'An absolutely fantastic result'

After seeing his side secure their fifth away win of the season, Alan Curbishley is heading into the Christmas period filled with festive joy.

It took a total team effort as West Ham United finally sunk Middlesbrough despite going a goal down. "This is an absolutely fantastic result for us," enthused the Boleyn Ground boss after seeing strikes by Dean Ashton and Scott Parker secure the club's first victory on Teesside turf, after a 12-year, ten-match, wait to break their duck at the Riverside Stadium. "Once again, all of our players dug in for us and we pulled out the result with two great goals.

"Our injury problems are well-documented. Both George McCartney and Matthew Upson had fitness tests before the game, while I also had to ask Jonathan Spector to play at centre-half and he was absolutely outstanding. Before the game there was a bit of a rallying call from the captain, too, and we knew that we just had to go out there and get on with it.

"We've been asking people to do things for us and they've just gone and done them and I can't speak highly enough of the players, who have come in over the past six or seven weeks and have taken their opportunities. That's certainly made our squad even stronger.

"It was fantastic to come here and bounce back with a hard-fought win after our results against Everton because Middlesbrough came into the game off the back of two great results against Arsenal and Derby County," continued Curbishley, who saw top-scorer Ashton convert for the fifth time this season before Parker sealed the three precious points with his first strike for the club.

"Boro started off quite lively against us, too, and although they went in front, there wasn't too much in the game and, in the end, our two goals lifted it. They came from two players who have been chasing their fitness in the first-team. Scott had three games in six days last week and he just had to get through it, while Deano's been thrown in and told to get on with it, too, which is difficult.

"Last week, Everton beat us with some late goals in each half and, today, it was our turn to get some well-timed ones. Scott's had such a frustrating time but he's worked ever so hard to get back, he deserved his goal and let's hope that today is just the start of things to come.

"Dean Ashton has worked hard, too, and whenever anything pops down, you always hope that it'll fall to him. He's had a bit of criticism lately because the expectation levels are so high but he's physically fit and I thought that he looked a bit sharper today.

"After working like that he's now just got to get on with his next game," concluded Curbishley, who hopes his side can start to replicate their awayday form at the Boleyn Ground, starting with the Wednesday lunchtime visit of Steve Coppell's Reading. "We'll enjoy this tonight and, although we're going to be getting on the bus feeling absolutely delighted, we'll be so disappointed if we don't go and get a result on Boxing Day, now.

"Our away form may be better but let's hope we can do something in front of our own fans on Wednesday and follow up today's win with a home victory over Reading."