Filed: Monday, 24th October 2011
By: Staff Writer
West Ham go into the break with a narrow advantage thanks to Kevin Nolan's fourth goal of the campaign.
The United captain fired home against his former Newcastle team mate Steve Harper, currently on loan with Brighton, after 17 minutes to score the only goal of a closely-fought opening 45 minutes.
Sam Allardyce was forced into a number of changes before the match with the likes of James Tomkins, Henri Lansbury and Matt Taylor all injured. His chosen 4-3-3 formation has worked well up to now, with West Ham having won the vital midfield battle by, if nothing more, sheer weight of numbers.
The home side, who went into the game with the second worst recent form of the entire Championship barely had a sniff of Manuel Almunia's goal until the final few minutes of the half during which Liam Bridcutt, Craig Noone and former Hammers target Craig Mackail-Smith all fashioned efforts on target.
It was from the latter that stand-in 'keeper Almunia produced his best work of the half, using his fingertips to divert the former Peterborough striker's goal-bound volley in added-on time at the end of the half.
West Ham created few notable strikes on target although Nolan's goal was a thing of beauty.
Having stolen the ball from hapless centre-half Lewis Dunk 30 yards from goal, West Ham's captain took aim and fired home beyond Harper, who first impressions suggested could perhaps have done better with the shot.
We'll have a full report for you at the final whistle...
West Ham Utd: Almunia, O'Brien, McCartney, Faye, Reid, Diop, Noble, Nolan, Faubert, Collison, Carew.
Subs: Boffin, Moncur, Sears, Piquionne, Baldock.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Harper, Jara, Greer, Dunk, Painter, Bridcutt, Dicker, Sparrow, Noone, Barnes and Mackail-Smith.
Subs: Ankergren, Buckley, Harley, Calderon and Hoskins.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
Assistants: Simon Barrow and Nick Hobbis.
Fourth Official: Gavin Ward.
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