Middlesbrough v Hammers

A 74th minute strike from substitute Massimo Maccarone made it a dismal afternoon for West Ham United as they suffered a 1-0 defeat against Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon.

The Italian striker netted the winner just five minutes after stepping off the bench to put a halt to Hammers's recent revival and ensure that Boro jumped above Alan Pardew's men in the Premiership table to leave us lying in 17th place.

Following last week's memorable 1-0 victory over Arsenal, the Hammers boss was forced into making three changes to his starting line-up. In came goal hero against the Gunners, Marlon Harewood, replacing Bobby Zamora, who was ruled out with an ankle injury, while James Collins returned from injury to take the place of Anton Ferdinand (Achilles) and Teddy Sheringham replaced Lee Bowyer as Hammers reverted to a more familiar 4-4-2 formation.

Boro boss Gareth Southgate, meanwhile, made four changes, bringing in Rochemback, Morrison, Cattermole and Taylor for Huth, Arca, Euell and Maccarone - who was also on the scoresheet the last time Hammers travelled to the Riverside Stadium, a 2-0 defeat back in April, just six days before our unforgettable FA Cup semi-final victory over the same opponents at Villa Park.

On a freezing cold and blustery day in the north-east, both sides took time to adjust to the adverse weather conditions, as first Jonathan Spector and then Boro midfielder Rochemback fired long-range volleys high and wide of the target in the opening minutes, before Harewood saw a low effort from the edge of the box blocked by a defender.

Collins was then booked for pulling back Yakubu as he broke away on the left and, as the half reached its midway point, it was clear that a touch of inspiration would be needed in order for the deadlock to be broken.

Reo-Coker almost provided it on the half-hour mark when he broke free on the right and fired in a cross that was cleared by a defender just as Etherington was about to pounce, and when England winger Stewart Downing stung the palms of Robert Green moments later, the 25,898 crowd finally began to warm up.

That was last real action until the final minute of the half, when a slip from Collins let in Yakubu 12 yards out, but thankfully Danny Gabbidon proved that he is well and truly back to his best with a typically well-timed challenge to force a corner.

The second half began with both sides attempting to increase the tempo and, after Rochemback had fired wide from an acute angle, Hammers started to pose some questions of their own in attack. Etherington sent in a dangerous cross from the left that Harewood was just inches away from heading home, before the powerful striker went close again with a dipping volley that dropped just over the bar.

On the hour mark, Harewood made way as Pardew reshuffled his attack, introducing Carlos Tevez alongside Sheringham in an attempt to beat Boro with craft and guile rather than pace and power. The Argentine striker linked up well with Benayoun on the right, but was well marshalled by the solid opposing backline as he tried to find a yard of space.

Boro made an attacking change of their own soon after, bringing on Maccarone for Rochemback, and it took just five minutes for the Italian striker to stamp his mark on the game. After a corner from the right wasn't cleared properly, the ball was lifted in behind the Hammers' defence and the substitute skipped round Green before finding the net from an acute angle - Boro's only shot on target of the match.

Reo-Coker almost hit back instantly when he found himself in space on the edge of the penalty area, but the Hammers skipper was denied by a last-ditch challenge as he shaped to shoot.

With eight minutes left, Pardew sent on Carlton Cole in place of Benayoun to form a three-pronged strikeforce alongside Sheringham and Tevez but, despite throwing everything forward in the closing stages, Hammers were unable to find the breakthrough and the hosts held on to make it an afternoon to forget.