Five-star display downs Derby

Lee Bowyer scored a goal in each half and helped make another as West Ham United ran out worthy 5-0 winners at Derby County on Saturday afternoon.

Bowyer hit the first-half opener with a close-range shot and grabbed his second and fourth goal of the season in the second half after providing an assist for Matthew Etherington and Jonathan Spector had made it three with a sharp strike that went in off Derby's Eddie Lewis. Nolberto Solano confirmed the rout against the Premier League's bottom side when he struck a perfect free-kick into the corner of the net.

The win at Pride Park saw West Ham United move into the top half of the table and stretch their unbeaten run in all competitions to five games. The triumph also equalled the club's record margin of victory away from home in the top flight - a 6-1 victory at Manchester City in September 1962. The last time the team won 5-0 was at home in the Championship against Plymouth Argyle in February 2005.

Alan Curbishley had made one change to the team that drew 1-1 with Bolton Wanderers last weekend, Spector coming into midfield to replace the injured Hayden Mullins, while Freddie Ljungberg and James Collins returned to the bench.

The first chance today came when Spector made a good run through the middle and into a crowded box only for his shot to go out for a goal-kick. At the other end, the defensive duo of Matthew Upson and Danny Gabbidon were blocking every attack by Derby, who were trying to make the most of the pacy Giles Barnes.

The visitors were dealt a blow when the ever-present George McCartney - who had received treatment on a twisted ankle in the second minute of play - was unable to continue and Curbishley sent on John Pantsil in his place on the quarter-hour mark. Captain Lucas Neill reverted to McCartney's left-back position as Pantsil went to the right-hand side.

Both Barnes and former West Ham United defender Tyrone Mears were the main outlet for Derby in trying to push forward from midfield but their final ball was blocked at every turn by the efficient Upson and Gabbidon. Good play then saw Etherington and Luis Boa Morte combine for a chance but the ball was cleared while, at the other end, Solano playing out on the right, got back to clear the danger from a Derby corner. West Ham United were starting to look likely - Carlton Cole nearly getting on the end of Boa Morte's defence-splitting ball in the 20th minute.

Solano then cracked the top of the crossbar with a fine free-kick, but it was not until just before half-time that the deadlock was finally broken by Bowyer. Solano hooked a good ball up to Cole who knocked it down for the midfielder and he was left unmarked to score.

After the break, West Ham United were out of the blocks quickly. Upson went in support of his colleagues up front and hit the crossbar and Neill, following up, sent the rebound just wide. The second duly arrived when a good cross by Pantsil found Bowyer in the middle and he played a neat one-two with Etherington before the winger converted with ease.

It was soon to be three, as Spector playing in a central midfield role, collected the ball and struck through the Derby defence - the ball rolling under Lewis's foot and over the line. Four minutes later, the tireless Bowyer pounced on another Cole assist after good approach play involving Solano to make it 4-0.

Mears then hit a long-range effort just over the bar, but that was to be the last of the home side's attacks as West Ham United went up the other end to grab goal number five. It came in the 69th minute after Boa Morte had been upended. Solano stepped up to try his luck with another free-kick and this time his bending shot nestled into the corner of the net.

Collins came on for the hard-working Bowyer, who will miss the Tottenham Hotspur game on 25 November after reaching five cautions, and the visitors shut up shop with five at the back. A couple of half-chances fell to Cole and Boa Morte in the final few minutes but the sixth was not to come. No matter, Curbishley's men departed for east London with three points firmly tucked under their arms.

Derby County: Bywater, Mears, Edworthy, Moore, Griffin, Teale (Howard 52), Barnes, Oakley (c), Lewis (Earnshaw 59), Pearson, Miller (Fagan 75)
Subs: McEveley, Jones

West Ham United: Green, Neill (c), Gabbidon, Upson, McCartney (Pantsil 15), Bowyer (Collins 72), Spector, Solano, Etherington, Boa Morte, Cole
Subs not used: Wright, Ljungberg, Camara