Ahmed Elmohamady watched on as West Ham overcame ten-man Hull City 2-1 at Upton Park thanks to a Mark Noble penalty and a James Chester own goal.
Hammers’ manager Sam Allardyce opted to name the same team as the one that suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United last time out in the Premier League. His counterpart Steve Bruce strangely dropped Liam Rosenior and Sone Aluko in favour of Alex Bruce and Maynor Figueroa from their comfortable 2-0 win over West Brom.
West Ham: Adrian – Demel – McCartney – Tomkins – Collins – Noble – Downing – Taylor – Carroll – Nolan – Diame
Subs: Armero – Vaz Te – Jaaskelainen – Cole – Cole – Johnson – Nocerino
Hull City: McGregor – Elmohamady – Davies – Chester – Figueroa – Bruce – Livermore – Meyler – Huddlestone – Jelavic – Long
Subs: Harper – Rosenior – Fryatt – Sagbo – Aluko – Quinn
The home side had the first chance of the fixture when a cross was swung deep from the right which found Carroll highest but his header was cleared off the line by Alex Bruce. The defender then reacted quickest as well to deflect a Matthew Taylor shot.
The real talking point of the game occurred in the 22nd minute after a surging Mark Noble ran into the box and saw him play a ball into Mohamed Diame. In somewhat fortuitous circumstance the ball ricocheted off Curtis Davies back to Noble into the path of Diame who handled the ball before getting clattered by Allan McGregor. Diame had managed to lift the ball over the keeper but Maynor Figueroa cleared the danger off the line.
The referee initially waved play-on before bringing the play back on the advice of his assistants before awarding a penalty and sending off the Tiger’s goalkeeper. It looked a harsh sending off considering Figueroa was covering and Diame used his hand in the build-up but Hull were down to 10 men nevertheless. Steve Harper come on at the expense of Alex Bruce and his first job was to pick the ball out of the net after Noble had sent him the wrong way.
The 36th minute saw the visitors have a half chance when Tom Huddlestone played a neat one-two with Ahmed Elmohamady, freeing the latter own the right flank, the Egyptian crossed back to Huddlestone but his shot was over the bar.
With six minutes added time Maynor Figueroa stung the palms of Adrian with a long range effort which was turned behind for a corner as the first-half action came to a close.
The second-half couldn’t have started much better for Hull when a Huddlestone smashed free-kick deflected off Nikica Jelavic and into the back of the net.
Parity didn’t last long however and West Ham were back on top in the 54th minute in unfortunate conditions when James Chester swung a leg at a cross seeing it slice into his own net past a helpless Harper.
Hull wasted a good opportunity in the 64th minute when breaking forward with Long, Jelavic and Meyler. Long initially won the ball before playing the ball to his international compatriot Meyler but he overran the ball with Jelavic in the box open in space.
Despite having a numerical advantage, West Ham barely threatened Harper who was only making routine saves from crosses and set-pieces. The home faithful grew increasingly restless at their lack of urgency and commitment when breaking forward and this was translating onto the pitch.
It took until the 81st minute for West Ham to really test Harper when Kevin Nolan struck a great strike on the edge of the box but the keeper was equal to the effort and parried the ball away.
Huddlestone faked a shot late on before dragging the ball onto his left foot, hitting a trademark long-range shot which Adrian clawed over the bar.
The full-time whistle was greeted with boos to which Allardyce raised his hand to his ear gesturing to the crowd.
Nevertheless Hull can take heart from this performance who for large periods of the game were the better side despite being a man down from the 22nd minute.
Published on March 27 2014 for KingFut.