West Ham captain Kevin Nolan scored a hat-trick as relegated Reading bade farewell to the Premier League with a 22nd defeat of the 38-game campaign.
The Hammers took a 2-0 first-half lead with Nolan making the most of an error by keeper Alex McCarthy before Ricardo Vaz Te drilled in the second.
Reading drew level in three second-half minutes thanks to strikes from Garath McCleary and Adam Le Fondre.
But Nolan slotted home the hosts' third before nodding in a fourth late on.
West Ham dominated for large periods, although they could have been left with red faces on the final day of the season after their two-goal advantage evaporated inside the first 15 minutes of the second half following two quick-fire Royals strikes.
However, the Berkshire side showed their true colours with more erratic defending which allowed Nolan, who is not blessed with pace, to twice escape his markers and seal victory for the home side.
That win, their 12th in the league, helped Sam Allardyce's men finish 10th in the table. Reading, whose fate was sealed at the end of April, end the season in 19th, with manager Nigel Adkins likely to have already started planning for next season long before this final encounter.
His side were bullied in the first half by yet another impressive performance by Liverpool forward Andy Carroll, in the final game of his loan spell with the Hammers.
Allardyce has stated he would like to sign Carroll permanently but it has been reported that West Ham can only afford £10m - after this display his value is likely to be much higher.
He inadvertently set up the first for Nolan after McCarthy's clearance came off the back of the tall striker and landed in the path of his team-mate, who passed into the empty net.
Moments later, Carroll brilliantly plucked down Mohamed Diame's cross from the left and laid the ball off for team-mate Vaz Te to rifle in the second.
However, West Ham lost their composure after the interval. First, McCleary pulled one back for Reading with a 20-yard shot which took a heavy deflection off Mark Noble.
Less than two minutes later, Jobi McAnuff's cross from the left found substitute Le Fondre at the far post for an easy tap-in.
Reading were looking favourites to pick up only their seventh league win but with 11 minutes remaining they were undone by a slick Hammers move as Nolan tucked home after running on to a clipped ball from Noble.
And with Reading spirits dampened, Nolan completed his hat-trick in the 87th minute with a header from Modibo Maiga's right-wing cross.
Reading manager Nigel Adkins:
"Great credit to the players, they showed really good character and in the second half we came out and scored two good goals.
"We were in the ascendancy up until they scored the third.
"That was a shame but it's what you do in both penalty areas.
"There is a good feelgood factor going forward for next season, which is important."
West Ham United
- 22 Jaaskelainen
- 02 Reid
- 17 O'Brien (Taylor - 86' )
- 19 Collins
- 20 Demel
- 04 Nolan Booked
- 16 Noble
- 21 Diame
- 26 J Cole (Collison - 74' Booked )
- 08 Carroll
- 12 Vaz Te (Maiga - 81' )
- 13 Henderson
- 05 Tomkins
- 10 Collison
- 14 Taylor
- 32 O'Neil
- 11 Maiga
- 31 Wellington Paulista
- 21 McCarthy
- 02 Gunter
- 15 Morrison
- 17 Gorkss
- 27 Kelly
- 04 Karacan
- 11 McAnuff Booked
- 19 Robson-Kanu (Blackman - 46' )
- 20 Guthrie
- 07 Pogrebnyak (Le Fondre - 46' )
- 12 McCleary
- 41 Taylor
- 05 Pearce
- 06 Mariappa
- 28 Akpan
- 29 Daniel Carrico
- 09 Le Fondre
- 30 Blackman
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee ends the match.90:00 +2:00
Mohamed Diame takes a shot. Save made by Alex McCarthy.90:00 +0:08
Nick Blackman has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.88:45
Corner taken by Mark Noble from the left by-line.86:23
The ball is swung over by Modibo Maiga,86:16
Assist on the goal came from Modibo Maiga.86:16 Goal scored
Goal! - Kevin Nolan - West Ham 4 - 2 Reading Kevin Nolan grabs a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. West Ham 4-2 Reading.86:07
The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.86:00
Andy Carroll takes a shot. Save made by Alex McCarthy.85:42 Substitution
Substitution Matthew Taylor comes on in place of Joey O'Brien.85:21
Mark Noble has a drilled shot. Comfortable save by Alex McCarthy.84:15
Danny Guthrie restarts play with the free kick.84:15 Booking
Booking Jack Collison receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.84:09
Free kick awarded for a foul by Jack Collison on Jem Karacan.83:31
Chris Gunter takes the direct free kick.83:31 Booking
Booking Booking for Kevin Nolan for unsporting behaviour.83:26
Kevin Nolan challenges Jem Karacan unfairly and gives away a free kick.82:15
Modibo Maiga gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Le Fondre. A cross is delivered by Jobi McAnuff, Stephen Kelly takes a shot. Mohamed Diame gets a block in.81:50
Corner taken by Danny Guthrie played to the near post, Andy Carroll makes a clearance.80:22 Substitution
Substitution Modibo Maiga joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ricardo Vaz Te.
Mark Noble provided the assist for the goal.78:11 Goal scored
Goal! - Kevin Nolan - West Ham 3 - 2 Reading Kevin Nolan scores a goal from inside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. West Ham 3-2 Reading.75:30
Effort from the edge of the area by Garath McCleary goes wide of the right-hand upright.73:11 Substitution
Substitution Jack Collison comes on in place of Joe Cole.73:11
Effort on goal by Andy Carroll from just inside the area clears the crossbar.72:07
Joe Cole takes a shot. Blocked by Kaspars Gorkss. Inswinging corner taken by Mark Noble from the left by-line.70:33
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kevin Nolan by Kaspars Gorkss. The ball is crossed by Mark Noble, Close range headed effort by Andy Carroll goes wide of the left-hand upright.69:56
Andy Carroll produces a cross, Stephen Kelly makes a clearance. Corner from left by-line taken by Joe Cole.68:49
Ricardo Vaz Te produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.68:11
Jem Karacan delivers the ball, Stephen Kelly has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.64:52
Guy Demel gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jobi McAnuff. Danny Guthrie takes the free kick.63:01
Direct free kick taken by James Collins.63:01 Booking
Booking Jobi McAnuff receives a caution.62:54
Guy Demel fouled by Jobi McAnuff, the ref awards a free kick.62:05
Shot from long range by Jobi McAnuff misses to the right of the goal.61:09
Sean Morrison concedes a free kick for a foul on Andy Carroll. Free kick crossed right-footed by Mark Noble.59:21
The referee gives a free kick against Nick Blackman for handball. James Collins takes the direct free kick.58:02
Effort from 20 yards by Andy Carroll. Save made by Alex McCarthy.56:16
The assistant referee flags for offside against Joe Cole. Alex McCarthy takes the free kick.54:49
The assist for the goal came from Nick Blackman.54:49 Goal scored
Goal! - Adam Le Fondre - West Ham 2 - 2 Reading Adam Le Fondre grabs a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. West Ham 2-2 Reading.54:37
Effort from the edge of the area by Garath McCleary goes wide of the right-hand upright.54:20
Guy Demel gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jobi McAnuff. Jobi McAnuff takes the free kick.52:53
Assist by Jobi McAnuff.52:53 Goal scored
Goal! - Garath McCleary - West Ham 2 - 1 Reading Garath McCleary fires in a goal from the edge of the area high into the middle of the goal. West Ham 2-1 Reading.52:11
Nick Blackman takes a shot. James Collins gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Jobi McAnuff from the left by-line, clearance made by Kevin Nolan.51:13
Curled right-footed shot by Jobi McAnuff. Save by Jussi Jaaskelainen.48:25
Shot by Jem Karacan from outside the box goes over the target.47:26
Kevin Nolan is caught offside. Jem Karacan takes the free kick.46:10
Jobi McAnuff produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Hal Robson-Kanu goes off and Nick Blackman comes on.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Adam Le Fondre on for Pavel Pogrebnyak.45:00 +1:21 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.44:10
Mohamed Diame takes a shot. Alex McCarthy makes a save.42:35
Chris Gunter concedes a free kick for a foul on Ricardo Vaz Te. Jussi Jaaskelainen restarts play with the free kick.41:26
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Pavel Pogrebnyak by Winston Reid. Danny Guthrie takes the free kick.41:00
Shot on goal by Mohamed Diame from just inside the area goes over the target.40:27
Ricardo Vaz Te produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box and strikes the post.39:08
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kevin Nolan on Chris Gunter. Alex McCarthy takes the direct free kick.38:36
Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Guthrie on Mark Noble. Free kick taken by Jussi Jaaskelainen.38:08
Guy Demel is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Alex McCarthy takes the indirect free kick.36:52
Danny Guthrie gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andy Carroll. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.35:22
Ricardo Vaz Te gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chris Gunter. Free kick taken by Alex McCarthy.33:56
Assist by Andy Carroll.33:56 Goal scored
Goal! - Ricardo Vaz Te - West Ham 2 - 0 Reading Ricardo Vaz Te scores a goal from inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. West Ham 2-0 Reading.32:51
Joe Cole has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide right of the target.29:48
Unfair challenge on Jobi McAnuff by Winston Reid results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan manages to make a clearance.27:35
Mark Noble delivers the ball in from the corner, save by Alex McCarthy. Inswinging corner taken by Joe Cole, Header by Andy Carroll from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.27:14
Kevin Nolan takes a shot. Alex McCarthy makes a save.26:35
Free kick awarded for a foul by Chris Gunter on Andy Carroll. James Collins takes the free kick.22:14
Assist on the goal came from Andy Carroll.22:14 Goal scored
Goal! - Kevin Nolan - West Ham 1 - 0 Reading Kevin Nolan grabs a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. West Ham 1-0 Reading.22:01
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kevin Nolan on Kaspars Gorkss. Free kick taken by Sean Morrison.21:30
Chris Gunter has an effort at goal from close range which goes wide right of the goal.20:22
Andy Carroll challenges Chris Gunter unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Danny Guthrie.18:30
Joe Cole is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Sean Morrison.16:42
Andy Carroll takes a shot. Blocked by Chris Gunter. Corner taken right-footed by Joe Cole, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kaspars Gorkss by James Collins. Alex McCarthy takes the direct free kick.16:06
Shot from long range by Danny Guthrie goes wide of the left-hand post.14:58
Winston Reid challenges Jobi McAnuff unfairly and gives away a free kick. Danny Guthrie takes the direct free kick.12:44
Danny Guthrie takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Andy Carroll manages to make a clearance.12:16
Corner taken short by Danny Guthrie.10:47
Joe Cole has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.7:47
Jobi McAnuff delivers the ball, Pavel Pogrebnyak takes a shot. Save by Jussi Jaaskelainen.6:11
The ball is delivered by Chris Gunter, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Jobi McAnuff misses to the left of the goal.5:18
James Collins concedes a free kick for a foul on Pavel Pogrebnyak. Jem Karacan takes the free kick.4:11
Sean Morrison gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andy Carroll. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.2:39
The offside flag is raised against Ricardo Vaz Te. Sean Morrison takes the indirect free kick.1:02
Effort from close in by Andy Carroll goes wide left of the target.0:39
Garath McCleary takes a shot. Save made by Jussi Jaaskelainen.0:00
The match begins.
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