Wednesday 26 November 2014

Hammers return to winning ways

Published 01/01/2013 | 17:40

Mark Noble, right, scored a penalty as West Ham beat Norwich

West Ham kick-started their Barclays Premier League campaign and inflicted a fourth straight defeat on Norwich with a 2-1 win at Upton Park.

The Hammers, who last won against Chelsea here on December 1, went ahead through a Mark Noble penalty after just three minutes when referee Mark Clattenburg spotted a shirt pull by defender Ryan Bennett.

Norwich midfielder Robert Snodgrass rattled the woodwork with a free-kick before Joey O'Brien crashed home a second on 26 minutes, which proved enough for a morale-boosting victory ahead of next weekend's FA Cup tie against Manchester United. Russell Martin netted a late consolation with a well-taken volley for his third goal in two games.

The Irons got off to a flying start when Bennett was adjudged to have held Winston Reid as he climbed for a header. Noble made no mistake from the spot, blasting the ball down the middle as Mark Bunn dived the wrong way.

Carlton Cole then spun Sebastien Bassong before drilling in a 20-yard strike which Bunn did well to pluck out of the air. Norwich were awarded a free-kick some 25 yards out after a handball and Snodgrass struck a superb curling effort up over the wall, only for the ball to cannon back off Jussi Jaaskelainen's right-hand post.

It was 2-0 on 25 minutes when play continued with Norwich midfielder Alex Tettey on the floor after being clattered by Cole, and Noble charged into the right side of the Norwich penalty area. His cut-back from the goalline was pushed out by Bassong, and Joey O'Brien rifled the loose ball past Bunn.

West Ham soon went on the offensive again as Matt Taylor unleashed a 25-yard drive which the Norwich keeper tipped over. Cole then somehow blazed the ball high over after another superb low cross through the Norwich six-yard box from Guy Demel.

Norwich felt they should have been given a penalty when Harry Kane went down under pressure from James Tomkins, but the referee was unimpressed. There was a stoppage on the hour as Noble needed treatment to his knee following an awkward fall.

On 63 minutes, Taylor lofted a lovely cross-field pass on to the head of Vaz Te, but the ball dropped against the foot of Bunn's right-hand post. Norwich made a double change with 20 minutes left when Kane and Wes Hoolahan were replaced by Simeon Jackson and Elliott Bennett.

Snodgrass tried his luck with a low effort from 25 yards which Jaaskelainen gathered. Cole headed another good chance wide, before Martin set up an anxious three minutes of stoppage time for the home fans with a close-range volley from Jackson's left-wing cross.

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