superb fifth minute strike that set up the 2-1 victory at Carrow Road and, after Bobby Zamora's second-half goal doubled the tally, a late penalty for the hosts counted for nothing Hammers held on to secure a morale-boosting first win of 2006.

"It was pleasing to score," said Hayden, "but the only thing that really matters is that we won the game and are through to the next round.

"We really wanted to put on a performance against Norwich and do the job we had to do. The FA Cup means a lot to everyone here, we take it seriously, and it's just nice to be in the hat for the fourth round."

Although not usually renowned for his goalscoring, Hayden proved against the Canaries that he certainly possesses a decent strike and, having finished the previous two campaigns with just a solitary goal to his name, he is hoping to beat that tally this time around.

"I've had a few strikes this season that have been close, but I hit this one cleanly and luckily it hit the right side of the post," he said. "It was nice move leading up to it, Bobby laid it back and gave Matty the call to leave it for me, and I caught it just right.

"I don't get the opportunity to have too many shots during the game, but Nigel (Reo-Coker) and me try to take it in turns when it comes to who goes forward and who sits in, so hopefully I can get a few more over the course of the season."

Although the 2-1 scoreline may suggest to outsiders that the game was a tight affair, Hammers dominated against their under-strength Championship opponents and, with the fourth round draw to look forward to on Monday, Hayden admits that the victory was a real confidence-booster ahead of next Saturday's trip to Aston Villa in the Premiership.

"We controlled the game for long periods, especially early in the second half when we created a lot of chances," he said. "I thought the second goal more or less killed them off and, although they rallied a bit after getting the penalty, we never really looked in trouble.

"The main thing is that we got the result we wanted, it got us back to winning ways and now hopefully we can build on it. We were saying before the game that a win would lift us all and send us into the game against Villa next week on a high, and that's what we did."