West Ham 1
Bolton Wanderers 3

Premier League

WEST HAM were guilty of spurning a glut of chances while Bolton snaffled theirs to run out comfortable winners at Upton Park.

Johan Elmander struck twice in the second half either side of a Mark Noble penalty, while Matthew Upson was unfortunate to have found his own net with an attempted clearing header, also receiving a painful blow to the nose that curtailed his afternoon's work. Carlton Cole will also be having nightmares after missing a first-half penalty when the Hammers were well on top.

West Ham were desperate to put last week's 3-0 opening day defeat to Aston Villa behind them, but in the end they were the architects of their own downfall at the Boleyn Ground.

A good manager often reacts to a mistake by holding his hands up and making the necessary adjustments, putting aside pride and ensuring the team's interests are placed at the forefront of his mind. That is the exact dilemma that faced Hammers boss Avram Grant after a woeful first performance of the season against Aston Villa last week.

And he responded in the best way possible. The 4-5-1 formation everyone seems to be salivating over nowadays was quickly ditched and Freddie Piquionne was sent to partner Cole up front in a 4-4-2, while the disastrous experiment that saw Julien Faubert stationed on the right wing, supporting the front men, at Villa Park was also brushed aside and the Frenchman was pushed back into defence.

James Tomkins, after a dismal display at the back last week, was rightly relegated to the bench, with the experienced Danny Gabbidon coming in to partner Matthew Upson. The exciting Pablo Barrera and Kieron Dyer were deployed on the flanks, and the inept Radoslav Kovac was hauled out so that Noble could be paired with Scott Parker in the middle of the park.

Sure enough, West Ham produced one of the best 45 minutes of football that supporters have seen in a long time. Unfortunately, a lack of killer instinct in front of goal cost them dearly.

Elmander could have put Bolton ahead with just two minutes on the clock, Noble spraying his first and last loose pass of the afternoon into the path of Martin Petrov, who broke away and released the Sweden international on goal, but he could only drag his shot harmlessly wide.

From that moment onwards West Ham were dominant, and Barrera was at the heart of most of the moves.

He let fly several times from the edge of the box but Jussi Jaaskelainen was up to the challenge.

Piquionne was linking up well with Cole, but on 20 minutes he managed to find Dyer with a beautifully executed reverse ball to the byline. However, the winger's cut-back was well cut out by the Wanderers' backline.

Dyer went close himself soon afterwards, curling a low effort just wide after being teed up by Cole.

The pressure was building as wave after wave of attack rained down on the visitors' box. And the hosts were given the chance to break the deadlock just after the half hour mark, Cole going down under a clumsy challenge from Gretar Steinsson. Noble wanted the kick, as the team's designated taker, but Cole picked up the ball and placed it on the spot.

It was to prove a bad decision, as the striker then tamely stroked his kick to the left, and Jaaskelainen made a comfortable save.

The Hammers finished the half on the offensive with Parker embarking on a trademark lung-bursting run before threading a perfectly-weighted ball through the Bolton defence and into the path of Dyer, who clipped the ball towards goal, only for the keeper to palm it on to the post.

All those near misses and spurned chances were to come back to haunt West Ham almost immediately after the interval, as Bolton took an unexpected lead.

In a move that is more reminiscent of Wanderers sides of old, Jaaskelainen thumped a long ball onto the head of Elmander, who nodded the ball towards goal, where Kevin Davies and Upson were challenging for it. The defender got there with his head, but could only direct his attempted clearance past Robert Green and into the net.

To make matters worse, Upson received a boot in the face from Davies and was forced off, to be replaced by Winston Reid.

The goal had come against the run of play,.but West Ham had been their own enemies in front of goal.

Bolton should have been awarded a penalty on 65 minutes when the lively Chung-Yong Lee seemed to be brought down by Herita Ilunga, but referee Andre Marriner waved away the appeals.

It was not to matter as just three minutes later the Chinese winger found himself at the heart of his team's second goal.

Davies lofted a ball into open space on the right for Lee to scamper on to. He then bided his time before lifting a pinpoint ball on to the head of Elmander, who was affored time and space to plant his header past Green.

Hopes were briefly raised 12 minutes from time when Noble this time demanded he take over spot-kick duties after Parker was adjudged to have been pushed by Gary Cahill, the midfielder sending Jaaskelainen the wrong way.

However, despite the crowd's attempts to lift their players, Bolton managed to put the game to bed when another long ball found the head of Davies. The striker's nodded pass was deflected into the path of Elmander by a sliding Hammers defender and the Swede slammed the ball into the far corner with a powerful left-footed drive.

The signs were there for a first win of the season for West Ham, but a profligacy in front of goal cost them dear, leaving the players to trudge off to a resounding chorus off boos from the stands.

West Ham: Green, Gabbidon, Dyer (McCarthy 77), Parker, Cole (Sears 86), Barrera, Upson (Reid 54), Noble, Faubert, Ilunga, Piquionne. Unused subs: Stech, Tomkins, Boa Morte, Kovac

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Robinson, Cahill, Muamba, Holden, Elmander (Davies 86), Petrov (Blake 88), Knight, Davies, Chung-Yong (Taylor 81)Unused subs: Bogdan, Taylor, Davies, Klasnic, Ricketts, O'Brien