Doncaster 0 West Ham 1: Kevin Nolan gives Sam Allardyce his first win

13 August 2011 06:59

Sam Allardyce won as West Ham manager for the first time after masterminding a typically battling success at npower Championship rivals Doncaster.

Summer signing Kevin Nolan's fifth-minute strike, his first for the Hammers, was enough to ensure the promotion favourites bounced back from their 1-0 opening-day defeat to Cardiff.

Leading the way: West Ham captain Kevin Nolan opens his account for the club with the only goal of the game

MATCH FACTS DONCASTER: Woods, Spurr, Oster, Friend, Bennett (Baxendale, 76), Brown, Coppinger, Gillett (Hird 82), Naylor, Dumbuya, Barnes (Keegan, 76). Subs not used: Sullivan, Radford

Yellow cards: Brown

WEST HAM: Green, O'Brien, Tomkins, Reid, Ilunga (Stanislas 86), Nolan, Parker, Noble, Collison (Sears, 72), Taylor, Piquionne (Cole, 63) Subs not used: Boffin, Faye

Yellow cards: Cole

Referee: Scott Mathieson

Attendance: 11,344

How they stand: Championship table But, after a dominant first half, Allardyce's side had to withstand several nervous moments after the interval as they dug in for victory against a Rovers side beset by injury.

Allardyce started transfer target Scott Parker, whose industry will be sorely missed if, as expected, he departs, at the heart of a 4-5-1 formation that served to control the opening 45 minutes.

The cautious approach was aided by their early goal as Nolan opened his Hammers scoring account in style.

Jack Collison, the only change from last weekend in place of Freddie Sears, perfectly weighted a lofted diagonal pass to find Nolan's run to the back post where he prodded homeon the volley.

The former Newcastle midfielder then came close to doubling his tally after 17 minutes when his first-time shot from 30 yards almost caught out home goalkeeper Gary Woods, who recovered quickly enough to touch it onto the crossbar.

On a high: The Hammers celebrated their first win under new manager Sam Allardyce

It was evident early on Allardyce's formation, with Frederic Piquionne the lone striker, was swamping Doncaster's preferred passing game.

Parker's industry ensured he continually picked up loose balls and with his fellow midfielders offering willing support for Piquionne, West Ham posed a measured, if not constant, attacking threat.

Collison had an effort blocked while James Tomkinson and Matt Taylor both headed over.

To Doncaster's credit they patiently maintained their passing approach but with the midfield suffocated they did not fashion a single shot on target in the first half.

Jack the lad: West Ham midfielder Collison glides past Doncaster's Tommy Spurr

After the interval the hosts found more joy attacking down the wings and after winning a free-kick out wideGiles Barnes headed John Oster's delivery wide.

A James Coppinger cross then neededa timely clearing header from Joey O'Brien, while Parker's awareness ofthe growing danger was required when he charged down a Chris Brown shot.

Doncaster's improvement forced Allardyce to discard his half-time coffee and get off his bench for the first time as he barked instructions to his under-fire side.

Now agitated Allardyce brought on Carlton Cole for the ineffectual Piquionne and the striker immediately forced a save with a header before crashing another shot into the side-netting.

Doncaster were, however, the more likely scorers and broke down the right only for Coppinger to cut the ball back into a vacant six-yard box. Coppinger then headed agonisinglywide of the far post from another cross, this time from the impressive Mustapha Dumbuya, before Robert Green denied Simon Gillett at close quarters.

With time ticking down the visitors thought they had won a penalty when George Friend challenged Cole in the air.

Allardyce was clearly unhappy as heraised his arms in dispute on the touchline, but the 56-year-old was soon a relieved man as referee Scott Mathieson blew full-time on his first win.

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Source: Daily_Mail