Cole stunner has Noble smiling

Mark Noble joked that Carlton Cole did not mean his sensational overhead kick at the City of Manchester Stadium on Sunday.

The West Ham United midfielder knows how to find the net in style himself but when asked to comment on his team-mate's vision and precision to take a Freddie Ljungberg cross in stride, tee the ball up and then acrobatically score, he initially claimed. "It was a great touch and overhead kick - but I don't think he meant it. You know I think he tried to do something else!"

The 20-year-old soon revealed his true thoughts on the strike and Cole's all-round game as the figurehead of the visitors' attack with Dean Ashton absent. "I am just joking," he added. "It was a fantastic goal. He ran the line well and we are just totally gutted that we haven't come away with the three points. We deserved it, played well enough and I feel they got a bit lucky."

Although the disappointment was felt throughout the side, Noble said some perspective was also needed against a fifth-placed City side that have won nine and drawn three of their 12 league games at home this season and just edged past the Hammers at home in the FA Cup last Wednesday too. "They have been good here all year," he said. "They have beat Man United and a couple of the big teams, so we are happy enough with the point but it should have been three.

"I thought we passed it well and caused them problems. It was a kind of similar to the cup game. We played well in both games and we created a lot more but couldn't score like last week." West Ham United remain in tenth place but know a home win against Liverpool on Wednesday week will keep the pressure on those just outside the European places. "We are a bit disappointed but that's why they are doing well because they don't lose many games," Noble concluded. "We will just keep chasing the pack now."