Then much against the run of play West Ham took the lead in the 23rd minute, Nolan making the most of a mistake from Alex McCarthy to collect a loose ball and slot home.
© Clive Gee / PA Photos
Nolan came close to doubling his side's advantage minutes later, but this time McCarthy made a good save in tipping his header over the crossbar.
© PA Photos
Reading came out of the blocks quickly in the second half and scored twice in two minutes to pull level.
First Garath McCleary drilled his shot home from the edge of the West Ham area with the aid of a deflection off of Mark Noble in the 53rd minute, and then Adam Le Fondre slid home Nick Blackman's cross.
However, the Hammers had the final laugh at Upton Park as Nolan scored his second goal of the afternoon in the 78th minute, latching on to Noble's through-ball before shooting home from close range, and then completed his hat-trick with four minutes left on the clock.