Football: Cole shows his creative side

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The Independent Online
West Ham. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Newcastle United. . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

ROBERT LEE and Andy Cole, who were both given much to play for by Terry Venables this week, took Newcastle back to the top of the Premier League table at Upton Park last night.

Cole, omitted from the first England squad of the season and told to earn a place, proved he is a thoughtful creator as well as prolific taker of goals, making all three. Lee, included in an England squad for the first time, scored the second.

But Lee had to cut short his celebratory outing shortly afterwards when he took a blow on an already sore ankle. Had it not been for his desire to play at his home-town ground, where he once worked as a programme seller, he would probably have been rested. Now the injury is likely to prevent him making a debut against the United States next week.

For Lee's childhood heroes there was only the consolation of their first goals of the season; but while the first, from Steve Potts, was in his own net, the second, an 88th- minute penalty from the new signing, Don Hutchison, came far too late.

By then Newcastle were two up and Cole immediately broke into the box and squared for Alec Mathie to restore the advantage. It was as if Newcastle, who had sat back for most of the second half, were only playing when they needed to.

In the first period they had only extended themselves briefly, but it was enough. On 33 minutes Cole - who had earlier gone close with an overhead kick - twisted on the left, dribbled into the box and cut the ball back for Potts to turn it into his own net. Three minutes later John Beresford drove down the left, laid off to Cole and, while the Hammers looked for the return, Cole angled a pass across the box for Lee to toe- poke past the ill-placed Ludek Miklosko.

It was Lee's fourth goal since assuming a more forward role in response to Peter Beardsley's absence through injury. This one was a result of the quick-thinking and deftness which characterized much of his team's play.

Harry Redknapp's radical solution to his team's goal shortage was to drop Lee Chapman and Steve Jones and, with Trevor Morley and Jeroen Boere injured, fill the vacancies with midfielders Hutchison and Mike Marsh.

The unfamiliar attack worked hard but made little impact, and while Redknapp is still seeking new forwards he has little money to buy them. Until a late rally, when both Marsh - who hit the bar - and Peter Butler should have scored, West Ham threatened rarely and even the goal came from an innocuous situation, Beresford handling Jones's hooked cross.

Jones had earlier caused concern when, within 10 seconds of coming on, he collided with Pavel Srnicek and fell prone. Happily he recovered, but his team did not.

West Ham (4-4-2): Miklosko; Breacker, Potts, Martin, Burrows; Allen (Jones, 65), Moncur, Butler, Holmes; Hutchison, Marsh. Substitutes not used: Whitbread, Feuer (gk).

Newcastle (4-4-2): Srnicek; Hottiger, Peacock, Albert, Beresford; Watson, Lee (Elliott, 58), Venison, Sellars; Mathie, Cole. Substitutes not used: Howey, Hooper (gk).

Referee: B Hill (Leicester).

(Photograph omitted)