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West Ham 1-0 Man City

By Jonathan Stevenson

Jack Collison (right) celebrates his winner
Collison (right) celebrates his winner with Carlton Cole

West Ham moved up to seventh in the Premier League with a thoroughly deserved victory over Manchester City.

The Hammers were by far the better team throughout and Jack Collison won it in the second half, side-footing home after Shay Given saved from Savio.

Robinho had missed a sitter for the visitors, prodding wide from six yards, while he also forced a brilliant save from Rob Green with an impromptu flick.

West Ham also saw Valon Behrami carried off with a serious-looking injury.

But boss Gianfranco Zola will be delighted with the manner of their victory after outplaying City for most of the game and it provides a timely boost to their chances of qualifying for Europe next season.

The visitors, who beat FC Copenhagen of Denmark to reach the last 16 of the Uefa Cup on Thursday, appeared subdued, their play lacking any real urgency.

Craig Bellamy was their only threat, and the Welsh striker ignored the home fans' boos after his acrimonious exit from Upton Park last month to set up a glorious chance for Robinho which the Brazilian somehow poked wide.

Zola praises 'veteran' Collison

But most of the play belonged to West Ham, with Scott Parker pushing the hosts forward from midfield and Collison and Behrami and then Savio getting into advanced positions down the flanks.

Their football at times was a joy to behold but they were frequently in danger of over-playing it, always looking for that one extra pass instead of finding a killer finish.

After one such interchange Herita Ilunga found Collison but Given was equal to the 20-year-old's low shot, before another flowing move led to David di Michele shooting tamely straight at Given.

Indeed the two best chances of the first half fell to the lacklustre Robinho, who apart from missing from close-range also flicked a Vincent Kompany shot towards the bottom corner, only for Green to make a fine low save.

Just as the game was livening up, the injury to Behrami cast an enormous shadow over proceedings at the Boleyn Ground.

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He caught his studs in the turf and his ankle and knee both twisted in horrific fashion, the Swiss star needing oxygen and six minutes of treatment on the pitch before being stretchered off.

The half ended tamely, but it was the Hammers again who picked up the tempo after the break as they searched for the goal their play deserved.

Carlton Cole saw a header from a corner saved by Given, before another sweeping passing move led to Parker's goalbound shot being bravely blocked by Wayne Bridge.

It seemed a matter of time before they scored and with 19 minutes remaining, West Ham went in front.

City hit by sucker punch - Hughes

Savio - on for Behrami - went on a powerful run down the left, cut inside and shot from 20 yards.

Given made a fine save with his left hand but parried it out to Collison, who showed fabulous composure on the volley to lift the ball over the keeper and into the net.

City finally woke up and Felipe Caicedo twice threatened, first skipping past Matthew Upson only to fire wide, before moments later lashing wildly over from 10 yards.

But City, who have only won once on the road all season, never really looked like halting their woeful away form.


Manchester City manager Mark Hughes:
"We dominated for long periods. They got a breakaway against the run of play and have taken the chance they've created.

"Performance wise it's as good as we've played away from home, and that includes the draw at Liverpool.

"If we concede first teams are prepared to get people behind the ball and we find it difficult to break them down."

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola:
"They had some chances but we had more and we were in control of the game."

On match-winner Jack Collison: "Jack is unbelievable, he's getting better and better.

"He plays like a veteran and his attitude is good. He's got a bright future. I feel very lucky to have him and not only him, but other players too."


West Ham: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami (Nsereko 43), Parker, Collison, Kovac (Spector 83), Di Michele (Lopez 87), Cole.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Sears, Stanislas, Payne.

Booked: Parker, Kovac.

Goals: Collison 71.

Man City: Given, Richards (Caicedo 15), Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge, Zabaleta, De Jong (Bojinov 89), Kompany, Ireland, Bellamy (Elano 66), Robinho.
Subs Not Used: Hart, Vassell, Garrido, Berti.

Booked: Kompany, Ireland.

Att: 34,562.

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: West Ham's Robert Green on 6.82 (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.



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see also
Bellamy faces assessment on knee
01 Mar 09 |  Man City
Sunday's football photos
01 Mar 09 |  Football


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