Second-half show sees off Middlesbrough

It was all over by the hour-mark as West Ham simply blew Boro away with three goals inside 15 quick-fire, second-half minutes to secure their first home win of the season.

Following a goalless first-half, Lee Bowyer's second strike in successive matches at Upton Park, together with a Luke Young own-goal and Dean Ashton's first conversion since the 2006 FA Cup final gave Hammers impressive back-to-back, 3-0 victories.

Coming into this game, only the difference of a single goal had separated these two sides, who had each enjoyed successive Carling Cup and subsequent Barclays Premier League successes.

Following their 2-0 win over Birmingham City, 12th-placed Boro were unchanged, while Hammers, sitting one spot above the visitors, made just a single switch from the team that had won so emphatically at Reading, as James Collins returned from international duty to replace Anton Ferdinand, who missed out with a knee injury.

West Ham started brightest and, after Mark Noble saw his low 25-yarder deflected inches wide, the red-booted Ashton netted on 13 minutes only to see his effort wiped out by an offside flag.

Five minutes later, though, Boro looked all set to break the deadlock against the run of play, when Mido's clever defence-splitting ball opened the door for Jeremie Aliadiere but the striker - who was formerly on loan at Upton Park back in 2005 - curled his 12-yard shot wide of the exposed Robert Green and onto the 'keeper's left-hand post.

Shortly afterwards, Aliadiere scooped another shot into the clutches of Green and then George Boateng forced another low save out of the Hammers' goalkeeper.

Both managers were then forced to make unscheduled substitutions as the injured Craig Bellamy was replaced by Carlton Cole, before Tuncay Sanli came on for the dejected Aliadiere, who hobbled away clutching his hamstring.

Boro's Turkish substitute almost made an immediate impact with a telling burst down the left flank but, fortunately, Green was alert to the danger and he plucked Tuncay's dangerous cross off Stewart Downing's studs, a split-second before the supporting Julio Arca's follow-up was deflected over to keep it goalless at the break.

Having seen his side forfeit their early superiority, Alan Curbishley's half-time team talk certainly galvanised Hammers into action and, within a quarter-of-an-hour of the restart, they found themselves in total command with a three-goal lead.

Indeed, just 20 seconds were on the second-half clock when the workaholic Hayden Mullins picked out Cole and his well-weighted pass invited Bowyer to cut inside his former Leeds United team-mate, Jonathan Woodgate, and unleash a low 18-yarder beyond the outstretched left palm of Mark Schwarzer to give West Ham the lead with his second goal in successive home games.

And having just created that opener, Cole engineered West Ham's second goal, too with an awkward low, 50th-minute cross into the danger area that the luckless Luke Young could only slide past an astonished Schwarzer.

Despite being behind to those two lightning-quick strikes, Boro briefly rallied as Tuncay twice found himself thwarted by Green's expertly-executed point-blank stops and when Fabio Rochemback sent the Turk racing clear, his lob over the advancing Hammers' 'keeper bounced onto the crossbar.

A Boro' goal might have set up an interesting finale but, on the hour-mark, Matthew Etherington's telling, low left-wing cross into the six-yard box was met by the sliding Ashton, who got the better of Andrew Taylor to send the ball into the net.

That was Deano's first goal since his strike in the epic 2006 FA Cup final and Upton Park celebrated as one to mark the striker's return from the fractured ankle that has kept him out of action for so long.

Luis Boa Morte then came on for Etherington before Ljungberg later replaced Ashton to another resounding round of applause. and although the booked Tuncay, Cole and Bowyer could easily have added to the goal tally, it had all added up to another good day at the office for West Ham United