Hammers' new signings bear fruit

West Ham's Mauro Zarate, second left, celebrates with scoring West Ham's opener

West Ham's Mauro Zarate, second left, celebrates with scoring West Ham's opener

First published in National Sport News © by

Summer signing Mauro Zarate volleyed a debut goal in West Ham's 3-1 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace to ease the pressure on manager Sam Allardyce.

Stewart Downing and Carlton Cole also fired home as the Hammers eased past the managerless Eagles, who were unable to add to Marouane Chamakh's smart finish.

Palace's second straight defeat plunged the south London club into further distress, with the board still hunting a replacement for Tony Pulis.

Hammers boss Allardyce only clung onto his job in the summer after promising the West Ham board more expansive, attacking football.

Former Tottenham and England striker Teddy Sheringham joined the back-room staff, while Allardyce recruited Argentinian forward Zarate from Velez Sarsfield.

Allardyce's attacking revolution failed to bear fruit on the season's opening day in a frustrating 1-0 Upton Park defeat to Tottenham, the Hammers spurning a host of half-chances.

Former Lazio poacher Zarate was able to cut West Ham's toothless finishing short at Selhurst Park however, capping a lively full debut with a smart first-half finish after 34 minutes.

Former Middlesbrough wing Downing claimed just his second West Ham goal moments later, as Palace paid the price for backing off in midfield.

Downing raced down the right, cut off his flank and nudged a side-footed effort past the blameless Speroni.

James Tomkins headed against the crossbar to open the second half as West Ham sought to kill off the contest.

Palace immediately seized on the reprieve, former Arsenal forward Chamakh firing in a low shot from 20 yards to half the deficit three minutes after the restart.

Bannan blasted straight at Adrian from the edge of the area, but just when the hosts scented level terms West Ham struck again.

Striker Cole, so profligate against Spurs, pounced on a loose ball in the Palace box to lash past Speroni and kill the contest after 62 minutes.

Highly-respected commentator Barry Davies was back on BBC duty 10 years after his retirement to call this clash for Match of the Day's 50th anniversary.

The 76-year-old was on hand to witness Palace hit new lows after a testing week, with caretaker manager Keith Millen hardly furthering his claims to the permanent job.

Co-chairman Steve Parish was joined by former Palace striker Mark Bright in the directors' box, and no doubt the pair had plenty to discuss.

Parish was all set to hand Malky Mackay the reins to replace Pulis, who walked out on the eve of the season after rows over transfer policy.

Mackay fell out of the running after the FA launched an investigation into racist, sexist and homophobic text messages sent during his time as Cardiff manager.

Revelations from Cardiff's extensive dossier also led to their former head of recruitment Iain Moody resigning his post as sporting director at Palace.

Tim Sherwood pulled out of the running for the Palace job after initially being deemed second choice to Mackay, leaving Millen to take charge for the second week running.

While West Ham can look towards Cole and Zarate forging a dangerous strike partnership, Palace know time is running out for transfer recruits with the window closing on September 1.

Millen has admitted he will spearhead Palace's recruitment drive in the absence of both Pulis and now Moody.

Co-chairman Parish must now act swiftly to secure a new managerial appointment however, with Palace already battling to set their season on track.

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