Despite a spirited second half comeback from Nigel Adkins' team, the midfielder's treble and a Ricardo Vaz Te goal proved enough to clinch all three points for Sam Allardyce's menWest Ham managed to tame a inspired second-half fightback from already relegated Reading in their final fixture of the season to emerge victorious in an enthralling game at Upton Park.
After giving his side the lead in the first half, Kevin Nolan added two more goals after the break to seal his hat-trick and the three points.
Ricardo Vaz Te had put the Hammers two goals to the good but a quickfire double courtesy of Garath McCleary and Adam Le Fondre drew Reading level before Nolan took control.
It took until the 20th minute for the first real goalscoring opportunity to emerge, as Jobi McAnuff’s shot was well saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen. Chris Gunter could only direct the rebound wide of the post.
Almost immediately from the resulting goal-kick, the Hammers opened the scoring following an error from Royals goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
McCarthy, who was this week called up to the England national team for the first time, attempted to send a long ball into West Ham’s half from his own box. However, the ball ricocheted off of Carroll’s back into the path of Nolan, who rounded McCarthy and easily finished into an open goal.
Ten minutes later Vaz Te doubled the home side’s lead when a long ball was pumped into the Reading box to Andy Carroll. The striker controlled well and laid the ball off for the Portuguese winger, who drove a shot low into the corner past McCarthy.
As the half drew to a close, the Hammers continued to cause the Reading defence all sorts of problems and Vaz Te and Mohamed Diame both failed to take chances to extend their advantage.
After a bright opening five minutes from Reading to the second half, McCleary pulled a goal back with a powerful finish from the edge of the West Ham area.
Reading's Jem Karacan squared the ball to the winger on the edge of the box following some fantastic wing play and he rifled the ball into the back of the West Ham net.
Just two minutes later Upton Park was stunned as the two Reading strikers combined and half-time substitute Le Fondre equalised to complete a fine Reading move.
Royals striker Nick Blackman crossed a superb ball into the box which the Royals player of the season got on the end of to neatly finish past Jaaskelainen.
Reading continued to pile the pressure onto West Ham's back four as the half went on and were unlucky not to take the lead following chances for Blackman and McCleary.
Despite all the Royals' pressure, it was the home side that went ahead with just over 10 minutes remaining when Nolan grabbed his second of the match.
Again Carroll was the provider, as he laid the ball off to Mark Noble after some brilliant midfield work. Noble neatly slid the ball into Nolan who slotted past McCarthy to restore the hosts' lead.
Nolan completed his hat-trick five minutes from time when substitute Modibo Maiga was allowed too much space on the right flank and the forward sent an inviting cross towards the former Bolton man, who made no mistake from trademark range to ensure Allardyce's team ended the season unbeaten in five.