West Ham United ended their three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win at home to Hull City on Wednesday, as they extended their relegation zone buffer to nine points. It certainly wasn't a sparkling display from the Hammers -- who relied on a comedic own goal to beat the 10-man Tigers -- but winning ugly has never been an issue for Sam Allardyce.
Despite West Ham seeing more possession, the game was a fairly even midfield battle until the game-changing red card 20 minutes in. Mohamed Diamé broke into the Hull penalty area before being brought down by goalkeeper Allan McGregor, who had insult added to injury by being handed a red card after taking five minutes to recover from the heavy hit. Mark Noble stepped up to convert the spot-kick, and the Hammers led.
From then on West Ham looked comfortable controlling the game through to halftime, without ever carving out any real opportunities to double their lead. Save for Andy Carroll heading over the bar, they created little. The same was true of 10-man Hull, who only forced goalkeeper Adrián into action through an excellent long-range Maynor Figueroa strike right on the stroke of halftime. Otherwise, they were barely in the game at all.
It took just three minutes of the second half for that to change, with the Tigers finding an equalizer in fortuitous circumstances. Tom Huddlestone's free-kick took a heavy deflection off the back of his teammate Nikica Jelavić and into a helpless Adrián's goal for 1-1. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that was about as much luck as the were getting all evening.
Within 10 minutes they found themselves 2-1 down, with West Ham's second even more calamitous than Hull's first. A low cross from the right bamboozled centre-back James Chester, whose wild swipe looped the ball up over his own goalkeeper and into the back of the net. Despite seeing easily as much of the ball as their hosts in an energetic finish, Hull had no reply, eventually succumbing to a 2-1 defeat.
West Ham United: Adrián; McCartney, Tomkins, Collins (Johnson 9'), Demel; Noble, Taylor; Diamé (Cole 69'), Nolan, Downing; Carroll.
Goals: Noble (pen. 26'), Chester o.g. (54').
Hull City: McGregor; Davies, Bruce (Harper 25'), Chester; Figueroa (Rosenior 59'), Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, Elmohamady; Jelavić (Sagbo 82'), Long.
Goals: Jelavić (48').
Red cards: McGregor (23').