Big Sam happy to set the pace

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WEST Ham manager Sam Allardyce was happy to be on the right end of two debatable decisions as his side moved three points clear at the top of the npower Championship with a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest.

Referee Tony Bates harshly adjudged Guy Moussi to have handled a Jack Collison cross from point-blank range in first-half stoppage time, and then penalised Chris Gunter for handball after an hour.

Mark Noble scored from the spot both times and Lewis McGugan’s injury-time strike was too little, too late for Forest, who remain in the bottom three.

Upton Park boss Allardyce, nicknamed ‘Big Sam’, said: “We went ahead through probably quite a fortunate penalty, but you have to be professional and dispose of it when you get the opportunity.

“It was not the best of days but when you can dig a win out it shows the resilience of the players.”

Cardiff are four points behind the Hammers in third following a thrilling 3-2 win at home to Portsmouth.

Kenny Miller put the Bluebirds in front, but they fell behind to goals from Marko Futacs (39) and Greg Halford (49). Mark Hudson levelled after 69 minutes and Craig Conway netted the winner in injury time.

Hull are up to fifth, behind Middlesbrough on goals scored, after beating Reading 1-0 at the Madejski Stadium as Robbie Brady netted the only goal in the 66th minute.

Boro have now gone four league games without a win after they slumped to a 3-1 defeat at bottom club Coventry.

Kevin Thomson and Julio Arca saw red for the visitors, while Coventry boss Andy Thorn praised the goalscoring debut of Manchester City loanee Alex Nimely.

Thorn said: “People hadn’t heard of him before today. Well they have heard of him now! He’s a real talent this boy and I am so pleased that we could get him under the radar.”

Birmingham moved above Reading into the play-off zone with a 3-0 home win over Watford. Curtis Davies (35 and 60) scored a headed double and Chris Burke made sure of the win with nine minutes to go.

Blackpool moved up to seventh as they scored twice in the last five minutes to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Bloomfield Road. Owen Garvan’s 27th-minute penalty put the Eagles ahead, but Elliot Grandin (85) levelled and Chris Basham scored in the last minute.

Leeds climbed two places to ninth with a 3-1 win at home to Ipswich. Adam Drury put the visitors in front (34), but after Alex McCarthy’s dismissal for handball the Whites stormed back through Robert Snodgrass, Ross McCormack Luciano Becchio in injury time.