May 19, 2013
Nolan treble fires Hammers to victory
#INSERT type:image caption: Hat-trick hero Kevin Nolan took the plaudits at Upton Park. END#Captain Kevin Nolan scored a hat-trick as West Ham signed off with an entertaining 4-2 win over relegated Reading at Upton Park.
The Irons were in complete control after a mistake from new England squad member Alex McCarthy gifted Nolan the opener on 23 minutes, with Ricardo Vaz Te sweeping home a second following good work from Andy Carroll, completing the final game of his season-long loan from Liverpool.
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However, the Royals, who were relegated a couple of weeks ago, responded with two quick goals at the start of the second half through Garath McCleary and substitute Adam Le Fondre.
But West Ham made sure of a top-ten finish when Nolan netted again and completed his hat-trick with a header three minutes from time.
West Ham created an early opening when a deep cross from Mark Noble floated over to the far post, where Carroll - linked with summer moves to both his former club Newcastle and Monaco - could not get enough contact to steer the ball past McCarthy.
The Royals, though, were not about to roll over and were almost ahead on eight minutes when Pavel Pogrebnyak's downward header was turned away by Jussi Jaaskelainen at full stretch.
Chris Gunter was clear of the West Ham defence down the right and on into the penalty area on 22 minutes, but his angled shot flew into the side netting.
It proved a costly miss as West Ham went to the other end and took the lead, with more than a helping hand from the Reading keeper.
There seemed little danger as McCarthy went to clear a routine back- pass, but only managed to smack the ball into Carroll. Nolan was on hand to collect, sidestep the embarrassed Royals man and roll the ball into an empty net.
McCarthy then showed just what he is capable of when pushing a bullet header from Nolan up on to the crossbar.
But it was 2-0 on 34 minutes. Carroll was again involved, pulling down a deep cross from the left and laying it back into the path of Vaz Te, who drove the ball into the bottom corner.
West Ham continued to press before the interval and Vaz Te rattled the woodwork after darting into the area once again, before Mohamed Diame drilled his 20-yard shot over the crossbar.
Reading made a double change at the start of the second half when Le Fondre came on for Pogrebnyak and Hal Robson-Kanu was by replaced Nick Blackman.
The visitors had a goal back on 53 minutes as McCleary's shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected past the keeper off Noble.
Remarkably, they were level within 90 seconds. Blackman got away down the left, and his pass floated right through the West Ham six-yard box toward the far post, where Le Fondre arrived to smash in the equaliser.
A low ball in from Gunter on the right then flew through the six-yard box, where any touch would have put it in.
But West Ham regained some momentum and restored their lead on 79 minutes after Nolan latched on to a clever chip from Noble to hold off the Reading defence and slot past McCarthy.
And the Royals keeper was beaten again three minutes from time when Nolan headed in a cross from Modibo Maiga.
|West Ham United||Reading|
|22 Jussi Jaaskelainen||21 Alex McCarthy|
|2 Winston Reid||17 Kaspars Gorkss|
|19 James Collins||15 Sean Morrison|
|17 Joey O'Brien||27 Stephen Kelly|
|20 Guy Demel||2 Chris Gunter|
|4 Kevin Nolan||11 Jobi McAnuff|
|21 Mohamed Diame||20 Danny Guthrie|
|16 Mark Noble||4 Jem Karacan|
|8 Andrew Carroll||7 Pavel Pogrebnyak|
|26 Joe Cole||12 Garath McCleary|
|12 Ricardo Vaz Te||19 Hal Robson-Kanu|
|32 Gary O'Neil||Stuart Taylor 41|
|14 Matthew Taylor||Adam Le Fondre 9|
|31 Wellington Paulista||Adrian Mariappa 6|
|13 Stephen Henderson||Alex Pearce 5|
|11 Modibo Maíga||Nick Blackman 30|
|5 James Tomkins||Daniel Carriço 29|
|10 Jack Collison||Hope Akpan 28|
|Jack Collison for Joe Cole (74)||Adam Le Fondre for Pavel Pogrebnyak (45)|
|Modibo Maíga for Ricardo Vaz Te (81)||Nick Blackman for Hal Robson-Kanu (45)|
|Matthew Taylor for Joey O'Brien (86)|
|Kevin Nolan (83)||Jobi McAnuff (63)|
|Jack Collison (85)|
|· Squads: West Ham United | Reading|