Welcome win against Wolves

West Ham United climbed out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season following a vital 2-0 New Year's Day victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Hammers began 2011 bottom of the standings, only for an own-goal from Wolves right-back Ronald Zubar and a first strike in nearly three years from Freddie Sears to secure three vital points.

The success lifted West Ham up to 15th - albeit temporarily - ahead of Wednesday's trip to St James' Park to face Newcastle United.

The year began with a superb 90 minutes of entertainment for the 33,500 supporters who made their way to the Boleyn Ground.

West Ham wasted the best opportunity of the first half when Scott Parker's through ball has deflected into the path of Carlton Cole by George Elokobi, only for the No9 to drag his shot well wide with only goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to beat.

Sears also went agonisingly close to ending his 73-match goal-less run when his first-time effort was miraculously cleared off the line by fellow England Under-21 international Richard Stearman.

At the other end, a succession of dangerous-looking corners from Matt Jarvis caused all sorts of problems for the home defence, with Scotland centre-back Christophe Berra and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake both going close.

If the opening 45 minutes had been eventful, the second half was a pulsating affair, with both sides creating chance after chance.

Into the second period and Wolves came fast out of the traps, forcing man of the match Robert Green to make no fewer than four saves in the first four minutes of the half to deny Berra, Ebanks-Blake and Stephen Ward.

Just when it looked like the visitors would take the lead, however, West Ham broke away and went ahead in the most fortunate of circumstances on 51 minutes.

Tal Ben Haim lofted a pass down the right channel for Frederic Piquionne to chase. The Frenchman looked up and crossed towards Cole, only for the striker to miss his kick and the ball to rebound off Zubar and roll into the bottom right-hand corner.

Ten minutes later, Upson came within inches of doubling the home side's advantage, rising high to power a header goal-ward from Scott Parker's right-wing corner. The ball looked destined for the roof of the net until Hennessey thrust out a hand and diverted it on to the under-side of the crossbar.

Wolves would not give up the fight, however, with manager Mick McCarthy throwing on striker Steven Fletcher to support the lively Ebanks-Blake.

The pair combined almost immediately, only for the former Plymouth Argyle man to had Fletcher's cross against the woodwork from point-blank range.

Moments later it was 2-0. Parker released Ben Haim down the right before the Israeli checked and assessed his options before rolling the ball into the path of Sears, who made no mistake with an assured finish from 16 yards.

Manager Avram Grant was naturally pleased to extend his side's unbeaten run to four matches.

"It was a good week for us. We needed to get these points and I am very happy. It is much nicer to look at the table now and nicer than carrying the whole league on your back. We know we have a long way until we can relax but it is a nice feeling."

Hailing Sears' contribution, Grant paid tribute to all the Academy aces helping his team out including defensive rock James Tomkins and winger Junior Stanislas.

"They are young players from our Academy and they are all doing a good job. Freddie went on loan and got some good experience at Scunthorpe. Even though he didn't score there we scouted him and knew he was doing well."