Premier League: West Ham beat Reading 4-2 at Upton Park
Last Updated: 20/05/13 3:21pm
Kevin Nolan: Scored a hat-trick to become West Ham's leading goalscorer this season.
A hat-trick from Kevin Nolan helped West Ham beat Reading 4-2 in their final game of the season after the hosts had allowed a two-goal lead to slip before seeing off their opponents.
Nolan was the obvious star, having a hand in all four West Ham goals, but Andy Carroll also impressed in what may be his last game for the club. On this evidence, the club will surely do all they can to retain his services, and West Ham's fans sung for his signing throughout the match.
However, Sam Allardyce will have been dismayed by letting a two-goal lead to slip, with Garath McCleary and Adam Le Fondre goals turning around the game after the break.
Best of the Game
- Man of the Game - Close between Carroll and Nolan, but the latter must win it for his hat-trick. Became West Ham's leading scorer this season.
- Goal of the Game - Nolan's second was the pick of the bunch. A fine clipped through ball from Noble, and Nolan slotted the ball past McCarthy wonderfully.
- Save of the Game - McCarthy was at fault for West Ham's first, but he immediately made a fine save to deny kevin Nolan, pushing his header onto the bar.
- Talking Point - Reading may have scored goals this season, but they simply must shore things up away from home, even at Championship level. Defending too lose at times.
The game started brightly, with Carroll knocking an early effort wide of target whilst on the stretch, but it was Jussi Jaaskelainen who made the first save, diving to claw out a Pavel Pogrebnyak header.
The opening goal came midway through the first half in bizarre fashion. Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, called up by England in midweek, dallied on the ball and his clearance struck Carroll, rebounding to Nolan who rolled the ball into an empty net.
Five minutes later and McCarthy made amends from the same player, tipping Nolan's header onto the bar from six yards, but ten minutes before the break it was 2-0.
Carroll was again the man taking the plaudits after his fine control allowed him to play the ball back to Ricardo Vaz Te and the Portuguese's shot deflected into the corner of the net.
There was still time for Vaz Te to come close to a second before half-time. Again fed by Carroll, the forward crashed a shot against the post with McCarthy beaten.
After the break, Reading came out strongly, and it took less than ten minutes to get their goal when the ball found its way to McCleary, whose deflected effort beat Jaaskelainen.
Two minutes later and they were level, Le Fondre crashing home after a fine cross from Nick Blackman, the two half-time substitutes combining brilliantly.
Reading barely deserved to be on level terms, and they could not hold on despite their improvements. Nolan found himself through on goal from a Mark Noble clipped pass, and slotted past McCarthy.
Five minutes from the end, and the Hammers clinched it, Nolan getting his hat-trick from a header after Modibo Maiga's cross found him completely unmarked.
"It was a fantastic end of the season and fantastic entertainment value," Allardyce said.
"Just a great end to a very good season. It is great to see the players and fans appreciate what they have done for each other this season."
Nigel Adkins admitted that conceding cheap goals had cost his Reading side again, saying: "We conceded a poor goal in the first half," Adkins said.
"The players have shown great character to get back into the game, and it could have gone two ways.
"We can't concede the goals as cheaply as we have done next season. We have to defend better in our penalty area."
Barclays Premier League
Sun 19th May
Chelsea2 - 1Everton
Liverpool1 - 0QPR
Man City2 - 3Norwich
Newcastle0 - 1Arsenal
Southampton1 - 1Stoke
Swansea0 - 3Fulham
Tottenham1 - 0Sunderland
West Brom5 - 5Man Utd
West Ham4 - 2Reading
Wigan2 - 2A Villa
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Ham United||2||3|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||2||2|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||2||0|
West Ham v Reading
Nigel Adkins admitted that conceding cheap goals has cost his Reading side this season.
Sam Allardyce paid tribute to what he feels has been a 'very good' season for West Ham.
West Ham midfielder Gary O'Neil is targeting victory over Reading on Sunday to secure a top 10 Premier League finish.