West Ham United 2-1 Hull City
Barclays Premier League
West Ham United returned to winning ways in the Barclays Premier League on Wednesday evening, as Mark Noble's first-half spot-kick and a James Chester own goal secured a 2-1 win over ten-man Hull City at the Boleyn Ground.
The game's pivotal moment arrived just 20 minutes into proceedings, as visiting 'keeper Allan McGregor saw red for denying Mohamed Diame an almost certain goal.
Spot-kick specialist Mark Noble did the rest and though Tom Huddlestone's deflected 48th minute free-kick briefly restored parity, Chester's misdirected hack sealed the Hammers' first win in four. Victory sees West Ham climb back up to eleventh ahead of Monday night's trip to the Stadium of Light.
Sam Allardyce's side had started brightly enough, with no shortage of alarm for McGregor in the visitors' goal. Stewart Downing chanced his arm early on, cutting in off the right before seeing a near-post drive tipped around the post.
Guy Demel made inroads down the right too, with his cross sitting up invitingly for Andy Carroll, whose header was cleared off the line. The rebound fell kindly for Matt Taylor, but his strike was deflected over the bar. The hosts' charge was briefly halted by an enforced switch, as the injured James Collins was replaced by Roger Johnson.
And so to the Hammers' opener after 25 minutes, one that began and ended at the feet of Noble. The Hammers' No16 burst through the middle and looked to feed Diame. His through ball, though initially cut out, then ricocheted into the path of the Senegalese midfielder, who promptly clipped it over McGregor before being upended by the Scottish 'keeper.
With Diame favourite to tap into the now vacant net, the Tigers' custodian, once back to his feet following lengthy treatment, received his marching orders. The ever-reliable Noble made no mistake from the spot, sending substitute stopper Steve Harper the wrong way to slot his third of the season.
After James Tomkins had headed a Downing corner over the top, Hull produced arguably their best moment of the half. Ahmed Elmohamady stormed down the right and picked out Huddlestone, whose half-volley narrowly cleared the crossbar.
At the other end, George McCartney delivered from the left, with Carroll's downward header crashing into the turf and then bouncing over the bar. Meanwhile, it would take until the fourth minute of stoppage time for Adrian to make his first stop of note, as he dove to his right to claw away Maynor Figueroa's long-range hit.
But the Hammers were stunned within just three second-half minutes, as Huddlestone's free-kick careered into the back of Nikica Jelavic and beyond a wrong-footed Adrian.
Fortunately, West Ham were back in front little more than five minutes later, when Demel's left-footed centre was inadvertently, if needlessly diverted past Harper via the boot of Chester.
The hosts might have made it three on the hour, but Downing, having been teed up by skipper Kevin Nolan, saw his strike balloon into the Bobby Moore Stand. Nolan himself then went close late on, as his firmly-struck drive forced Harper into a smart stop.
But ten-man Hull were not yet finished, with Adrian reacting smartly to tip Huddlestone's fizzing effort over the bar. And though the visitors continued to press as the clock ticked down, West Ham held on for three pivotal and hard-earned points.
West Ham United: Adrian; Demel, Collins (Johnson 9), Tomkins, McCartney; Nolan, Noble, Taylor, Diame (J Cole 69), Carroll, Downing
Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Armero, Vaz Te, C Cole, Nocerino
Goals: Noble 26, Chester 54 (og)
Hull City: McGregor, Figueroa (Rosenior 59), Bruce (Harper 25), Chester, Davies, Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, Jelavic (Sagbo 82), Long, Elmohamady
Subs not used: Koren, Fryatt, Aluko, Quinn
Sent off: McGregor
Goal: Huddlestone 48
Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 31, 033