West Ham 2 Norwich 1
Hammers grab all three points despite a nervous finale!
Following the loss to Reading, last time out, Sam Allardyce shuffled his pack for the visit of Norwich City. Back into the starting eleven came Ricardo Vaz Te, Jack Collison and Guy Demel with James Collins, Kevin Nolan and Gary O`Neil dropping out, the former two through suspensions.
The Hammers got the perfect opportunity to get off to a good start when, with only two minutes played, they were awarded a penalty when Mark Clattenburg judged that in making a clearing header Ryan Bennett had climbed all over Winston Reid, in the penalty area.
Mark Noble needed no further excuse, although the decision did look a little harsh, to score the resultant penalty kick, sending Mark Bunn the wrong way.
The early goal filled West Ham with confidence and Carlton Cole almost doubled the lead with a shot on the turn that went wide. Norwich, without Grant Holt or Steve Morison in the side, looked to their midfielders to create chances and one shot from Robert Snodgrass beat Jussi Jaaskelainen but hit the post.
Mark Bunn kept his side in it with a great sae from a Jack Collison volley from close range, but with 25 minutes on the clock West Ham were to go 2-0 up when some fine individual work from Mark Noble, dancing past some defenders in the area before cutting the ball back from the dead-ball line, saw Joey O`Brien net his first goal for West Ham in fifty appearances, sliding the ball home with a perfect finish.
As half time approached, Carlton Cole should have wrapped the game up but somehow contrived to let the ball hit his shin and go high and wide, from three yards out, when it looked easier to score.
Half Time - West Ham 2 Norwich 0
Norwich desperately need to get back into the game early in the second half and they should / could have had a penalty when James Tomkins appeared to foul Harry Kane, in the area, but Clattenburg waved play-on.
Ricardo Vaz Te, on his first start since returning from injury, could have wrapped things up but his header went back across goal and hit the far post.
With the clock beginning to run down, Norwich got a life-line they needed when Russell Martin scored with a low volley, from a cross from Elliott Bennett, in the 90th minute. But, despite a frantic few minutes of stoppage time, West Ham hung on for the three points.
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