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West Ham 3 Wimbledon 1 By John Oakley, PA Sport
West Ham scored three times in the first 10 minutes of the second half to gain a convincing victory over London rivals Wimbledon at Upton Park and move up to third in the Premiership table.
Substitute Efan Ekoku scored a consolation goal for Wimbledon 10 minutes from time but the Hammers were so much on top they were unfortunate not to have won by a much bigger margin.
John Hartson, after 47 minutes, Marc Rieper (53) and Eyal Berkovic (54) scored the goals for the hosts and Wimbledon, normally full of passion and quick running, looked dejected and demoralised.
West Ham had dominated most of the first half with Berkovic always prominent with his darting runs and the ball did not run kindly for the home side as Wimbledon held out without too many problems.
Despite having almost all of the play in the opening 45 minutes West Ham had only one real chance when Hartson shot narrowly wide in the 24th minute.
But it was a completely different story after the interval as the Hammers surged forward and Hartson, collecting the ball on the edge of the box, sent in a great shot which beat unsighted keeper Neil Sullivan easily.
Six minutes later West Ham went further ahead when, following a free-kick from Berkovic on the left of the Wimbledon penalty area, Rieper rose above the Dons defence to head the ball into the far corner of the net.
West Ham were now rampant and it took them less than 90 seconds to make it 3-0.
Tim Breacker sent Berkovic clear through the middle and the former Southampton player took the ball up to the advancing Sullivan and then slipped it past him with a low shot into the corner.
Wimbledon's defence was being torn apart and West Ham almost scored a fourth goal after 59 minutes. John Moncur sent in a piledriver from 30 yards which Sullivan could only parry and the incoming Iain Dowie almost forced the ball home.
The Dons occasionally threatened but 18-year-old defender Rio Ferdinand justified his selection in the England squad for the World Cup qualifier with Moldova with a near faultless performance, while David Unsworth rarely put a foot wrong in his home debut.
Though West Ham perhaps relaxed a little after their three-goal burst they continued to look dangerous and had too many players forward when Wimbledon scored their solitary reply.
Ekoku, who had come on for Dean Holdsworth at the start of the second half, had not been particularly prominent but ran on to a long ball into the box and easily beat Ludek Miklosko as the keeper came out towards him.
Clearly Wimbledon manager Joe Kinnear will be bitterly disappointed with his team, who have yet to win this season and are now bottom of the table.
In contrast West Ham boss Harry Redknapp was delighted with his team's third victory of the campaign.
West Ham: Miklosko, Breacker, Unsworth, Rieper, Hartson, Lomas,
Dowie, Ferdinand, Moncur, Lazaridis, Berkovic.
Subs Not Used: Potts, Bishop, Lampard, Forrest, Hughes.
Goals: Berkovic 55, Hartson 48, Rieper 54.
Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Kimble, Blackwell, Earle,
Holdsworth (Ekoku 46), Perry, McAllister (Clarke 71), Ardley,
Jupp, Euell (Gayle 46).
Subs Not Used: Hughes, Heald.
Goals: Ekoku 81.
Ref: G Poll (Tring).