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Curbishley thrilled with West Ham victory

West Ham United shook off their poor home form with a 3-0 thumping of Middlesbrough.

Hammers boss Alan Curbishley is licking his lips at the prospect of a fully-fit Dean Ashton after the striker put his year-long injury nightmare behind him with his first goal in 16 months.

The 23-year-old last found the net in the 2006 FA Cup final, having been sidelined for the whole of last season after breaking his ankle while training with England.

But he was on hand to finish a flowing 62nd-minute move to cap a superb 3-0 win for the Hammers, their first home victory of the season.

"I'm pleased for Deano, he looked strong today," said Curbishley.

"Two weeks ago against Reading he looked a bit leggy but he's played for the reserves since and it's done him the world of good. He can only get stronger now.

"He had one major operation before I came here, and then a clean-up operation because some scar tissue hadn't cleared up.

"When I came here I was told he was a month away, but it soon became clear that wasn't going to happen.

"So we sat him down and told him it would take as long as it takes, it didn't matter how long.

"I think we handled it well. And he looked like he lasted today. He looked stronger, and he's well pleased with himself."

Lee Bowyer and an own goal from Middlesbrough's Luke Young setup the win before Ashton's strike.

"We looked leggy in the first half and at half-time we said we needed to start well and we got the perfect start, and it was a great goal," added Curbishley.

"At 2-0 we committed suicide a couple of times. But it was all about chances, and we took our chances today.

"We won't get carried away. We're a bit like England at the moment in that people are injured and other people have come in and done a job for us.

"We got lucky a couple of times, although Robert Green's saves weren't luck, but we worked hard."

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Tribal Football Staff

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