Keane the spark for Irons


On-loan striker scores on his Hammers debut as Grant insists January signings can fire his side to Premier League safety

WEST HAM’S headline January signing Robbie Keane marked his debut with a goal in a victory which his new manager Avram Grant believes signifies the turning point in the Hammers’ season.

An error from Richard Kingson allowed Victor Obinna to open the scoring and a typical poachers’ effort from Keane, his first in the Premier League since November 2009, after some more unorthodox goalkeeping doubled the visitors’ lead.

Not to be outdone by his opposite number, Robert Green then allowed Charlie Adam’s corner to drift into his net, but Obinna instantly doused Blackpool’s hopes of a comeback with a thumping strike, his fifth in two games, which confirmed the points and lifted his side off the bottom of the table.

With Birmingham dropping points and Wolves losing to a 90th minute Daniel Sturridge strike at Bolton, the significance of victory was not lost on Grant.

“It was a very important win. Every game now is very important for us. We wanted to make one step today, we have finished the second third of the league and are starting the last third,” he said.

“We wanted to continue to play our football and pick results up. I am very pleased with how we attacked in the first half. In the second half we defended very well, which we didn’t do in the most recent games.”

Keane was lively throughout, while fellow transfer window signings Gary O’Neil and Wayne Bridge also impressed. And Grant believes the new additions will play a key role in determining West Ham’s fate.

He said: “Robbie is very good, a very intelligent player. We are playing football so it is good for him and good for us. Gary O’Neil was good, Wayne Bridge – all our signings were good and the other players continue to play well.”