Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

West Ham win basement battle

Freddie Sears

West Ham 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0: Freddie Sears put the seal on a sweet 2-0 home victory for West Ham as they climbed out of the relegation zone and sent Wolves crashing to the foot of the Barclays Premier League.

Winger Sears, a product of the club's academy and lifelong Hammers fan, struck from 15 yards in the 79th minute for his first goal since scoring on his debut in March 2008.

West Ham were already ahead by that stage, but they owed a debt of gratitude to Wolves' Ronald Zubar for their 51st-minute opener, the right-back letting the ball trickle in off his knee after Carlton Cole had taken an air shot.

Wolves had plenty of chances but Mick McCarthy's side, who won at Liverpool in midweek, could not beat Robert Green. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake went close but headed against the crossbar shortly before Sears scored the second goal.

After a scrappy start, Cole should have scored when captain Scott Parker threaded a pass through the Wolves defence and into the striker's path, but the former Chelsea frontman made a hash of his finish from 10 yards and the ball bobbled wide of the left post.

Sears had a shot cleared off the line before the break, but Wolves started the second half with a flurry of chances, but Ebanks-Blake, Christophe Berra, Stephen Ward and Nenad Milijas failed to convert.

West Ham took the lead after 51 minutes when Cole made a mess of Frederic Piquionne's cross from the right and the unfortunate Zubar did the striker's job for him.

Wayne Hennessey turned a header from Matthew Upson against the crossbar, before Ebanks-Blake had his costly miss, when he met substitute Steven Fletcher's cross but could not keep his header down.

Victory was secured when Sears steered Tal Ben Haim's measured delivery from the right into the left corner.