Fulham 1 West Ham United 2

Harewood steals the scene as Fulham fluff their lines
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The Independent Football

Spurious uses of Jane Austen, and the latest film starring West Ham fan Ms Knightley, apart (and it's not often either could be expected to crop up in a report of a football match), this was a raucous, entertaining encounter. And one that the Fulham manager, Chris Coleman, said was the best capital derby he had been involved in. That the players trooped off to Chas & Dave only underlined West Ham's resurgence.

It is a result which lifted them, albeit temporarily, to fourth in the Premiership table, and their manager, Alan Pardew, a one-time team-mate of Coleman's at Crystal Palace, could barely conceal the widest of Cheshire cat grins afterwards. His players are on a roll now, belief coursing through them, a young, vibrant side stepping up to the plate: players such as the captain, Nigel Reo-Coker, who could have been dismissed in the first half for a rash challenge on Papa Boupa Diop after being booked earlier, Hayden Mullins and, above all here, Marlon Harewood.

He may have a surname which would not have been out of place alongside the Bennetts of Darcys, but the big striker also has the kind of raw, bull-working playing style that always unsettles opponents.

He scored one goal - his fourth inside a week - and forced another while also having one disallowed for offside and striking the crossbar. Pardew revealed that he had sat down with Harewood after West Ham's first three games - in which he failed to score - and talked about his need to concentrate. "He does not play to his maximum at times," he said. He was at the max here after his hat-trick last Monday against Aston Villa.

Not that it had appeared that West Ham would prevail. "We should have scored in the first half but we didn't," lamented Coleman, who must now reflect on Fulham's equal-lowest points total in the top flight after six games despite his team again playing well. The pressure on him may ratchet up once more.

But Fulham should have scored after the first minute, when Claus Jensen easily evaded Anton Ferdinand only for his low shot to cannon off Roy Carroll's legs.

That was as the visitors struggled without Teddy Sheringham, who was consigned to a substitute's role because, at 39, his limbs were screaming for a rest. Pardew shifted Harewood to the right and played Bobby Zamora as a lone striker. With Yossi Benayoun playing inside as well, it simply didn't work.

A dozen minutes later and Brian McBride should have capitalised when he was picked out by Luis Boa Morte's curling cross. His header was firm but too close to Carroll. "What let us down today was the final third," Coleman said. "Our quality was not there." Maybe so, but in defence also, where Fulham eventually lost Zat Knight to injury, they began to creak as Pardew reverted to two strikers. Harewood sprang to life and was desperately unlucky when he hooked Zamora's flick on to the bar. The rebound fell to Reo-Coker but he could not twist his body enough to turn his header in.

Just as Fulham could have scored from the kick-off, West Ham did at the restart. It was a goal of rare quality with Zamora guiding Tomas Repka's punt forward into Harewood, who deftly flicked it over Knight. He had the awareness and speed to run on, beating Tony Warner to the ball and poking it into the net.

Fulham were reeling. Soon Harewood had nimbly turned on Paul Konchesky's cross, dumping Niclas Jensen on the turf and shooting low against the post. The ball slammed against Warner, an unconvincing presence, and back in for the most unfortunate of own goals.

An immediate reply was needed but Carroll repelled Claus Jensen's shot before Boa Morte created the space to arc the ball around Konchesky. Carroll, unsighted, was also beaten.

It set up the contest for a feverish finish but, cleverly, Pardew introduced Sheringham. He brought with him a degree of control which calmed those around him. Still, Danny Gabbidon had to be alert enough to hack away after a long throw caused panic in the area. It was the closest Fulham came.

"While it is a precious three points we dropped we did not crumble which we would have done last season," protested Coleman. That was cold comfort. Of West Ham he said: "If they are honest then they've probably surprised themselves. They've had a fantastic start."

Pardew, in the glow of success, would not disagree with that. "They're wide London boys enjoying themselves," he said colourfully of his team. And he's enjoying it, too.

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