West Ham recorded their first home win in the Premier League for over two months with a comfortable 3-0 victory over struggling Fulham.
Second-half goals from Mohamed Diame, Carlton Cole and Joe Cole put an end to five league games without a win and piled more pressure on Fulham boss Martin Jol, who has now seen his side lose five Premier League games on the bounce.
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce opted to start with a recognised striker for the first time since winning away at Tottenham Hotspur in October, giving Modibo Maiga the nod over Carlton Cole. And it paid off magnificently with a dominant display that arguably deserved more than three goals.
Maiga hit the post with a bullet header in the opening stages, while Collins also headed wide of Maarten Stekelenburg’s right hand post.
Kevin Nolan almost recorded his first Hammers goal since the opening day of the season at the end of the first-half but hit his acrobatic scissor kick straight at Stekelenburg.
The Hammers were unlucky to go in the break on level terms but were in front within two minutes of the restart thanks to a deflected 25-yard effort from Diame after Steven Sidwell and Scott Parker combined to lose possession on the half-way line.
The manner of which the goal went in appeared to deflate Fulham who were clearly showing signs of a side lacking on confidence at the bottom of the table and, as the second goal looked more and more likely, Allardyce threw on Ravel Morrison, Carlton Cole and Joe Cole to help add some bite in the attack.
And all three subs made an instant impact with Carlton Cole sliding home a Stewart Downing cross with just his second touch and Ravel Morrison beating four visiting players before laying off to Joe Cole for the third goal with two minutes of normal time remaining.
It was an important and well deserved victory for West Ham and they can take a lot of confidence from a performance as they prepare for their trip to Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.
For the first time in ages there wasn’t a single West Ham player that didn’t pull his weight for the 90 minutes. James Collins and James Tomkins were solid at the back, while Modibo Maiga kept his critics quiet with a display worthy of the standing ovation he received when he subbed off in the 80th minute.
The Malian won several flick-ons, held the ball up well and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet after hitting the post and seeing Stekelenburg palming away a curling effort in the second half.
Ravel Morrison came on late on and continued to show how good he is with a serious of dribbles, as well as beating several Fulham players before setting up Joe Cole for the third. At one point he was doing kick-ups in the Fulham area, which shows just how confident the youngster is at this level.
All-in-all it was an overdue but brilliant performance and definitely one to take in to the Palace game on Tuesday night.
Milestones and key facts…
- Mohamed Diame made his 50th first-team appearance for the Hammers.
- George McCartney made his 100th league start in claret and blue.
- It was Kevin Nolan’s 350th Premier League career appearance.
- Carlton Cole netted his 60th West Ham goal and his seventh in his last six games against Fulham.
Here’s what the fans were saying on social media before, during and after the 3-0 victory over Fulham…