Carroll impressive but injured in winning debut

Andy Carroll enjoyed an impressive debut for West Ham as they beat Fulham 3-0 at Upton Park before being forced off injured in the second half.

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Andy Carroll West Ham

The on-loan Liverpool striker did not score but caused Fulham huge problems and helped Kevin Nolan fire West Ham in front after just 53 seconds.

Goals from Winston Reid and Matty Taylor before half-time had West Ham well in control against a poor Fulham side, and the introduction of the Cottagers' big transfer window signing, Dimitar Berbatov, could not change the pattern of the match.

However, the victory for West Ham was somewhat soured when Carroll had to go off injured, holding his hamstring, midway through the second half after falling awkwardly.

James Collins and Guy Demel were also forced off after the break making it a potentially costly afternoon for Sam Allardyce's men despite the impressive performance and result.

West Ham said Carroll was taken off as a precaution and will welcome the international break to give their players time to recover but his presence in the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine has to be in doubt now.

Nevertheless, the 67 minutes of action West Ham fans saw with Carroll on the pitch will leave them optimistic about just how much damage he can do in Allardyce's system.

Carroll's impact in the claret and blue was almost instantaneous as he was involved in the opener which came inside a minute.

The big striker was targeted with a long ball and he headed it on to Ricardo Vaz Te who was rushing in from the right – Vaz Te then cleverly fed Nolan and the Hammers captain buried his half-volley expertly across the goal and into the corner of the net.

Fulham were trying to play intricate passes in midfield but West Ham were buzzing around them and making life difficult.

However, it was at set-plays that Fulham were really struggling and the second goal came directly from a corner with Reid heading home a bullet after a beautiful, whipped ball from Taylor on the half hour.

Taylor would then get on the scoresheet himself four minutes before the end of the half as he fired home another half-volley from the edge of the area. Again though, the genesis of the goal was a set piece. Collins chipped a long free-kick from just inside the Fulham half into the box looking for Carroll. Brede Hangeland managed to win this battle in the air but his defensive header was poor and fell directly to Taylor who made no mistake.

At the other end Fulham's chances were limited despite decent spells of possession. Long range low drives from new-boy Kieron Richardson and Steve Sidwell was the best they could manage in the opening 45 as they missed the guile of Moussa Dembele in midfield after the Belgian was sold to Tottenham earlier in the week.

Berbatov came on for the anonymous Mladen Petric at half-time and although the mercurial Bulgarian showed flashes of quality, the match degenerated into a procession for West Ham after the break.

Fulham lacked the required urgency to get back into the game and indeed did not creat their two best chances until right at the death when both Damien Duff and Hugo Rodallega forced Jussi Jaaskelainen into a couple of smart saves.

West Ham did not create much in the second either but they didn't need to; they did their damage in the first half and will be an awkward team for anybody in the league to face if Carroll and Co. can replicate this performance.

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