Upson winner sees off champions

Two great goals inside five frantic second-half minutes saw West Ham United come from behind to beat Sir Alex Ferguson's table-toppers on a thrilling afternoon at the Boleyn Ground.

Powerful headers from central defenders Anton Ferdinand and then Matthew Upson earned Alan Curbishley's side three richly-deserved points after Cristiano Ronaldo had given Manchester United an interval lead and then missed a second-half penalty.

Following the Boxing Day draw with Reading, Curbishley had made just one switch as Mark Noble came into a five-man midfield that resulted in Carlton Cole being asked to go it alone in attack as Dean Ashton dropped to the bench.

Last season, the West Ham United manager had memorably kicked-off his managerial career in the Boleyn Ground dug-out with a 1-0 win over Sir Alex Ferguson's men, before completing a dramatic double with a vital away victory on the final day. Match-winner Carlos Tevez proved the West Ham United saviour at Old Trafford and the Argentinian ace now came back to the East End as a United star.

Tevez had sat on the bench watching his team-mates emphatically see-off Sunderland on Boxing Day, but he duly returned to a side that had lost just one of its last 16 Premier League matches as Sir Alex rotated with four changes. Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs and Owen Hargreaves also received call-ups as John O'Shea and Nani were relegated to the bench, while Wayne Rooney and ex-West Ham United midfielder, Michael Carrick missed out through illness.

Not surprisingly, 'The One Carlos Tevez' received a standing ovation from all four sides of the sold-out Boleyn Ground crowd of 34,966 but straight from the kick-off all past ties were immediately forgotten as Nolberto Solano was quickly denied by Evra on the edge of the six-yard box. And with the opening minute still to register on referee Mike Dean's watch, Lucas Neill then sent an angled 25-yarder sizzling beyond Tomasz Kuszczak's far post.

Although the alert Robert Green had been called upon to pluck the ball off Tevez's studs, West Ham were taking the game to the visitors and, on seven minutes, Hayden Mullins sent a rising, eight-yard shot crashing down off the Polish keeper's crossbar but Noble could only steer the rebound into the United fans packed into the Centenary Stand.

It was to prove a costly miss for, as the quarter-hour mark neared, Louis Saha released Giggs down the left-flank and the Welshman's inch-perfect cross was nodded beyond the exposed Green by the supporting, stooping Ronaldo to give United the lead against the run of play, with his 13th goal of the season.

Like Tevez, Rio Ferdinand had been afforded a warm welcome home but the locals were less than pleased with referee Dean, when he refused to point to the penalty spot after the skipping Solano fell under the former West Ham United defender's 29th-minute challenge on the byline.

Undaunted, the Peruvian playmaker dusted himself down and, ten minutes before the break, let fly with a dipping 20-yard shot that the back-pedalling Kuszczak clawed out from underneath his crossbar before Cole headed Noble's cross over the top.

Just after the restart, Solano curled a 25-yard free-kick inches wide of the left upright but, sadly, that was to prove his final contribution as he then hobbled away to be replaced by John Pantsil and, shortly afterwards, Curbishley had to make another enforced change as Ferdinand came on for the injured Scott Parker.

Midway through the second half, Tevez departed to a second rapturous reception as Anderson stepped from the bench and the Brazilian was soon in the thick of things, forcing Jonathan Spector to handle in pursuit of Saha's cross into the box. But having already made a hat-trick of penalty stops this season, thankfully, Green was not called upon this time around as Ronaldo drilled the consequent spot-kick wide of the base of the left-hand post.

Now - with Ashton now on for Freddie Ljungberg - it was West Ham United, who took full advantage of the let-off and, on 77 minutes, Ferdinand climbed highest in the six-yard box to meet Noble's corner with a thumping header that gave Kuszczak no chance.

Then with just nine minutes remaining, Noble turned provider once more, when he floated in an inch-perfect free-kick that Upson nodded beyond the diving United keeper and under the right-hand angle to seal a memorable victory with his first goal for the club.

Click here for the official team sheet