Hammers make Burnley pay penalty

West Ham United secured their ninth home win of the season with a 1-0 win over relegation-embattled Burnley. 

The match hinged on one moment midway through the first half when Jonathan Moss awarded the hosts a penalty after Cheikhou Kouyate was fouled. Mark Noble stepped up to score his second goal of the season. 

In a fast paced game, Enner Valencia went agonizingly close to breaking the deadlock in the early exchanges as he tried to connect to Aaron Cresswell’s teasing cross. However the Ecuadorean international could not quite manage to get enough contact on the ball while under pressure from two Burnley defenders. 

The visiting Clarets knew that only a win would do in their efforts to avoid the relegation trapdoor. Sean Dyche’s men started the game full of vigour and verve fashioning a number of chances, the best of which fell to Burnley’s top goalscorer Danny Ings. First, he turned his marker and shot just wide of the far post from a tight angle before heading over from close range just moments later. 

Midway through the first half and the Hammers took the lead via the penalty spot. Mark Noble calmly sent Tom Heaton the wrong way to record his second goal of the campaign.

The move started by superb play from Enner Valencia beating Kieran Trippier before playing an incisive pass to Cheikhou Kouyate inside the box. The Senegalese international twisted and turned before being felled by Michael Duff. 

Up-stepped Noble to tuck the spot kick away confidently. Referee Jonathan Moss decided to send off Duff, a decision that some may argue was harsh. 

Boyed by taking the lead, the Hammers went close to doubling it just moments later. Carl Jenkinson played an exquisite ball for Downing to chase, who fired in a superb cross toward Valencia. The forward took a touch before smashing it goal bound, forcing Heaton to pull off a magnificent save from point-blanc range. 

Heaton was called into again just minutes later, denying a fiercely struck shot by Morgan Amalfitano, making his first appearance since the 1-1 draw with Stoke City. 

For Burnley, a hard task was made even more difficult by been reduced to ten men and the Hammers soon began to take control of the game.   

The visitors never stopped working and their tireless efforts were almost rewarded when Trippier’s well struck free kick had Adrian scrambling across his line yet the effort flew just wide of the apex.    

During the interval, a rousing reception was given to member of the 1965 European Cup Winners’ Cup squad, celebrating their phenomenal achievement 50 years on. 

With an air of proud nostalgia around the ground, the first team sprang out of the traps, trying to extend their lead. Nolan poked just wide following good work Downing and Jenkinson before Valencia blasting wide. 

Burnley continued to pose a threat, particularly through Danny Ings’ pace. The England U21 International managed to get goal side of the defence yet he crashed his effort into the side netting. 

Amalfitano and Nolan both had chances to score. The Frenchman curled a shot wide of the far post before the captain fired Cresswell’s drilled cross yet was denied his 100th League goal by a desperate block from the Clarets’ defence. 

The game developed an edge midway through the second half, particularly when Stewart Downing went down in the box. He and his teammates were adamant they should have won a second penalty, Burnley were incensed at what they deemed to be a dive. Moss agreed with the visitors and booked the 30-year-old. 

The Hammers continued to push for a second goal, Sam Allardyce reshuffled his pack and brought on Nene and Carlton Cole which nearly brought immediate dividends. First, Cole went close with a header and then a one-on-one however Heaton would not be beaten a second time.  

Despite not scoring a second goal, the Hammers secured a deserved win, their ninth home win of the season, leapfrogging Everton and Stoke, climbing to ninth with 47 points.   

West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Burke, Collins, Cresswell, Noble, Kouyate, Nolan © (Nene 74), Downing, Amalfitano, Valencia (Cole 82)
Subs: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Oxford, Jarvis, Song
Goals: Noble (p) 24, 
Bookings: Valencia 42, Noble 44, Downing 60

Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Boyd (Keane 46), Arfield, Jones, Taylor (Wallace 81), Barnes (Sordell 74), Ings
Subs: Gilks, Kightly, Reid, Jutkiewicz
Bookings: Keane 61, 
Red Card: Duff 23