Noble on the spot for Hammers
West Ham scrap for victory against Blues
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: 19/08/07 3:03pm
Dyer: Debut win
A Mark Noble penalty was enough to separate the teams as West Ham claimed their first points of the season with a 1-0 victory at Birmingham.
Kieron Dyer, on his West Ham debut, could have been awarded a penalty after just a few minutes when he was tugged down by Stephen Kelly, but the rest of the first half was a largely forgettable, scrappy affair.
The Hammers produced a much better performance in the second half and took the lead in the 70th minute when Noble tucked away his spot-kick after Craig Bellamy had been brought down by goalkeeper Colin Doyle.
Robert Green was forced to make a number of fine saves in the closing stages as Birmingham battled valiantly for an equaliser, but to no avail.
Noble impressed in the centre of the park - the only survivor in that department from the side which faced Manchester City - and the margin of victory would have been greater had Bobby Zamora showed more clinical finishing.
Dyer appealed in vain for a penalty after being challenged by Kelly following a typical surge into the home area.
Garry O'Connor, who scored his first goal for City in the mid-week draw with Sunderland, tried his luck from 25 yards out but screwed his shot across the face of the goal.
In the 25th minute Rahdi Jaidi handled some 35 yards from the Birmingham goal and Noble's fierce skidding drive beat the dive of Doyle but thumped against the post.
Blues retaliated and Mikael Forssell would have been disappointed to have sliced his shot well wide when he bore down on the Hammers goal.
Birmingham's best attempt of the opening half came in injury-time when Robert Green parried Jaidi's shot after Forssell's initial attempt had been blocked following a Larsson free-kick.
West Ham looked more dangerous after the break and Zamora twice should have done better in the space of three minutes.
The ex Brighton player should have at least hit the target after controlling a deep Ferdinand cross but lofted over the bar. Then Zamora volleyed over from close range after another good run by Etherington.
The Hammers finally went ahead after 68 minutes when Doyle was adjudged to have brought down Bellamy.
Up stepped Noble to make no mistake from the penalty spot and seal the win.
|Birmingham City||Team Statistics||West Ham United|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||10|
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||17||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||17||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||17||17|