Wolves worked out

Mark Noble returned to the scene of his league debut to help fire West Ham United to a 2-0 opening day win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux.

The former England Under-21 captain got the 2009/10 Barclays Premier League campaign off to the best possible start courtesy of a sumptuous 25-yard curler midway through the first half. Matthew Upson added the insurance with a powerful second half header from Noble's corner.

The opening goal, Noble's 13th for the club, came at the same stadium where he had made his Football League bow as a 17-year-old in January 2005.

Now 22, Noble was West Ham's sole survivor from that Championship fixture, which ended in a 4-2 victory for the home side.

On Saturday, the midfielder ensured Gianfranco Zola's side would gain revenge for that reverse, earning their first win at Molineux since November 1983 in the process.

Upson ensured the three points would be making their way back down the M6 with a superb downward header from Noble's left-wing corner - a set piece won by the sheer persistence of England team-mate Carlton Cole.

Last season's Championship title winners gave a decent account of themselves on a sunny day in the Midlands, but West Ham's top-flight quality shone through in the end.

Indeed, the final winning margin could have been wider had Jack Collison not seen his shot miraculously blocked on the line by Kevin Foley after rounding Wales team-mate Hennessey eight minutes after the interval.

Earlier, Kieron Dyer had twice been denied by Wolves captain Jody Craddock and Hennessey, while Cole saw a low shot blocked by the goalkeeper's legs.

It was far from all West Ham, though, as Mick McCarthy's newly-promoted side sprang out of the blocks, only for Andy Keogh and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to pass up presentable chances inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Wolves, who unveiled Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant as a Vice President before kick-off, rocked the Hammers with an equally fast start to the second 45 minutes.

However, Serbian summer signing Nenad Milijas found Robert Green in inspired form as he twice repelled well-struck efforts from outside the penalty area.

The England stopper had to be at his international best again on 62 minutes, blocking Ebanks-Blake's goal-bound shot with his left leg.

Zola was forced to re-shuffle his troops a short time later when left-back Herita Ilunga was left dazed after a clash of heads. Jonathan Spector, who enjoyed a superb summer at the FIFA Confederations Cup, was his replacement.

Moments later, Upson had scored West Ham's all-important second and the home crowd, in full voice until that moment, was finally silenced.

McCarthy sent on Wales striker Sam Vokes, a goalscorer in Montenegro in midweek, with 15 minutes remaining, but he was unable to find a way past Green.

Instead, it was West Ham who came close to adding a third, but debutant Luis Jimenez was unable to cap a lively first outing with a goal, shooting straight at Hennessey with eight minutes remaining.

Substitute Richard Stearman and Greg Halford both went close with headers in the closing stages as Wolves finished strongly, but West Ham held on to keep a deserved clean sheet. Cole was replaced by 17-year-old Frank Nouble - a summer arrival from Chelsea - in added-time.

Manager Zola will be more than happy with the way his side started the new season in front of 28,674 supporters - including 3,000 travelling fans.

With the midweek visit of Aston Villa postponed due to the Villans' UEFA Europa League commitments, the Hammers will have a full week to prepare for Tottenham Hotspur's arrival at the Boleyn Ground on Sunday.

West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Collins, Upson, Ilunga (Spector , Collison, Parker, Noble, Dyer (Stanislas 73), Jimenez, Cole (Nouble 90)
Subs: Kurucz, Gabbidon, Payne, Hines

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hennessey, Foley (Vokes 75), Mancienne (Stearman 66), Craddock, Ward, Halford, Henry, Milijas (Edwards 80), Jarvis, Keogh, Ebanks-Blake
Subs: Hahnemann, Elokobi, Surman, Jones