West Ham United 1 West Bromwich 0

Dailly service answers Sheringham's prayers
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The Independent Football

No wonder that his current manager, Alan Pardew, who this week signed a new five-year contract, was extolling his old lieutenant's virtues after the 175th Premiership goal of his career won a tight contest against a spirited and dangerous Albion.

"It is honestly marvellous that he can put on a performance like that at his age," said Pardew after his team rose to eighth in the table. "I told him that I was making Nigel [Reo-Coker] captain above him, for this game, before the start and he understood me and just got on with it and he was really up for the battle at the end when we were hanging on."

Sheringham struck, with typical composed accuracy, after 57 minutes. A long diagonal cross from the right by Tomas Repka was headed down, with the aid of a deflection, by Christian Dailly, a second-half substitute for the injured Reo-Coker in midfield, and Sheringham controlled the ball before shooting with unerring accuracy beyond Tomasz Kuszczak.

Even Bryan Robson, the West Bromwich Albion manager, admired the cool finish. "Teddy did what we couldn't do," he said. "His composure was what we lacked in front of goal. Diomansy Kamara had two chances and if he had been more composed it might have been a different story."

Sheringham had been recalled to start in place of David Bellion and his intelligent and vibrant display was an example to his team-mates as West Ham won for only the second time in seven outings. "Yes, it was a big game for us, very important," Pardew said. "All week, our fans had been saying it was vital we won this one and we did it. That's what the good teams do."

Albion's failure to score meant they extended their time without a goal to 290 minutes, and it was the wasted chances that worried Robson most. "At least, we are creating them and today I thought we deserved something. It is frustrating and disappointing. But if we go on playing like that it will happen for us. We just need a lucky break."

Or a player like Sheringham. The former Manchester United forward was the difference between the teams, his influence manifest all over the field as West Ham's spirit, and unity, survived a torrid late test of character in the closing minutes. Then Albion found a route beyond the West Ham defence and caused alarm, but Kamara wasted a pass from Kevin Campbell with a hurried shot into the side-netting.

Earlier, West Ham had controlled the game with great pace and vim, but despite much effort they created few clear openings and a series of half-chances involving Marlon Harewood left the crowd sighing in frustration. Pardew, noting that the supporters' mood was not helped by the swift video replays of the incidents, blamed the television producer for his team's culpability in front of goal.

"It helped create a different kind of mindset in the crowd today - and we really need them with us," he said. "In the end, they saw us digging in and they backed us. It is a big win for everyone here."