Sheringham strike sends Pardew off to right start

West Ham United 1 - Reading 0
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Alan Pardew, the West Ham manager, was left with a wry smile on his face as summer signing Teddy Sheringham's first goal in claret-and-blue nine minutes from time sunk dogged Reading, the club the Upton Park chief controversially walked out on last year to take up his current post.

Alan Pardew, the West Ham manager, was left with a wry smile on his face as summer signing Teddy Sheringham's first goal in claret-and-blue nine minutes from time sunk dogged Reading, the club the Upton Park chief controversially walked out on last year to take up his current post.

Pardew would have welcomed an early opening goal to take pressure off his claret-and-blue charges, but Hayden Mullins, playing in midfield with want-away Michael Carrick left out altogether, headed a Matthew Etherington corner over the crossbar.

The lively Mullins also shot wide from close range in the 28th minute, while midfield partner Nigel Reo-Coker had a header saved by Marcus Hahnemann and then saw an effort deflected wide of the target as West Ham strived for an opener.

It was Reading, now under Pardew's former boss during his playing days at Crystal Palace, Steve Coppell, who posed the greater threat as Nicky Shorey's wicked inswinging corner from the right forced goalkeeper Stephen Bywater into action as he tipped the ball over the top. The visitors, however, lost Glen Little to injury after only 34 minutes.

The forward Dave Kitson wasted two efforts to hand Reading the lead shortly before half-time, while at the other end Marlon Harewood had an goal ruled out for offside, Hahnemann having initially saved from the West Ham striker. The ineffective Sergei Rebrov was eventually substituted after the break in place of Luke Chadwick, the Manchester United cast off signed on a free transfer during the summer, and the result was immediate. The pace and creativity of Chadwick saw him create an opening which was saved. The fresh talent paid dividends in the 81st minute when he capitalised on indecision in the Reading defence and crossed for former Manchester United colleague Sheringham on the six-yard area and the veteran forward tucked the ball home for the winner.

The evergreen Sheringham selflessly acknowledged youngster Chadwick's contribution in creating the goal, and their relationship was evident as they both exchanged crosses for each other only to see the chances denied by the Reading defence.

West Ham dominated the second-half with threats coming from Harewood, Mullins and Reo-Coker as they all tested Hahnemann. But it needed the lively Chadwick, keen to make an impression on his home debut, who kept the home fans talking as he made two vital interceptions to block Shorey efforts in the final minutes.

West Ham United (4-4-2): Bywater; Repka, Melville (Ferdinand, 61), Dailly, Cohen; Rebrov (Chadwick, 76), Mullins, Reo-Coker, Etherington; Sheringham, Harewood (Zamora, 71). Substitutes not used: Walker, Nowland.

Reading (4-4-2): Hahnemann; Murty, Ingimarsson, Williams, Shorey; Hughes (Goater, 84), Little (Convey, 34), Sidwell, Harper; Kitson, Forster. Substitutes not used: Young, Sonko, Newman.

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire).

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