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On this day: Sears's debut goal for Hammers

15 Mar 2018
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We remember 12 years ago when a teenage striker scored in his first match for West Ham

Twelve years ago today an unknown 18-year-old burst on to the Premier League scene with a memorable debut goal for West Ham United.

Freddie Sears had been making waves for Tony Carr's youth academy, scoring 19 goals in 22 matches at Under-18 and Under-21 level by mid-March, to earn a place on the bench for Alan Curbishley's side for the very first time.

Having lost three consecutive matches, all by a 4-0 scoreline, the Hammers were under pressure for a much-needed win against Blackburn Rovers on 15 March 2008. However, they fell behind. 

Dean Ashton cancelled out Roque Santa Cruz's opener, but the match was in the balance until Sears intervened.

With 15 minutes remaining Curbishley turned to the young substitute, and it took Sears just six minutes to win the match for his boyhood club.

Wild celebrations

Sears latched on to a clever back-heel from Ashton and scored the winner with a diving header after his first attempt was saved by Brad Friedel, sparking wild celebrations as he made the crossed hammers sign before the Boleyn Ground faithful.

"It was the best thing that could have happened," he told West Ham's official website. "It was a great feeling. It was unbelievable... especially at home as well at Upton Park as a West Ham fan."

His strike in the 2-1 win was one of two Premier League goals Sears would score in 36 appearances for West Ham.

And he still goes to watch his beloved Hammers when he isn't turning out for Ipswich Town.

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