Hammers knock Seagulls for six
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 15 Apr 2012 13:30:00
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If West Ham United's fans were pleased with the second half comeback against Birmingham City on Monday, they would have been delighted with Saturday afternoon's 6-0 demolition of Brighton and Hove Albion, which ended their seven-game search for that elusive home win.

Sam Allardyce made three changes from Monday's game, as Abdoulaye Faye, George McCartney and Nicky Maynard all dropped out to make way for Henri Lansbury, Matthew Taylor and Guy Demel who finally made his home debut after signing for the club in the summer. Maynard had to settle for a place on the bench.

Due to Reading's win at Southampton on Friday night, the Hammers knew they needed to win all four of their remaining games if they were to stand any chance of automatic promotion and they certainly started this encounter well. After Lansbury had hit the bar in the first minute, two minutes later, the home side had made the breakthrough as Ricardo Vaz Te unleashed a shot which Brighton goalkeeper Peter Brezovan misjudged and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

The hosts kept up the pressure and went close through captain Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole before Vaz Te scored again when he latched onto Gary O'Neil's cross to slot the ball past Brezovan once again.

The electric start from the hosts continued as they increased their advantage even further with only 11 minutes played. The Hammers won a freekick after Cole had been fouled and Taylor sent it over to the far post for James Tomkins to head across the goal for Nolan to tap in from close range.

Brighton nearly reduced the deficit on 44 minutes when Cole inadvertently flicked on an Albion corner which Gordon Greer then headed goalwards but Robert Green was there prevent the Seagulls from pulling a goal back with a superb save.

Just before the break, Vaz Te nearly had his hat-trick, but only a superb save by Brezovan denied him.

There was just time for Lansbury to try and add to the tally in stoppage time, but his high shot went over the bar.

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In a complete role reversal from the first half, it was the visitors who made the better start to the second half. They had a couple of efforts in the opening stages but there was nothing that really troubled the home side. With this in mind on 55 minutes, Big Sam decided to make a change replacing O'Neill with Jack Collison.

On 62 minutes, Vaz Te completed his hat-trick as the Hammers went further ahead. Taylor's cross was headed back into the danger area by Cole, Lansbury was fouled but the appeals were waved away by referee Roger East, but it didn't matter anyway as the Portuguese frontman produced a superb scissor-kick to beat Brezovan.

Soon after, the scoring continued when a deflected shot from Cole ended up in the back of the net to rub yet more salt into Brighton's wounds.

On 68 minutes, another change was made by Allardyce as he brought on Danny Collins to replace Demel and eight minutes later, the hat-trick hero was taken off and replaced by John Carew.

Ten minutes later West Ham made the scoreline even more comfortable when Brighton's Gary Dicker deflected Mark Noble's corner into his own net. That compounded the player's misery as he had just been booked.

The home side came close to adding a seventh goal on a couple of occasions, but after three minutes of stoppage time had been played a great afternoon at Upton Park was complete, leaving the Hammers three points behind Southampton meaning automatic promotion is still a real possibility. They will want to keep the momentum from this match going when they head to Ashton gate to take on Bristol City on Tuesday night.

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