Hughes in full flight

Sheffield Wednesday 0 West Ham 1 Dowie 40 Attendance: 23,917
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The Independent Online
AFTER a couple of games when they saw everything come unstuck in the last five minutes West Ham's apprehension as the minutes ticked away at Hillsborough was understandable, if eventually needless. Nobody could deny they were worth their victory.

Always the more ambitious and adventurous in midfield, where Chris Waddle found himself matched for invention and overtaken in effort by John Moncur and Ian Bishop, West Ham found enough of a cutting edge when Iain Dowie hooked Robbie Slater's cross low past Kevin Pressman in the 39th minute.

The visitors had already seen their woodwork tarnished twice when Mark Pembridge and Waddle hit Ludek Miklosko's crossbar. On the stroke of half- time Guy Whittingham missed an open goal when Waddle's 25-yard free-kick surprised the keeper who parried the ball straight to the feet of the striker.

It was West Ham's turn to knock on wood in the second half when Dowie headed Slater's fine chip on to the crossbar and Tony Cottee - beautifully released by a perfectly timed ball from Michael Hughes - struck the foot of Pressman's right-hand post.

For all their late pressure, Wednesday still did not create a real scoring chance and the replacement of Whittingham and Michael Williams by Mark Bright and Marc Degryse failed to improve matters. The Belgian was given the best opportunity by a glorious 40-yard Waddle pass but he shot high and wide. Andy Sinton had caused West Ham most trouble down the left flank, but veteran Alvin Martin was superb in the visitors' defence. Julian Dicks played his part too, but earned a yellow card after a foul on Whittingham.

Most representative of the spirit and skill which saw West Ham through was Hughes. The commitment and menace he carried down their left wing will pose a threat to many Premiership defences. The Upton Park terraces will be grateful to Strasbourg for his release.

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