Sheringham Shoots Down Eager Reading - MATCH REPORT

Last updated : 11 August 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Rob Cooper & FootyMAD Report


Teddy Sheringham combined with his former Manchester United team-mate Luke Chadwick to score on his Upton Park debut and give West Ham a 1-0 win against Reading.

The result also provided Hammers boss Alan Pardew a satisfying victory against the club he walked out on to take over at the London outfit a year ago.

Reading had given West Ham a 2-0 battering back in April, but last night Pardew extracted his revenge for that difficult day back at the Madejski Stadium.

While the Hammers had only managed a goalless draw at Leicester City on the opening day of the Coca-Cola Championship campaign, Reading had got off to a fizzing start with a thrilling 3-2 win over recently promoted Brighton.

And their second match equally looked set to yield goals aplenty, too, as both sides went on the offensive from the very first whistle.

Indeed, Andy Hughes wastefully scooped over inside 15 seconds while, at the other end, Marlon Harewood over-elaborated with just Royals keeper Marcus Hahnemann to beat, before strike partner Sheringham's glancing third-minute header drifted inches wide.

But although this end-to-end encounter may have been enthralling for both the shirt-sleeved East End crowd and a live TV audience, it was rapidly becoming a defensive coach's nightmare, new coach Wally Downes clearly hasn't had the desired impact on Reading's back four.

The helter skelter first half con tinued with Harewood scuffing wide after again finding himself eye-to-eye with the Reading keeper.

Hayden Mullins was also unlucky not to break the rigid deadlock. The ex-Crystal Palace midfielder twice missed by inches, before Dave Kitson, Nicky Forster and Steve Sidwell replied, forcing the alert Stephen Bywater into making crucial saves from close-range shots.

On 44 minutes, Harewood should have finally opened the scoring, but his point-blank volley cannoned back to him off Hahnemann and the rebound flew wide ensuring the opening half somehow remained goalless.

Despite a pleasing opening period, the Royals unfortunately lost new signing Glen Little through injury. The ex-Burnley man hobbled off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by debutant Bobby Convey.

Convey showed some impressive touches but scarcely looked like an £800,000 player, it is likely to be some time before he settles in the UK and begins to show his true abilities.

Still the defensive deficiencies were only matched by the striking shortcomings in an equally cavalier second period.

The wasteful Harewood soon found himself firing far too close to the Reading keeper, before then ignoring the escaping Sergei Rebrov as he ghosted free.

Back in the West Ham penalty area, Hughes followed up his costly 15-second miss by slicing another close-range effort wide, while Kitson sent his point-blank 64th-minute effort straight into the relieved Bywater's clutches.

As the clocked ticked down, Bobby Zamora replaced the disgruntled, goal-shy Harewood while, more tellingly, Rebrov stepped down in favour of debutant Chadwick.

Following a sliced clearance by Graeme Murty, Chadwick, formerly a Reading loanee under Pardew, swept the ball back from the by-line for his ex-Old Trafford team-mate Teddy Sheringham to finally sweep home a priceless winner from six yards.

It was rough justice for Reading who had battled heroically throughout the game. Although the Royals came away with nothing, their performance was memorable and hints at a good season ahead.