Nolan continues comeback

Kevin Nolan got another 90 minutes under his belt as West Ham United took on Norwich City in a behind closed doors friendly at the Boleyn Ground on Friday.

The Hammers skipper continued his comeback from a shoulder injury with the run-out, as he led a young Hammers side who were edged out 2-1 by the Championship high-flyers.

For Nolan, improving his match fitness was his major positive and he is thrilled to be back earlier than originally expected.

Nolan said: "It was nice to get another 90 minutes. I felt a lot better than I did eight or nine days ago and it's coming back slowly but surely.

"I've got to keep on working as hard as I can, training as hard as I can and hopefully I'll get my chance.

"I'm about three or weeks ahead of schedule from when I first suffered the injury and all the physios and coaching staff have been great. That support makes you want to be back."

The visitors, Norwich, have enjoyed a good start to their league campaign as they sit top of the Championship table.

Canaries' manager Neil Adams fielded a strong side at the Boleyn Ground, with seasoned professionals such as Carlos Cuellar, Gary Hooper and Jonny Howson all starting. There was also a return to E13 for ex-Hammer Gary O'Neil.

The visitors started brightly and forced a number of good saves from veteran goalkeeper Jaaskelainen. However the Hammers responded with a smart volley from the edge of the box from Mauro Zarate as he tried to recreate his superb goal against Crystal Palace earlier in the season.

It was the tenacious Argentine who then almost broke the deadlock as he ran from the half way line to force goalkeeper Declan Rudd into a fantastic save.

Norwich continued to create and they made it count in on the half hour mark. Elliot Bennett broke into the box and squared it to Gary Hooper, who from six yards out could not miss.

The Canaries doubled their lead shortly after half-time as Jaaskelainen was caught out when under pressure from Bennett, who finished from close range.

The Hammers continued to try and find a way to break the resolute Canaries and they eventually unlocked the door courtesy of Zarate, who strolled to the edge of the box, and from a seemingly tight angle shot across the 'keeper and into the far corner.

The hosts' efforts to secure an equaliser went unrewarded as Norwich claimed the victory.

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen, Bywater, Knoyle, Oxford, Makasi, Page, Lletget, Nolan, Zarate, Lee (Mavila 63), Cole (Gordon 74)
Subs: Spiegel, Fanimo, Nasha, Mavila