Hammers confirm second win after Wigan victory
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 28 Nov 2010 12:05:00
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Like last season, West Ham United followed defeat at Anfield with a home win against Wigan Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

Avram Grant made five changes from last weekend, James Tomkins and Junior Stanislas earned starts, while Pablo Barrera was also included for the injured Mark Noble. Scott Parker returned to the midfield after missing out last weekend due to a chest infection, while Valon Behrami also started after recovering from a knee injury.

In the tight first half in which both teams could have scored, the first real opening came on 34 minutes when Lars Jacobsen delivered a cross for Frederic Piquionne to head down for Behrami who took on two Wigan defenders and slid the ball past Ali Al-Habsi.

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The Hammers seemed to sparked themselves into life after the goal and made Al-Habsi produce a great double save. First, from Stanislas when he picked up the ball and drove into the area before he smashed a rasping shot at Al-Habsi which he superbly tipped over the bar, then from Piquionne to keep out his header.

Early in the second half, Piquionne had a great chance to increase the advantage, when he dragged his shot wide from six yards out after being set-up from Matthew Upson's cross.

Shortly after, Jacobsen who had earlier signaled to the bench that he might have to come off, was replaced by Winston Reid.

On 56 minutes, West Ham did increase their advantage when Upson headed forward and Victor Obinna swaped passes with Piquionne before hammering the ball past Al-Habsi to score his first Premier League goal. Not bad for a striker who before this game had registered 39 shots without scoring.

Just past the hour mark, Wigan who hadn't created much throughout the game then had a great chance to get themselves back into it, when they were given a penalty following a foul by Danny Gabbidon. Mauro Boselli who had just come on, stepped up to take it, but his weak effort was saved by Robert Green.

A minute later, West Ham could have won a penalty when Piquionne went down under a challenge from Steve Gohouri, but their claims were turned down.

Eleven minutes later, Scott Parker repeated his tricks from this fixture last season, when he wrapped up the points for Avram Grant's side, when he was set up by Obinna.

Grant made his second substitution on 77 minutes, Carlton Cole who was dropped to the bench, possibly because of his comments to the press after the debarcle at Liverpool, replaced Piquionne.

Parker was replaced on 83 minutes by Radoslav Kovac.

Three minutes later, Wigan denied the Hammers a clean sheet, when Charles N'Zogbia beat Gabbidon to the ball and set up Tom Cleverley, who riffled an unstopable shot past Green.

Just before the final whistle, Wigan thought they had reduced the deficit again, when Gohouri scored, but was wrongly ajudged offside. Not that any Hammers' fans were complaining.

So, the final whistle was blown to confirm West Ham first win in two months. They have the chance to build on that success on Tuesday night and possibly book their place in the Carling Cup semi-finals, but they have to overcome the holders Manchester United to do so.

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