Big Sam hails Little Sam

Sam Allardyce was full of praise for young forward Sam Baldock after his second two-goal haul in successive home matches helped the Hammers to a 3-2 defeat of Leicester City.

The word around the dressing room after the five-goal thriller was 'Boom Boom Baldock', and the 22-year-old is determined to keep on going after his match-winning double. His manager has certainly been delighted with his efforts to date, as he also scored two goals a fortnight ago at the Boleyn against Blackpool.

"Sam Baldock is going home with the headlines again," the manager said. "Sam Baldock is looking like a big, big threat for everybody. I am sure the word will reverberate around football, you have to keep your eye on him when he plays at Upton Park.

"He hasn't quite done it or had the same impact away from home yet. But he has been terrific here.

"Sam has scored two and was very unlucky not to have had three. The quality of our finishing today was really pleasing for me. The first goal saw Sam on the far post, outjumping someone who is six inches bigger than him to head it in.

"Then there was Julien Faubert's finish and finally Sam's volley off Freddie Piquionne's flick. All the goals were earned rather than gifted."

Reflecting on the match as a whole, which saw Leicester fight back well in the second half and push the hosts all the way to the end, the manager admitted it was a nervy contest at times.

"The boys held out. Leicester started to pump balls up there. Their substitute Steve Howard was starting to create problems because he is so good in the air. Leicester were throwing everyone forward to try and get on the end of the flick-ons which happened for the second goal.

"I don't think there was an awful lot we could have done about their second goal - what a wonderful strike - but we saw the game out really well."

The Hammers deserved the points despite the spirited Foxes fightback, the perfect tonic before Tuesday's visit of Bristol City which young fans can see for a fiver. Fit-again Robert Green was also a star after four weeks out following knee surgery, while Mark Noble won the man of the match award for a scintillating display.

Allardyce added: "It was a great entertaining football match, with a great amount of goals. It looked like we would be very comfortable today on the first-half performance. We got ourselves two-nil in front.

"It could have been more on opportunities we had and then a change in system and Leicester played a bit more direct. That caused us a few problems but Robert Green made a couple of good saves. It was good to see him back.

"Mark Noble played very well. We like to get him on the ball. Mark's quality is in his vision and his passing to set off attacks. He can play the right balls to stretch the opposition."

Certainly the manager can have no complaints about the attitude and application of his men, and with Carlton Cole a potential returnee on Tuesday, his options should improve. One forced change today was not because of injury but rather because the manager was worried John Carew would be sent off after earning a "baffling" yellow card for persistent fouling.

"It would have been irresponsible to leave him on," explained the manager.

Still, the positives of the day far outweighed the negatives.

"The whole team are giving everything they have got and at the moment with the shortage of numbers we have got at the minute, they are being asked to do that until other players come back. It was a fantastic victory to get back to back wins.

"It was great entertainment and we got three very good points."