Hammers too strong for Southend

Goals from Bobby Zamora, Craig Bellamy and Freddie Ljungberg sealed an impressive 3-1 win for West Ham United in a pre-season friendly against Southend United on Saturday afternoon.

In a Centenary celebration match for the Essex-based League One outfit, Alan Curbishley named a strong starting 11 and saw his players respond with a hard-working and professional display to see off their local rivals.

After a fairly quiet start, Hammers almost opened the scoring on 13 minutes. New Club captain Lucas Neill - who only returned to pre-season training yesterday following his Asia Cup campaign with Australia - whipped in a quickly-taken free-kick from the right that was met by Zamora, whose firm header was kept out by Darryl Flahavan.

Ten minutes later, the striker came even closer to finding the net, when he headed Bellamy's cross against the bar from just a few yards out after the Welsh striker had broken free on the right.

It was third time lucky on the half hour mark, though. A neat piece of play from the commanding Neill found Ljungberg, whose raking crossfield pass bounced over the Shrimpers' defence and, without time to let the ball drop, Zamora cleverly sent a looping header over Flahavan into the net.

Six minutes before the break, it was 2-0, as Etherington's deep free-kick from the right was flicked on to the crossbar by Bowyer, and Bellamy was on hand to nod home his first goal for the Club.

Five minutes into the second half, another new signing also hit the net for the first time in a West Ham United shirt to make it 3-0. A weak back-pass from Southend's Steven Hammell let in Zamora, who skipped round Flahavan and then cut the ball back for Ljungberg, whose shot took a slight deflection on its way into the net.

The hosts pulled one back six minutes later, when captain Maher struck a shot from the edge of the penalty area that seemed to deceive the unsighted Green and looped past him into the net.

As the game drew to a close, Curbs withdrew the likes of Zamora, Ljungberg and Etherington ahead of Tuesday's trip to Norwich City and, with two weeks to go until the start of the new Premier League campaign, the Hammers boss will have been satisfied by his team's performance as well as their fitness levels today.

Southend United: Flahavan (Collis 72), Hunt, Clarke (Liptak 82), Barrett, Gower (Lokando 88), Maher (Moussa 72), Hooper (McDonald 45), Bailey (McCormack 61), Black (Foran , Hammell (Wilson 64), Harrold (Paynter 64). Subs unused: Ademeno.

West Ham United: Green; Neill, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, McCartney; Ljungberg (Reid 72), Noble, Bowyer (Mullins 64), Etherington (Pantsil 78); Zamora (Cole 59), Bellamy. Subs unused: Wright, Spector, Upson, Collins, Davenport.

Referee: G Hegley

Att: 9,522