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Saturday, September 11, 1999 Published at 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK

Hammers third as Pearce breaks leg

West Ham's Paolo Wanchope is the filling of Micah Hyde's (left) and Mark Williams sandwich

West Ham 1-0 Watford

Stuart Pearce could be out for four months after breaking his leg in West Ham's pummelling of lowly Watford.

The BBC's Steve Tongue: "Closer than it should have been"
But the good news is that the Hammers now move up to third in the Premiership

Pearce was injured in a challenge with Micah Hyde and now faces a four-month lay-off.

With Pearce out, Hammers boss Harry Redknapp will already be pondering his defensive worries ahead of Thursday's first round Uefa Cup tie against NK Osijek.

West Ham were in rampant mood in their last Premiership game before the tie.

Only a Paulo Di Canio free-kick separated the two sides on paper, but on the pitch the Hammers ran riot as Watford somehow kept out chance after chance to stay in the game.

Di Canio ran the show as he created a string of goal-scoring opportunities which his team-mates squandered.

In the end he broke the deadlock himself on 48 minutes when he curled a free-kick around the wall and inside Alec Chamberlain's near post.

The 31-year-old had not played for over four months after pushing over referee Paul Alcock in what turned out to be his final game for the Owls.

But as his old club lie deep in relegation trouble at the foot of the Premiership, Di Canio seized his second chance in English football with both hands.

His goal today was his third in the League so far this season and it was by far the most impudent.

With Watford keeper Chamberlain and everyone else at Upton Park expecting a cross he swung a delightful shot which just one highlight of a mesmerising display.

Despite West Ham's dominance, Watford always had a chance of claiming a draw while the score was just 1-0 and they did create chances to equalise.

Shaka Hislop saved a Mark Williams header before the keeper spilled Des Lyttle's long-range drive and Tommy Mooney hooked the ball over from six yards.

But West Ham hung on to claim all three points and they will go into Thursday's game in confident mood after this display.


West Ham: Hislop, Potts, Stimac, Pearce, Sinclair, Lomas, Lampard, Moncur, Keller, Di Canio, Wanchope. Subs: Bywater, Kitson, Carrick, Margas, Abou.

Watford: Chamberlain, Lyttle, Page, Williams, Robinson, Wright, Hyde, Palmer, Kennedy, Smart, Mooney. Subs: Day, Ngonge, Easton, Gudmundsson, Bonnot.

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury)

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