West Ham United 3 West Bromwich Albion 1 match report: West Ham feel safe as Andy Carroll comes good

 

upton park

All of a sudden, things are looking a lot more comfortable for West Ham. To go with their stadium move and new home, they now have a much more secure standing in the table. This fine win over West Bromwich moves them up to 11th. And, six points clear of the relegation zone, Sam Allardyce's side have surely made certain of safety.

Even more importantly and impressively, this did not look like a team at all nervous about the problems and dropped points of the last few weeks. Nor did Andy Carroll look like a striker struggling for goals. Quite the opposite. Both the forward and his team provided such an assured – and, given the quality of the goals, occasionally exquisite – display that a frustrated Youssuf Mulumbu was agitated into what must be one of the stupidest red cards of the season.

Under pressure from Gary O'Neil in injury time, the West Bromwich midfielder stopped, turned, picked up the ball and drop-kicked it at the West Ham player's backside. The laughs from the home fans summed up the silliness of the act.

So, other than an unfortunate recurrence of substitute George McCartney's medial-ligament injury, which will likely keep him out for the season, Allardyce was left to reflect on a "great day" and "thoroughly deserved win" – which the West Bromwich manager Steve Clarke agreed with.

West Ham played with an ease and confidence that we haven't really seen since the opening few months of the season. In goal, Jussi Jaaskelainen pulled off a fine early save from a deflected Romelu Lukaku free-kick to set the tone. In front of him, James Collins was dominant. In midfield, the immense Mohamed Diamé demonstrated the kind of touches and dynamism that initially brought such interest from the Champions' League clubs. He was crucial to West Ham as his clever touches eased pressure on the defence and began attacks in the same movement.

Then there was the link-up between the resurgent Ricardo Vaz Te and O'Neil for West Ham's gorgeous second goal. After a jinking run, the winger fed an expectant O'Neil, who swept the ball into the corner of the net with a curled chip to make the score 2-0.

And then there was Carroll who, in stark contrast to those opening months, finally added goals to all his effort in a West Ham shirt – his fourth and fifth in the League this season.

They were also strikes of the highest quality. For the first, after just 16 minutes, Carroll rendered Jonas Olsson's marking an insignificance as he thundered a header past Ben Foster. For his second and West Ham's clinching third, he turned on a lofted Collins free-kick to volley into the bottom corner beautifully. Allardyce admitted it was probably Carroll's best display for the club. "You'd have to say yes because he's put two goals on the end of a good performance. He's put good performances in for us before, but he's shown what he's all about today with his ability outside the box and his ability inside the box, which we've been waiting patiently for.

"He's in a good frame of mind now and, finally, after a long wait, his match fitness is why we're seeing the goals and performances. I hope this kicks on in the next eight games."

As to whether Carroll will remain at the club beyond that, Allardyce said he was keen but, with so much involved in a transfer, this wasn't the time to discuss it.

Clarke said much the same about Mulumbu's red card. Indeed, Graham Dorrans's fortuitous late penalty after a soft Lukaku fall clearly didn't calm West Bromwich.

"I would guess it's frustration," Clarke said. "The time to have a chat is probably tomorrow morning. I just said to the group in general that you have to control your frustration. It was frustrating afternoon for us."

For West Ham and Carroll, though, it was an eminently fruitful one.

Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
News
Stephen Hawking is reportedly taking steps to trademark his name
people
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor