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Posted on 22 October 2006  - 12:00

Mido's opening goal of the season secured a 1-0 win and three points against West Ham United at the Lane on Sunday.

Mido's opening goal of the season secured a 1-0 win and three points against West Ham United at the Lane on Sunday.

It was a hard-fought and not particularly attractive game of football on a damp afternoon and moments of genuine defence-unlocking quality were rare. The pace of Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe did pose problems to the Hammers rearguard, but the final ball often lacked finesse.

Mido did do well to apply his big finish and still had a lot to do when he received the ball with his back to goal from Edgar Davids. It proved decisive despite a few frantic final minutes and it has been another big week for the Club when taking into account the fine win over Besiktas and a creditable point at Villa in the game before.

With Thursday night's exertions in mind, Martin shuffled his squad a little with the introduction of Davids, Lennon, Defoe and Mido into the starting line-up - Danny Murphy, Hossam Ghaly, Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov making way.

It had been tipping down with rain for most of the morning, putting a shine on the surface before this particular element let up not long after 3pm came around. Also not long after kick-off, Anton Ferdinand delayed matters by requiring treatment, making this one a slow starter.

It sprang into life on seven minutes when, after Defoe supplied the ball, Lennon left Ferdinand literally trailing in his wake before sidefooting wide of Robert Green in the Hammers goal, but also eastwards of the former Norwich man's upright.

Lennon was beginning to torment Paul Konchesky down the right flank, although the game was no great spectacle as the rain returned at around the half way point of the first period. The little winger nearly unlocked the gate after another dart down the flank when he cut the ball back for Defoe to have a shy at goal and it took a combination of Green and John Pantsil to divert the drilled effort over the bar.

Paul Robinson then had to stoop into action for the first time with a smart save from a powerful drive from Bobby Zamora before Konchesky was booked for hacking down his troublesome opponent for the afternoon.

The was a spot of handbags between Defoe and Javier Mascherano - both were booked - just before the break which, in truth, probably added a spark that the game needed. The spark ignited in first half stoppage time when, from a rare sortie down the left, Davids squeezed the ball through to Mido inside the area.

The big Egyptian - positioned over to the left and at a fairly acute angle - spun and smashed the ball across Green and off the inside of the far post. Thankfully the ball did not return into play and nestled happily over the line to mark Mido's first goal of the season.

The goal lifted the Lane after a largely uninspiring half against opponents who stated in advance that nil-nil would do as a foundation for future progress. With that option removed the second half would hopefully contain a little more adventure, but it began with the ambition belonging to the men in white shirts who are steadily steering our season back on course after an unconvincing start.

Mido could have doubled his seasonal total just before the hour but failed to make a significant connection to Tom Huddlestone's clever threaded ball across the area. West Ham were venturing forward in increasing numbers and you wondered how long it would be before messrs Sheringham and Tevez were added to the mix.

The Argentinean came first on 67 minutes, taking the place of his countryman Mascherano in an attacking switch. It was Defoe next in the action though when he pounced on a slip by Zamora and dashed goalwards. The short-time Spurs striker chased after the current one and flattened him, although not worthy of a free-kick according to referee Mr Bennett.

It was all cranking up on the attacking front and the game finally got a real snap to it. A Robinson kick sent Defoe on his way again, but striker's instinct told him to go alone rather than locate the better positioned Lennon in the middle. Huddlestone was then mighty close, before Keane and Ghaly were summoned from the bench to take over from Defoe and Lennon.

Mido again could have added to the score when he planted his head on Pascal Chimbonda's cross, but this was already appearing a game where we would be chomping fingernails until the end. Christian Dailly nearly confirmed that fear with his header in front of goal with five minutes to go.

Unlike last season, there was no late sting in the tail and the points are in the account.