Big Sam happy with Forest points

Sam Allardyce was all smiles after watching his West Ham United team go top of the npower Championship table for the first time this season.

Mark Noble converted two penalties - his fifth and sixth successful spot-kicks of the campaign - as the Hammers beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the Boleyn Ground.

Big Sam was happy to see his side pick up their third successive league victory, despite the manager admitting they had not played their best football in overcoming the struggling Reds.

"For me, I think the first penalty was quite fortunate," said the manager. "We got two penalties and we've got to be professional to dispose of the opposition when we get the opportunity and I think they just settled us down a bit.

"It wasn't our best of games today and when you can drag one out when you're not on your best day and not on your best form it shows the resilience and the commitment of the players. All good teams at the top have to win a game when they don't play at their best and we've done that today.

"We're disappointed in our performance but we are very delighted that we won another very valuable three points. Of course it brings us three wins on the trot again and we're back on a winning streak, as it were."

Big Sam was also delighted with the news that the ever-impressive James Tomkins has signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until at least 2016. The Basildon-born defender put pen to paper on the deal ahead of the game, with the news relayed to the Boleyn Ground ahead of kick-off

"It's great that James Tomkins has decided to sign a new contract with us and he's been really good for us and really consistent this season."

While Southampton will have the chance to knock the Hammers of their perch when they host Leicester City on Monday evening, BIg Sam insisted that everything at the club is pointing in the right direction.

"More players are coming back from injuries and being available for selection and it's ten days before we play our next game now so I think it was important that we did win this one. As hard as we made it for ourselves, we have won it.

"Tomorrow it's three points when we look at the table and we're three points ahead of Southampton and we're where we wanted to be at the end of today's game. We haven't done it how we wanted to but we've done it."

While the first half was largely disappointing, Noble's added-time penalty aside, the second half was a more enjoyable 45 minutes for West Ham's players, management and supporters.

When Noble slotted home his second spot-kick on 63 minutes, the home team visibly relaxed and began to knock the ball around in confident fashion. Indeed, Jack Collison missed two presentable chances and Henri Lansbury saw a rasping half-volley turned over the crossbar by Lee Camp.

Forest winger Lewis McGugan did net a 30-yard special in the dying seconds, but it was nothing more than a consolation for Steve Cotterill's men.

"We created more chances in the second half but so did Forest," admitted Big Sam. "It's clear that their problem is the fact that their team can create chances but they just can't finish them.

"They had two super, super chances on Tuesday against Leicester [in a 4-0 FA Cup defeat] and they missed both of them and again they missed good chances today so perhaps we're slightly fortunate playing a team like Forest who have struggled to finish chances when created.

"In the end we've gotten a very, very valuable three points which takes us to the top of the league for the first time."

With his team now out of action until they travel to Ipswich Town on 31 January, the manager said he would be working the transfer market to try to add reinforcements. At the same time, he hopes a number of injured players will be ready to feature at Portman Road.

"It is ten days before our next game and we'll keep searching for new players if we can but we've now got Matt Taylor back and Guy Demel is coming back. Papa Bouba Diop picked up a thigh injury today but there's ten days so he can recover.

"Robert Hall came on for 20 minutes or so and we saw him at Sheffield Wednesday so we know we've got a good young player in our midst with plenty of ability so we can develop him as well as Dan Potts."