Bad Day At The Office
February 22 2010
West Ham secured a much-needed three points with goals from Valon Behrami, Carlton Cole and Julien Faubert to defeat 10-man Hull City. In a tense game which saw both sides needing a win prior to kick-off, it was the Hammers who struck the first blow when Behrami rode his luck
The Swiss midfielder attempted a one-two in the box which cannoned off a Hull City leg which Behrami latched on to and slid the ball past Boaz Myhill for his first Premier League goal of the season.
The game became heated in the second half when Craig Fagan was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
West Ham pounced on the extra man advantage through Cole's perfectly-weighted strike and Faubert made sure of the win in stoppage-time with a powerful effort into the top corner.
Gianfranco Zola's side climbed to 13th place in the table after being gifted a dream start by a nervous-looking Hull side which struggled to cope with the pace of the home team's attacks in the early stages.
The Hammers could have had a dramatic opener in the first minute when Alessandro Diamanti tested Myhill at his near post, but the Welsh shot-stopper managed to push the Italian's effort out for a corner.
The home side did make their pressure count just two minutes later when Behrami combined with Guillermo Franco and his lay-off was deflected into the Swiss' path who fired past Myhill.
The visitors were slightly shell-shocked following the early opener and took some time to get back into the game as Scott Parker began to dictate possession in the middle of West Ham's midfield.
West Ham were in complete control and Cole should have done better with a 20-yard volley but he failed to trouble Myhill's goal and sent his effort well wide.
Referee Martin Atkinson had a long chat with both Paul McShane and Franco after the Hull defender complained he was the victim of an elbow from the West Ham striker during a feisty collision which the pair had on several occasions throughout the game.
Diamanti fired wide of the target with a close-range volley in the 21st minute and seconds later he watched his 25-yard shot fly high over the crossbar.
Hull had Myhill to thank in the 23rd minute when Andy Dawson lost possession to Behrami but the Tigers goalkeeper punched his fierce volley to safety.
It was the home side's best moment since opening the scoring as Hull were becoming more frustrated by the minute.
In the 24th minute, Fagan saw his first booking of the afternoon for a clumsy foul on Parker.
Myhill pulled off another sensational save in the 27th minute when Diamanti's cross was met by a Behrami goalbound header at the far post. However the City keeper somehow steered the effort away from his line.
Hull's only response was a poor effort from youngster Tom Cairney who sent a shot well wide of the target from eight yards after McShane found the 19-year-old unmarked with a curling cross.
A poor challenge by Faubert on a below-par Stephen Hunt down the left allowed Hull a chance to put some pressure on the home goal but they had to settle for a corner when Parker headed the ball to safety.
Robert Green punched away Hunt's corner and seconds later the England goalkeeper ensured West Ham preserved their lead when he tipped away a rising drive from George Boateng.
Hull's plight got worse in the 52nd minute when Fagan collected a second yellow card for a careless foul on Diamanti as the frustrated forward tugged the Italian's shirt and was sent-off.
Parker was then booked for a foul on Amr Zaki as the tempo of the game increased.
West Ham soon went 2-0 up a minute before the hour mark when Faubert's inch-perfect through ball put Cole in the clear and the England international ran on to the ball to slot an angled shot under Myhill.
The home side continued to dominate with Behrami proving a continued threat to Phil Brown's men. He switched to the left flank in place of Franco who was replaced by Ilan.
Diamanti almost made it three for West Ham with an audacious shot from the halfway line as he spotted Myhill off his line. The goalkeeper scrambled back to palm away the effort out for a corner.
Hull then went down to nine men with 10 minutes remaining when Anthony Gardner was stretchered off with an ankle injury after an innocent challenge with Mido, however the centre-back fell awkwardly and failed to get back to his feet.
City had already used their substitutes after replacing Hunt, Cairney and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink with Nick Barmby, Jozy Altidore and Seyi Olofinjana.
It made their task impossible and West Ham made it three in the final minute when Faubert fired beyond Myhill in stoppage-time to open his Premier League account.
The final goal compounded Brown's misery as the Tigers failed again to win on their travels and stay firmly rooted to the bottom of the table as the Hammers climbed to 13th.pqs: qs: