Nottingham Forest 1-4 West Ham United 

Sunday, 28th August 2011
by Staff Writer

West Ham United strolled to victory at the City Ground this afternoon with a throughly professional performance.

Forest - who went into the game having lost just two of their last 44 Championship home games - were simply blown away by a West Ham side who maintained their 100 per cent record away from home.

The writing was on the wall for the home side as early as the third minute when a Julien Faubert cross caused panic in the Forest defence before eventually being cleared.

That signalled a response from Forest who wasted two good chances to open the scoring. Robbie Findlay nodded wide from just six yards out on 12 minutes before Lewis McGugan missed an easier chance just four minutes later having found himself space before firing wildly over the bar.

Those missed opportunities were always likely to haunt Forest with West Ham beginning to look dangerous in attack. However the breakthrough actually came courtesy of Forest captain Chambers, who inadvertantly turned a Matt Taylor centre into his own net with 21 minutes on the clock.

Just seconds after McGugan had wasted another good chance West Ham went two ahead through captain Kevin Nolan. A Taylor corner from the left found an unmarked James Tomkins at the back post. The centre half's header back towards goal found Nolan, who was left with a simple finish.

As bad as their defending was proving to be, Forest were continuing to cause United problems at the other end. However they continued to squander their best chances and none more so than when Miller, with just Green to beat, passed his effort wise of the post.

They were punished once again when Cole, who had played a prominent role in both of West Ham's goals added a third on 32 minutes as West Ham threatened to run away with the game.

Once again the goal came from a set-piece; Taylor's corner found its way to Joey O'Brien, lurking on the edge of the box. His delivery to the back post was header towards goal by Nolan and Cole was left with a simple finish at the opposite post.

It could have been even worse for the home side ahead of the break had Nolan converted a straightforward chance with four minutes of the half remaining. Having been played in at the back post - and totally unmarked - West Ham's captain screwed his shot wide of the post, with the goal at his mercy.

Forest began the second half with a flurry of subs but were still finding it difficult to make a breakthrough with West Ham's defence, superbly marshalled by James Tomkins once again, standing firm.

However it was the home side who were to score next when Robbie Findlay gave Forest a glimmer of hope with a tap-in on 70 minutes following some good work on the left by former Hammer Chris Cohen.

Despite the goal giving the home side - and their supporters - a major boost, West Ham gave the impression that they were capable of stepping up a gear should it be required - and that was exactly what happened when, just five minutes after Findlay's goal, Winston Reid stepped up to score his first of the season.

Once again Forest were guilty of failing to clear their lines and a half-cleared corner fell to Matt Taylor, lurking on the edge of the box.

His precise delivery to the far post left Winston Reid, who had remained in an advanced position following the corner to stab home West Ham's fourth of the afternoon - all of which came from inside the six-yard box.

The win - which was equally enjoyed by the travelling fans who taunted the home crowd with chants of 'is there a fire drill?' as the ground emptied - lifts Sam Allardyce's squad up into fifth place in the Championship.

The Irons are now just three points behind early pace-setters Brighton, who have 13 points from their opening five fixtures.

Next up for West Ham is the visit of Portsmouth next Saturday for a rare but welcome 3pm kick-off, when West Ham will be seeking to record their first home game of the season having failed to do so against Cardiff, Leeds and Aldershot.

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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Had he not made two stunning saves in the first half it could have been a very different game indeed.

Joey O'Brien
Probably his best performance to date in a West Ham shirt. Worked hard at both ends of the field.

George McCartney
Still looking less than 100 per cent. His flank was often targeted by Forest but they may have been expecting the even-less-effective Herita Ilunga to be playing there. Did okay in the circumstances but currently a shadow of the player we had here three years ago.

James Tomkins
Once again, simply imperious in the air (bar one or two minor errs that it would be unfair to dwell on). A threat at both ends of the field, this is a player Sam Allardyce will be very keen to hold on to post-transfer deadline day.

Winston Reid
Still looks the lesser player of the two young centre halfs but he's certainly improving rapidly. The goal will no doubt have boosted his confidence levels too.

Mark Noble
Disappointing, and still unable to get hold of a game by the scruff of the neck this season. Perhaps he feels uncomfortable being asked to play in front of the back four; it's certainly not what he's known for - and it's showing.

Jack Collison
A spectator for much of the game and he's certainly struggling to repeat previous highs. But it should be remembered that he's still feeling his way back from the terrible injury that kept him out of action for so long.

Kevin Nolan
One suspects we're yet to see anything close to the best Nolan can produce. As it is, he's doing a fair job of controlling the middle of the park and captaining his side - how refreshing - but the nagging feeling is that he's yet to get out of third gear. However - he scored, we saw the Chicken dance!

Matthew Taylor
The delivery from dead-ball situations is second to none. However he often goes through large parts of a game anonymously. Not that this should be a surprise, for Portsmouth and Bolton fans have been saying the same thing for a number of years. The mark recognises his vital involvement in three goals.

Julien Faubert
How wonderful to see the mardy one enjoying his football again. Even if the rapid imporvement in the last few games is due more to a desire to impress visiting scouts than cement a place in Sam Allardyce's team.

Carlton Cole
Immense, three goals in three games and Coley continues to terrorise this league. It's been suggested elsewhere that Cole could be from the Darren Huckerby school: too good for the Championship, not quite good enough for the Premier League. He's certainly beginning to prove the former point.


Frederic Piquionne
(Replaced Cole, 68) Yet to see him do anything this season. Little to note from his brief cameo today: a waste of space so far.

Abdoulaye Faye
(Replaced Collison, 75) Introduced when the score was 3-1 to protect the lead, he was solid as a rock.

Ruud Boffin
Did not play.

Junior Stanislas
Did not play.

John Carew
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Robert Green, Joey O'Brien, George McCartney, James Tomkins, Winston Reid, Mark Noble, Jack Collison, Kevin Nolan, Matthew Taylor, Julien Faubert, Carlton Cole.

Goals: Luke Chambers og 21 Kevin Nolan 24 Carlton Cole 32 Winston Reid 77            .

Booked: Kevin Nolan 72 Julien Faubert 89        .

Sent off: None.

Nottingham Forest: Lee Camp, Chris Gunter, Wes Morgan, Luke Chambers, Chris Cohen, Radoslaw Majewski, George Boateng, Jonathan Greening, Lewis McGugan, Ishmael Miller, Robbie Findley .

Subs not used: Paul Smith, Joel Garner.

Goals: Robbie Findley (70).

Booked: George Boateng (38), Andy Reid (89).

Sent off: None.

Referee: Graham Salisbury.

Attendance: 21,379.

Man of the Match: Carlton Cole.