Manchester City 2 West Ham Utd 0: Samaras double curtails speculation about Pearce's tenure

If Stuart Pearce pays heed to omens he will wonder whether this result will match the impact on his side's fortunes of West Ham's visit to Eastlands in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup last season, which proved the point at which City's progress under the former England defender's stewardship went into sharp decline.

The unhappy run of results into which City became locked in the wake of their defeat on that occasion, standing at a worrying 13 defeats in 16 games at kick-off yesterday afternoon, had brought a crisis point in Pearce's career that had led inevitably to speculation about the security of his job.

Another reverse here would only have led to more grim headlines this morning but two goals from the Georgios Samaras early in the second half lifted the cloud over the City manager as West Ham's own early season troubles continued and their high profile signings, Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez, again made little impact.

There was a cautiousness in City's early play that was understandable in front of a palpably nervous home crowd but West Ham are hardly flowing with confidence and once it became clear to City that they could afford to let themselves go a little the reticence began to loosen, to the extent that the best of the first-half opportunities were created by the home side.

Ishmael Miller, to whom Claudio Reyna had lost his place, set up the best, releasing an early pass along the left that found Samaras getting into his stride.

The striker's attempt to slide the ball across Roy Carroll lacked power but beat the Irishman anyway and grazed the foot of the far post.

Their ability to threaten the West Ham goal, particularly after Anton Ferdinand had withdrawn injured, encouraged a growing belief in Pearce's team, however, and they could have gone ahead in stoppage time when the long legs of full back Micah Richards carried him from the half-way line into the penalty area. But his pull-back to Bernardo Corradi bobbled horribly and the Italian's goal attempt was no cleaner.

The first of Samaras' goals was rooted again in City's ability to attack the flanks with pace and power as Miller surged past Hayden Mullins, the replacement right-back. Christian Dailly managed to get half a block on Miller's cross but the ball spun towards Samaras, who cushioned it on his chest at the edge of the box and struck it left-footed as it fell, giving Carroll no chance of making a save.

If Pearce was holding himself in check then, reluctant to trust in a slender lead gained with 40 minutes still to sweat through, he could allow himself at least a measure of optimism 12 minutes later as Samaras doubled the lead, his movement catching West Ham square and flat footed as Corradi chipped a pass over the top, his 21-year-old strike partner having the legs to beat Carroll to the ball and lift it over the goalkeeper's head into an unguarded net.

West Ham's manager, Alan Pardew, whose side now sits behind City in the table, hauled off strikers Marlon Harewood and Bobby Zamora in exchange for Carlton Cole and Tevez but there was no disturbing the home side's superiority and Joey Barton was close to adding a third goal in the last 10 minutes with a free-kick that had Carroll scrambling to push wide.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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.

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'