Ashton leads the way

Dean Ashton has been voted the West Ham United player of the month for the second time in a row following a poll of readers.

The 24-year-old was singled out in March as well and already looks a contender to take the plaudits for May after his superb goal at Manchester United last Saturday - his fourth in seven matches. This latest honour was for his contribution in April, when he produced hardworking displays in the 1-0 defeats by Portsmouth and Bolton Wanderers at home and away respectively before a superb goal and all-round display in the 2-2 home draw with Newcastle United. That came after a bout of tonsillitis that caused him to miss the 2-1 win against Derby County.


Ashton, who was followed closely by Robert Green in the poll, said: "Obviously it's great that the fans think I deserve to win it again and to get it two months on the trot hopefully means people think I am on a good run of form and not being affected by my injury any more." The No9 was certainly moving freely when he unleashed a superb overhead kick late to score past Edwin van der Sar on Saturday although he did later feel a problem with his groin as a result of the acrobatic attempt.

It was worth the discomfort and the subsequent enforced substitution as he felt it was the most spectacular strike he had ever scored. "The goal on Saturday was the best of my career," he said. "It was made more special by the fact I did it at Old Trafford against Man Utd which is the team my family support and where I dreamt of scoring growing up as a boy. It is just a shame we couldn't put on a better performance as a team but we are looking to end the season on a high on Sunday at home to Aston Villa."