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Their ability to threaten the West Ham goal, particularly after Anton Ferdinand had withdrawn injured, encouraged a growing belief in Pearce's team, however, and they could have gone ahead in stoppage time when the long legs of full back Micah Richards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.

News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own