Harewood Hammers Villa
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 12/09/05 9:54pm
Marlon Harewood silenced his critics with a superb hat-trick as West Ham beat Aston Villa 4-0 at Upton Park.
Harewood has come under fire this term for missing chances in The Hammers' opening games of the season, but he put to bed doubts over his quality with a fine display against David O'Leary's side.
The 26-year-old netted a brace in the space of four first-half minutes before going on to complete his hat-trick after capitalising on a mistake from Thomas Sorensen after the interval.
The icing was placed on the cake late on with Yossi Benayoun capping a fine display with a neatly taken goal to give West Ham a scalp over one of this season's European hopefuls.
The home side had the first effort of the game with Matthew Etherington sending the ball over the bar from distance, while at the other end Kevin Phillips almost had a sight of goal from Sorensen's pass.
The Hammers continued to set the tone with Paul Konchesky testing Sorensen with a long-range drive, while Benayoun should have done better after Teddy Sheringham cleverly dummied Harewood's pass.
Harewood was close to opening the scoring when he just missed Konchesky's cross in the middle and Benayoun again fluffed his lines with the rebound from the edge of the area.
Just when it looked like it might not be West Ham's night, Harewood collected Sheringham's header and capitalised on Olof Mellberg's slip by charging at Sorensen and slipping the ball past the Danish keeper.
Villa had no time to regroup and found themselves two-down minutes later when Harewood was Johnny on the spot to flick home Anton Ferdinand's header from close range leaving Sorensen with no chance of a save.
The home side felt they should have had a penalty when Liam Ridgewell appeared to pull back Harewood in the area, but referee Rob Styles played the advantage with the striker seeing his shot deflected out for a corner.
Villa almost got their foot in the door before the half-time interval, but Roy Carroll was on guard to deny James Milner with a save away down to his left from a drive from the on-loan winger.
The visitors were inches from pulling one back moments after the re-start, with Carroll misjudging Milner's cross and the ball struck the far post before rolling along the line and then striking the near post.
The rebound fell to Phillips, but the summer signing from Southampton snatched at the shot and drilled the effort wide of goal from close range.
A woeful goalkeeping error from Sorensen gifted Harewood the chance to complete his hat-trick and the former Nottingham Forest man made no mistake at the back post.
Etherington's right wing free kick was completely missed by Sorensen in the middle and Harewood gratefully collected the ball and rifled home with Villa's defence all at sea.
Gavin McCann was close to finding the back of the net with a well-struck volley from the edge of the area, but Hayden Mullins was on hand in front of goal to head over.
Villa continued to create the better of the chances but after Baros got in behind Danny Gabbidon the Czech Republic ace could only hit Carroll in The Hammers' goal.
West Ham were close to getting a fourth late on, however Sheringham just could not find that extra gear to latch onto substitute Bobby Zamora's cross from close range.
The home side did secure a fourth in the closing stages that included composure and a clinical finish from new signing Benayoun.
Sheringham found the Israel international with a superb through-ball and the former Racing Santander man turned Aaron Hughes inside out before lashing home past Sorensen.
The win moves West Ham ahead of Middlesbrough into seventh in The Premiership, while Aston Villa slip below Blackburn Rovers on goal difference.
Click here for West Ham v Aston Villa player ratings.
|West Ham United||Team Statistics||Aston Villa|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||5|
|5||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|10||West Ham United||28||31|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||28||25|