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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz