Cole delivers quick-fire result first time up for West Ham

Watford 0 West Ham United 4

A first start for Carlton Cole and a first thrashing administered by West Ham in the Championship. A coincidence? Almost certainly not, considering how influential he was - on the ball, in the air and with his movement.

Then again, for all the debate about who should be leading West Ham's line up front, it was two goal-shy defenders who sent them on their way to victory. James Tomkins scored his first since April 2009 then – even more unusually – Joey O'Brien produced a solo effort to net for the first time since January 2005. Those two first-half goals deflated a dangerous-looking Watford side, before Cole killed them off and Scott Parker rounded off the rout.

It is short-sighted to trot out stats about West Ham having shaken off their away woes – considering the difference in standard of opposition – but at least they had the rare feeling of back-to-back away wins. Manager Sam Allardyce said: "The quality of all four goals was something to be admired. It's how we defended as well. I wouldn't have thought the players can get much better than they were tonight."

Cole had got the nod ahead of Frédéric Piquionne. Interestingly, Allardyce brought Piquionne on for Cole almost as soon as the England striker had scored. Cole insists he is staying at the club though. John Carew – not fit enough yet – is eyeing his place, too.

Cole won the free-kick that led to West Ham's opener. Matt Taylor struck it well, but it was pushed out by Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach. Taylor took the corner and Tomkins scored with a firm, back-post header.

Watford battled on, in an open and fast-paced start, with Marvin Sordell forcing an excellent finger-tip save from Robert Green – a pivotal moment. Discussing Green's future, Allardyce said: "It's obviously a very delicate situation as we're in the Championship and there's only a certain length we can go."

Shortly before half-time, O'Brien dashed down the right, cut inside and across the box, then eventually squeezed a low shot into the far corner. With West Ham looking increasingly comfortable, Herita Ilunga cut the ball back from the left for Cole to tap home in the 70th minute. Parker fired in the fourth late on with a curling shot from Julien Faubert's pass.

The Watford manager Sean Dyche said: "For parts of the game, we played very well. The reality is that they've got one player who earns our total wage bill."

Watford (4-4-2): Loach; Doyley, Mariappa, Taylor, Dickinson; Yeates (Deeney, 74), Eustace, Jenkins, Forsyth; Sordell, Iwelumo (Massey, 56). Substitutes not used Gilmartin (gk), Bennett, Mirfin.

West Ham United (4-5-1): Green; O'Brien, Tomkins (Faye, 67), Reid, Ilunga; Collison (Faubert, 75), Nolan, Parker, Noble, Taylor; Cole (Piquionne, 74). Substitutes not used Boffin (gk), Barrera.

Referee D Whitestone (Northamptonshire).

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform