Harewood leads West Ham charge

West Ham United 4 Crewe Alexandra 2
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The Independent Online

West Ham's Chadwell Heath training ground may be under threat from the Government's proposed £10bn Crossrail project, but the team got themselves back on track last night after the weekend's derailment at Sunderland, going straight through Crewe like an express train with four goals in the opening 40 minutes.

West Ham's Chadwell Heath training ground may be under threat from the Government's proposed £10bn Crossrail project, but the team got themselves back on track last night after the weekend's derailment at Sunderland, going straight through Crewe like an express train with four goals in the opening 40 minutes.

Being West Ham, they took a diversion via the sidings after the break, allowing the visitors two breakaway goals in the space of 11 minutes before re-asserting themselves for a win which leaves them third in the Nationwide First Division, 10 points off the two automatic promotion places.

West Ham's manager, Alan Pardew, resisted suggestions that his players had become complacent. "You have got to put what happened tonight into context," he said. "We are a young team and we were superb at times. But we needed to be more ruthless in the second half."

With a crucial away match against their promotion rivals Millwall looming on Sunday, Pardew accepted that his men would have to concentrate their minds. "We will need to be more assertive, more aggressive," he added.

Despite missing through injury the influential figures of David Connolly and Matthew Etherington, both of whom have an outside chance of appearing at the New Den, the home side took just six minutes to produce exactly what was required when Marlon Harewood rose unchallenged to head home Michael Carrick's corner at the far post.

Fourteen minutes later, the former Nottingham Forest striker doubled his tally with a powerful right-foot shot from the edge of the area.

Nigel Reo-Coker added a third in the 34th minute, driving into the roof of the net after Bobby Zamora had laid off a left-wing cross from Jon Harley.

It was heady stuff ­ and there was even better to come. Five minutes before the break, Jobi McAnuff bypassed the entire, lumpen mass of Crewe's grey-shirted defence on a long diagonal run from right to left which ended with a reverse shot that earned him his first goal for the club since signing from Wimbledon.

It seemed only a matter of time before West Ham matched the 5-0 scoreline of their previous home game, against Wimbledon, but then they offered Steve Jones two clear runs through their defence, which restored Crewe's respectability.

How Zamora failed to add a fifth for the home side in between as he nudged Harewood's cross wide of an empty goal from six yards out only he will know. But it was a luxury West Ham could just about afford.

West Ham United: (4-4-2) Bywater; Repka, Melville, Dailly, Harley; McAnuff (Carole, 85), Carrick, Horlock, Reo-Coker (Cohen, 75); Harewood, Zamora (Deane, 80). Substitutes not used: Srnicek (gk), Nowland.

Crewe Alexandra: (4-4-2) Ince (Tomlinson, 85); B Jones (McCready, 70), Walker, Foster, Vaughan; Lunt, Cochrane, Sorvel, Hignett (Tonkin, 70); Ashton, S Jones. Substitutes not used: Tomlinson (gk), Robinson, Edwards.

Referee: D Crick (Surrey).

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