Sheringham turns back clock to deny Albion

West Ham United 1 WBA 0
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The Independent Football

After a succession of near misses which prompted Alan Pardew to insist that the television replay screen be shut down - for fear of exacerbating the growing frustration among the home fans - the former Millwall, Spurs and Manchester United man scored the decisive goal after 56 minutes.

Tomas Repka sent a free-kick from the right arching towards the far post, Christian Dailly headed the ball back across goal and Sheringham showed all his guile and control as he set himself up to drive a shot past Albion's stand-in keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

With 10 minutes remaining, Repka and Albion's Geoff Horsfield squared up. Sheringham marched smartly down the pitch and had a quiet word with his raging defender. At that point, with Bryan Robson's men pressing desperately, being reduced to 10 men would have been a bad idea.

The third moment was not obvious. It occurred, as West Ham's manager revealed, in the home dressing room after the match. Pardew said he had apologised to Sheringham for giving the captain's armband to Nigel Reo-Coker.

"I had forgotten to tell Teddy beforehand," Pardew said. "But he made no fuss about it at all. Others might have had a reaction that would have affected the atmosphere. But you have to have lieutenants on the pitch, and he is one of the key lieutenants."

Pardew as good as promised that Sheringham would be in the starting team against Spurs next Sunday, and he was loath to accept the idea that this could be the striker's last Premiership season. "I think he could go on for another year," he said. "Why not?"

Pardew also singled out Anton Ferdinand for praise, along with his defensive partner Danny Gabbidon. "That would have been a big test for Anton 12 months ago," Pardew said.

West Ham will need to become less profligate with their chances to be sure of Premiership survival - Sheringham's partner Marlon Harewood had another of his ponderous, frustrating days in front of goal.

Albion, beaten eight times in their last 10 matches, continue to offer huge effort without suggesting they have the class to survive another season in the top flight. They might easily have won this match if they could finish more effectively.

Goal: Sheringham (56) 1-0.

West Ham United (4-4-2): Hislop (Bywater, 60); Repka, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Konchesky; Benayoun (Newton, 89), Mullins, Reo-Coker (Dailly, h-t), Etherington; Sheringham, Harewood. Substitutes not used: Bellion, Zamora.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Watson, Davies, Clement, Albrechtsen; Greening, Wallwork, Inamoto, Kamara; Earnshaw (Horsfield, 75), Kanu (Campbell, 83). Substitutes not used: Hoult (gk), Moore, Carter.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Booked: West Ham Dailly, Mullins.

Man of the match: Gabbidon.

Attendance: 34,325.