Making his Mark

Mark Noble was being typically modest after getting West Ham United's 2009/10 campaign off to a spectacular start at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The former England Under-21 captain shot the Hammers into a 22nd-minute lead at Molineux with a 25-yard special, setting Gianfranco Zola's side on the way to a 2-0 Barclays Premier League victory.

To complete a memorable afternoon in the Midlands, Matthew Upson completed the scoring with a superb downward header from Noble's left-wing corner.

After the game, however, the 22-year-old told WHUTV the win was far more important than his own personal glory.

"The three points were the most important thing. When you play against a newly-promoted club on the opening day of the season, you know it's going to be tough, with the adrenaline and the crowd and everything.

"To be fair to them, they started well, but we knew they would and we weren't going to come here and hold out for the whole game.

"Obviously we got fortunate and went one-nil up and held on until half-time. They then came out and played well for the first five minutes of the second half and had a couple of chances, but we kept the ball well and had a few one-on-ones and that.

"Matty got the goal and, from then on, we were comfortable."

Noble revealed that his goal had been the direct result of advice from manager Zola.

"The gaffer has been saying a lot lately that, when we're outside the box, we've got to shoot more and take our chances more and try and see what happens. I had a go and it went in.

"It was obviously nice for me, but the three points are what we came for and we got them.

A return to Wolves also brought back memories for Noble, who made his league debut for West Ham in a 4-2 loss at Molineux in January 2005.

"I was saying to the boys on the bus on the way to the ground that I played against Paul Ince that day. It's been a while since then, but I really enjoy that game. In fact, I think that was one of the best games I've played for West Ham, to be fair.

"Although we lost, I enjoyed it, but it was nice to come back and get a positive result this time."