Harewood has revenge served up cold

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The Independent Football

Gillingham 0 - West Ham United 1

Gillingham 0 - West Ham United 1

"The condemned man" put further distance between himself and the gallows last night as West Ham secured their third successive victory to strengthen their position in the promotion play-offs. Alan Pardew still has much to do to convince the West Ham faithful - this was hardly a high-class display - but the points are coming, with these three arriving via Marlon Harewood's scrappy 13th-minute goal.

The result deepened the relegation worries of a Gillingham team whose only positives were their effort and the promise of youngsters Matt Jarvis and Andrew Crofts.

In this corresponding fixture last season, West Ham's debut League visit to Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham inflicted the Hammers' first defeat under Trevor Brooking's caretaker management. Such has been the turnover at Upton Park under Pardew, only Matthew Etherington and Tomas Repka remained from that afternoon. The current squad was strong enough, however, to leave Teddy Sheringham on the bench.

Gillingham would love such resources. They are themselves under new management, Stan Ternent being appointed in December in an attempt to avoid relegation. Seeking to end a four-match winless run, they were first to threaten, Darius Henderson heading Nicky Southall's 12th-minute corner just wide.

The optimism this engendered quickly dissipated as Harewood bundled in Etherington's left-wing cross for his 16th goal of the season. Though Crofts and Henderson both tested Stephen Bywater from distance, Gills were unable to fashion a reply before the break. Indeed, Bobby Zamora should have doubled the lead with a free header.

Gillingham never lacked for effort but finesse was another matter. After Paul Smith and Henderson missed good chances to level, Sheringham highlighted the Hammers' occasional greater quality with a free-kick which rattled the bar.

Gillingham (4-4-2): Banks; Nosworthy, Ashby, Cox; Southall, Smith, Flynn (Pouton, 63), Crofts (Spiller, 63); Henderson, Byfield (Hills, 55), Jarvis. Substitutes not used: Bossu (gk), Beckwith.

West Ham United (4-4-2): Bywater; Repka, Ferdinand, Mackay, Powell; Reo-Coker (Williams, 79), Lomas, Fletcher, Etherington (Sheringham, h-t); Harewood, Zamora (Cohen, 61). Substitutes not ued: Walker (gk), McClenahan.

Referee: P Crossley (Kent).