Despite a spirited second-half comeback from Reading, a Kevin Nolan hat trick and a Ricardo Vaz Te goal was enough to clinch all three points for Sam Allardyce's men.West Ham managed to tame a inspired second-half comeback from already relegated Reading in the final fixture of the season, getting a hat trick from Kevin Nolan to emerge victorious 4-2 in an enthralling game at Upton Park.
It took until the 20th minute for the first real goal-scoring opportunity when Jobi McAnuff’s shot was well saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen, who parried the ball into the path of Reading's Chris Gunter who could only direct his shot wide of the post.
Almost immediately from the resulting goal kick, the Hammers opened the scoring following an error from Royals ‘keeper Alex McCarthy.
McCarthy, who was this week called up to the England national team for the first time, attempted to send a long ball in West Ham’s half from his own box; however, the ball ricocheted off of Andy Carroll’s back into the path of Nolan, who rounded the McCarthy and easily finished into an open goal.
Ten minutes later Ricardo Vaz Te doubled the home side’s lead when a long ball was pumped into the Reading box to Carroll. He controlled well and laid the ball off for Vaz Te, who drove the ball low into the corner past McCarthy.
As the half drew to a close, the Hammers continued to cause the Reading defense all sorts of problems and could've been three or four up at the break but for poor finishes from Vaz Te and Mohamed Diame.
After a bright opening five minutes from Reading to the second half, Gareth 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 McCleary on the edge of the box following some fantastic wing play, and McCleary 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 halftime substitute Adam Le Fondre equalized to complete a fine Reading move. Royals striker Nick Blackman crossed a beautiful ball into the box to which top goal scorer Le Fondre got on the end of to neatly finish, giving Jaaskelainen no chance in the Hammers' goal.
Reading continued to pile the pressure onto West Ham's back four as the half went on and was unlucky not to take the lead following chances from Blackman and again McCleary.
Despite all the Royals' pressure, it was the home side that went ahead with just about 10 minutes remaining when Nolan grabbed his second of the match. Again, Carroll was the provider when he laid the ball off to Mark Noble, who neatly slid the ball into Nolan to slot the ball past McCarthy to go ahead.
Nolan completed his hat trick five minutes from time when substitute Modibo Maiga was allowed too much space on the right flank and sent an inviting cross towards Nolan, who guided the ball past McCarthy.