West Ham Utd 1 Man City 0: Newton adds gravitas to West Ham victory

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The Independent Football

City had been ailing so badly of late that fans' websites have been listing a large quantity of players whom they think Pearce could dump this summer - you might think the whole season had been an abysmal failure. Equally, West Ham will be able to look back on a large part of their campaign with considerable satisfaction, not least in the FA Cup. However, their 4-1 Premiership defeat to the 10 men of Chelsea last weekend, made it all too obvious that West London is still by far the trendier end of town.

The simplicity with which West Ham went ahead after 15 minutes of mid-table indifference yesterday was a throwback to the old days when the basics were the key to victory. A gentle clearance found Bobby Zamora, leaving him to stroll a few yards before spotting that Shaun Newton had pulled away from City's central defenders. Zamora's crossfield pass was driven in for Newton's first goal for West Ham.

Prompted intelligently and enthusiastically from midfield by Yossi Benayoun, West Ham continued to get Zamora and Newton into promising positions. But neither could quite add futher goals and City themselves played some attractive attacking football.

West Ham's defence did not come under anything like the pressure of the first half, but almost immediately the second half started, one of their former players Trevor Sinclair, took them on in a 30-yard run that was more impressive than his shot. That seemed to cast doubts into West Ham's thinking and blighted what promised to be a solid and quite imaginative performance.

City survived four corners in as many minutes before they swept upfield with a succession of promising attacks. From one of those Georgios Samaras had the ball clipped off his toes by Nigel Reo-Coker, which relieved the Hammers' goalkeeper, James Walker, who was making one of his rare appearances in place of the rested Shaka Hislop.

Walker was also grateful when a drive into the penalty area was deflected past him by Darius Vassell. But this was the second time in the match that an observant linesman had given an offside. Even so, City had done enough to claim a deserved share of the points.

Pearce said: "I don't understand what the offside rule means these days. What is active or not active? You are either offside or you're not."

They were finally frustrated by the excellent Walker, who dived to his left to stop a certain goal from Micah Richards.

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