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West Ham 0 Man City 1
Manchester City eased their own relegation fears with a 1-0 win at West Ham which kept the home side firmly stuck in the Barclays Premiership's bottom three.
Substitute DaMarcus Beasley fired in the only goal of the game with seven minutes remaining with a run and finish far superior to anything which happened before or after.
The result allowed City to record back-to-back wins for the first time in more than 14 months while condemning Alan Curbishley's side to their second successive defeat at a ground where Manchester United and Arsenal had earlier been beaten.
Both sides began without key players, with suspended City midfielder Joey Barton replaced by Stephen Jordan and the side rejigged to include England defender Micah Richards in the middle.
Bans robbed West Ham of skipper Nigel Reo-Coker and Paul Konchesky, who were replaced by Lee Bowyer and Christian Dailly, and there was no place even on the bench for top scorer Bobby Zamora as he had failed to find the net since early September.
Barton and Zamora's absences meant there was no-one on the pitch with more than two goals to his name and it showed as the first half passed with barely a flicker of excitement.
Hayden Mullins and then Bowyer attempted to beat City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver with efforts from outside the box but both were comfortably saved and the game passed the half-hour mark with little more of note.
A moment of quality was desperately needed and Teddy Sheringham, the oldest man on the pitch and Zamora's replacement, looked the best bet to provide it.
City centre-back Richard Dunne had to be alert to stop the veteran setting up Marlon Harewood for a shot and then, in the 39th minute, Sheringham came close to getting on the scoresheet himself.
Sylvain Distin's carelessness had put City in danger as his attempted clearance was headed to Harewood by Sheringham, who quickly collected a pass from his colleague before seeing his drive deflected inches wide for a corner.
Sheringham had another go before the break, firing wide of Weaver's near post after Yossi Benayoun had played a corner into his path.
The half ended with Darius Vassell being booked for a foul on Mullins to join Jonathan Spector in the book after the American had complained too much about a 25th-minute free-kick award.
The second began with Sheringham firing a free-kick well over but when he was granted a second attempt a few minutes later he was only just off-target.
Carlos Tevez's name had been chanted by the West Ham faithful as he warmed up on the touchline and there was a huge cheer when he replaced Matthew Etherington in the 56th minute.
Tevez immediately went on a run that was checked on the edge of the City box before embarking on another from his own half.
City were able to break out of their own half only occasionally but one foray forward saw Richards fire wide after Vassell had set him up.
Stuart Pearce sent on Beasley for Stephen Ireland in the 65th minute before Dailly fired across goal and wide from 25 yards.
Sheringham was replaced in the 68th minute by Carlton Cole and two minutes later City swapped Bernardo Corradi for Giorgios Samaras.
The Greek saw a shot blocked but Vassell was quick to seize on the rebound and forced Robert Green into a rare save with an effort from the edge of the box.
Tevez almost broke the deadlock as the minutes ticked away with a burst of speed that opened up a full sight of goal, but although his 20-yard shot had the beating of Weaver it also cleared the crossbar.
Then, with just seven minutes remaining, Beasley scored a goal that was much better than the game itself. First he pushed the ball between two defenders and outpaced them both to reach the box and blast past Green into the net.
Harewood fired a late chance wide and four minutes of added time saw the Hammers pile men forward, including goalkeeper Green.
But City held on to condemn the Hammers to the prospect of a very unhappy new year.
West Ham Green, Dailly, Ferdinand, Gabbidon (Mears 86),Spector, Benayoun, Bowyer, Mullins, Etherington (Tevez 56),Sheringham (Cole 68), Harewood.
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Noble.
Man City Weaver, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Trabelsi,Ireland (Beasley 65), Dabo, Richards, Vassell (Miller 88),Corradi (Samaras 70).
Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Thatcher.
Booked: Vassell, Jordan.
Goals: Beasley 83.
Ref: S Bennett (Kent).