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Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 19:37 UK

West Ham 2-1 Wigan

By David McIntyre

Dean Ashton with Matthew Etherington
Ashton (left) made an explosive start to the season

England boss Fabio Capello saw Dean Ashton score twice to help West Ham make a winning start to the season.

Ashton collected Julien Faubert's early cross and turned past Paul Scharner before firing into the roof of the net.

The striker then scored from close range after Wigan failed to clear Faubert's left-wing corner.

Eygpt striker Amr Zaki pulled a goal back with a stunning left-foot volley on his Wigan debut but also missed three golden opportunities to equalise.

West Ham boss Alan Curbishley began the day as the bookmakers' favourite to be the first Premier League manager sacked this season and had nine first-team players already sidelined through injury.

Curbishley pleased with first-half display

But his team made a great start at Upton Park, where Ashton put them ahead with a fine finish after just three minutes.

Ashton then punished some shoddy Wigan defending to score again six minutes later.

Wigan did not deal with Faubert's delivery and Calum Davenport was able to hook the ball past goalkeeper Chris Kirkland for Ashton to apply the finishing touch from three yards out.

Curbishley gave a debut to Swiss defender Valon Behrami, his 5m capture from Lazio, while summer signings Olivier Kapo, Lee Cattermole and Zaki made their first appearances for Wigan.

Bruce was frustrated with his team's efforts

It was a tough start for Wigan's new arrivals but Steve Bruce's team recovered and went close when West Ham striker Carlton Cole cleared Emile Heskey's header off the line.

Cole then missed a chance at the other end by shooting straight at Kirkland after being picked out by Behrami.

And Zaki, signed on a season-long loan from Zamalek, missed Wigan's best chance of the first half when he blazed over from Kapo's low cross.

He made amends by scoring his first goal in English football just after half-time.

Maynor Figueroa's throw-in was powerfully headed on by Heskey and Zaki lashed home an unstoppable effort that gave keeper Robert Green little chance.


But Zaki squandered a great chance to score again when he headed Kapo's cross wide of the target and also volleyed over following another dangerous long throw from Figueroa.

Wigan continued to put the Hammers under pressure and the home side's cause was not helped when Ashton limped off on 72 minutes after hurting his calf while taking a free-kick.

Ashton hopes to be fit if selected for England

The injury could make Ashton a doubt for England's friendly against the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Curbishley's men held on, with Green producing a save to keep out Wilson Palacios' shot.

And in injury time, Zaki missed another great chance by shooting over after good work on the left from substitute Daniel De Ridder.

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley on being tipped for the sack:
"I was saying to Steve Bruce before the game that I've made 19 other Premier League managers pretty happy.

"I've been a manager for 20 years and I've usually looked down the list and been an outsider, so now I know what it feels like to be the favourite. I've just got to get on with it.

"We played well in the first half and perhaps could have been 3-0 up by half-time. Wigan then got on top of us but we defended fantastically."

Wigan boss Steve Bruce:
"We think we did pretty well in the second half and gave West Ham a bit of a doing. Their fans will go away thinking that Wigan are a decent side.

"But we're disappointed with the way we started. We prided ourselves last season on being disciplined and hard to beat.

"I'm delighted with the way we played but for the first 15 minutes. We gifted them the game - that's the disappointing thing."

West Ham: Green, Behrami, Davenport, Upson, Neill, Faubert (Boa Morte 86), Parker (Mullins 72), Noble, Etherington, Ashton (Sears 73), Cole.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Reid, Bowyer, Spence.

Booked: Parker, Davenport.

Goals: Ashton 3, 10.

Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot (De Ridder 83), Scharner (Koumas 83), Boyce, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole (Sibierski 85), Palacios, Kapo, Heskey, Zaki.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Kilbane, Brown, Bramble.

Booked: Palacios.

Goals: Zaki 47.

Att: 32,758

Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: West Ham's Dean Ashton: 8.92 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
Premier League as it happened
16 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
16 Aug 08 |  Football
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day

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