Noble spot on as Hammers go top

Two Mark Noble penalties fired West Ham to a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest and to the top of the Championship for the first time this season.

Last Updated: 21/01/12 at 17:50    Bet with SkyBet  Sky Bet Championship. Click here to bet.

Noble: Celebrates one of his strikes

Noble: Celebrates one of his strikes

The midfielder's double from the spot was enough to ensure the pre-season promotion favourites leapfrogged Southampton, who do not play until Monday.

But despite their lofty position, the Hammers rarely hit the heights against a struggling Nottingham Forest side.

In fact, Sam Allardyce's men could, and probably should, have been two or three goals down before they benefited from some generous refereeing, allowing Noble to make it three successful spot-kicks in his last two outings.

Referee Tony Bates twice took centre stage, penalising Guy Moussi and Chris Gunter for handball in each half to gift the hosts victory, despite a last-gasp consolation from Lewis McGugan.

Forest had by far the better chances in the first half, with Marcus Tudgay twice blazing over and McGugan also wayward in front of goal.

Their best opportunity came 15 minutes before the break when former West Ham striker Marlon Harewood and McGugan combined well to tee up Paul Anderson with the goal gaping.

But Hammers defender Julien Faubert just did enough to put Anderson off the shot and Rob Green was able to collect his weak effort.

The home side, by contrast, had created only half-chances, with skipper Kevin Nolan inches away from getting a touch on a dangerous cross from George McCartney and Jack Collison shooting too close to Lee Camp.

But they were handed the lead in first-half stoppage time when referee Bates awarded a penalty after harshly adjudging Moussi had blocked Sam Baldock's cross with his hand.

Noble, whose penalty was all that separated the sides when West Ham beat Portsmouth last week, repeated the trick despite Camp getting a hand to his shot.

The West Ham goal continued to lead a charmed life after the break, with Green making a fine save to deny Chris Gunter.

And from the resulting corner, McGugan's cross deceived everyone in the goalmouth and cannoned off the far post before it was hacked off the line by Noble.

At the other end Collison should have doubled the hosts' lead after a mazy run into the area but his shot was deflected over the top, and Camp pulled off a fine diving save to deny Henri Lansbury.

But the second goal did arrive in the 63rd minute when Bates pointed to the spot again, Gunter this time the guilty party, and Noble did the honours once more.

McGugan pulled one back deep into stoppage time but there was barely time to restart and the Hammers celebrated hitting top spot.

Bet with SkyBet  Sky Bet Championship. Click here to bet.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

More Match Results

Tuesday, 15 April 2014
19:45
Charlton 1-2 Barnsley Report
Monday, 14 April 2014
20:07
Reading 1-1 Leicester Report
Saturday, 12 April 2014
15:07
Bolton 1-0 Barnsley Report
Brighton 3-0 Charlton Report
Burnley 0-1 Middlesbro' Report
Derby 3-1 Huddersfld Report
Ipswich 2-1 Doncaster Report
Leeds 2-0 Blackpool Report
Millwall 2-2 Watford Report
Sheff Wed 3-3 Blackburn Report

Sky Bet Championship

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Leicester 42 35 90
2 Burnley 42 31 83
3 Derby 42 27 75
4 QPR 42 15 73
5 Wigan 41 14 67
6 Reading 42 13 64
7 Brighton 42 12 64
8 Ipswich 42 8 64
9 Bournemth 42 1 62
10 Blackburn 42 3 60
11 N Forest 42 4 59
12 Middlesbro' 42 10 58
13 Watford 41 16 57
14 Bolton 42 -2 54
15 Sheff Wed 42 0 50
16 Leeds 42 -9 50
17 Huddersfld 42 -9 46
18 Birmingham 41 -10 43
19 Doncaster 42 -26 43
20 Blackpool 42 -26 42
21 Charlton 41 -24 41
22 Millwall 42 -30 40
23 Barnsley 42 -28 39
24 Yeovil 42 -25 36

Updated Tue, 15 Apr 2014

Footer 365

Luton Town promoted to Football League after winning Conference Premier title

Luton Town have won promotion from the Conference Premier - ending a five-year absence from the Football League.

Premier League: West Ham boss Sam Allardyce frustrated to lose lead at Arsenal

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce admitted his frustration at his side's inability to hold their lead in the loss at Arsenal.

Premier League: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hails importance of West Ham win

Arsene Wenger hailed the importance of Arsenal's victory over West Ham as his side came from behind to win 3-1.

Mail Box

Worried Liverpool Will Become A Selling Club

Liverpool fans in the mailbox are not too worried about sour grapes from United supporters, but one admits he's scared the Reds could end up selling their best players...

United Should Have Gone For Bruce And Hughes

A mailbox asking why United did not go for two old boys over Moyes, what Wenger's targets were for the season and whether he's had a better season than Pellegrini..?

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property