Reid hammers home 'defining' victory

West Ham United 2 Millwall 1

It was a win which Sam Allardyce described as "one of the best" of his career. Despite playing for 82 minutes with 10 men, West Ham outplayed Millwall and while some fans have been underwhelmed with the style of football this season, this was a demonstration of the very best of Allardyce. West Ham played with discipline, nerve, efficiency and unquestionable commitment to overcome the early dismissal of Kevin Nolan.

Carlton Cole, who headed the first goal, and Winston Reid, who volleyed the second, were both very good, but Mark Noble and James Tomkins, outnumbered but never outfought in midfield, were exceptional.

Allardyce agreed it could be a "defining moment" in the push for promotion, coming four days after a 5-1 defeat at Ipswich. "It was a win we thoroughly deserved and a fantastic performance," he said. "After the disappointment on Tuesday it makes it a very, very satisfying performance and result for all the players."

The reason it was so impressive was because only nine minutes in Nolan launched himself like a long-jumper towards Jack Smith's shins. This was a clear example of excessive force and Nolan was rightly dismissed.

Millwall had the extra man, but lacked the skill and ambition to make him count. The longer the first half went on the less disadvantaged West Ham looked. Noble, who took on Nolan's armband, took on his playing duties too, making so many tackles, passes and runs that he made up for his absent captain.

It was Noble who supplied the ball for the opening goal. His long free-kick was headed on by Reid and Cole outmuscled Darren Ward to head the ball past David Forde.

Early in the second half Millwall finally started to stretch West Ham and, thanks to an exceptional piece of skill, equalised. Darius Henderson hooked the ball from the by-line back to the edge of the box, where Liam Trotter adjusted his body to volley into the far top corner. This is a West Ham team of remarkable resilience, though. Avram Grant's relegation side of last year would surely have folded having lost the lead, but Allardyce's did not: within three minutes they were in front.

Forde chose to punch a cross, and Julien Faubert ran into him. The referee, surprisingly, did not whistle and Reid volleyed into the empty net. "You won't see a better volley than that in the game this weekend," Allardyce said. Millwall's manager, Kenny Jackett, thought it was a foul, and probably had a case.

But a team that creates so little in 82 minutes of 11 against 10 football does not warrant too much sympathy. The gleeful celebrations at the final whistle, Cole embracing Allardyce, told of a job exceptionally well done.

West Ham (4-1-4-1): Green; O'Brien, Reid, Faye, McCartney; Tomkins; Faubert (O'Neil, 80), Noble, Nolan, Collison (Taylor, h-t); Cole (Vaz Te, 89).

Millwall (4-1-4-1): Forde; Dunne, Ward, Lowry, Barron (Kane, 56); Smith; Keogh, Trotter, Abdou, Feeney (Mason, 81); Henderson.

Referee: Mike Jones

Man of the match: Noble (West Ham)

Match rating: 8/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
News
i100
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment