Andy Carroll’s 50th Premier League goal wasn’t rewarded as Hull City came from behind to win 2-1 at the KCOM Stadium.
Captaining the Hammers from the start for the first time in his career, Carroll’s cool strike looked set to be the catalyst for a positive result on the road for West Ham, but a second half salvo from the Tigers meant Slaven Bilic’s mean were left empty handed once more.
Dealt a triple injury blow in the defeat to Leicester City, Bilic settled on two straight swaps in James Collins and Sofiane Feghouli for Winston Reid and Michail Antonio.
The Croat opted to shuffle his deck to replace the stricken Pedro Obiang, with former City star Robert Snodgrass retaking his position in the starting eleven and Manuel Lanzini taking up a more defensive role next to Cheikhou Kouyate.
Despite a frantic start that saw Jose Fonte booked in the opening seconds for a lunge on Abel Hernandez, the KCOM Stadium had to wait until the 13th minute for the first attempt on goal at either end. Snodgrass was gifted a glorious opportunity to silence a crowd that jeered his every touch throughout the afternoon, but he headed Feghouli’s teasing cross straight at Eldin Jakupovic in the City goal.
Five minutes later Carroll wasn’t going to make the same mistake. Lanzini picked up the ball on the half way and drove across the pitch before finding Aaron Cresswell in an advanced position. The full back put in an inch perfect cross, evading the leaping Curtis Davies and finding the chest of Carroll, who controlled it before slotting home expertly.
Finding themselves behind, City tried to get back on level terms and when Fonte’s underhit backpass sold Darren Randolph short, the Hammers keeper took no prisoners as he slid through both Lazar Marković and Hernández to clear on the 18-yard line.
Lanzini nearly extended the lead on the half hour mark when his 25 yard effort needed to be tipped wide by Jakupovic and, just before the break, the stopper plucked the ball from the head of Feghouli to ensure the Tigers went into the interval with only a one goal deficit.
Eight minutes into the second half and the resurgent Hull City were level. Markovic and half time substitute Kamil Grosicki combined in a flowing passing move that allowed Andy Robertson space in the box, which he utilised with a low drive past Randolph from the angle of his six yard box.
West Ham were denied an instant reply by Jakupovic once more. Snodgrass found the head of Carroll who arrowed it towards goal, only to be denied his brace by a smart save.
The Hull City faithful had found their voices by this point and were rewarded with a flurry of activity in the Hammers box. Referee Mike Jones waved away two penalty appeals either side of a glorious opportunity for the home side, which saw Alfred N’Diaye’s shot come back of the post and Grosicki’s follow up go agonisingly wide of a virtually empty net.
Edimilson Fernandes and Arthur Masuaku were introduced with just over 20 minutes remaining for Snodgrass and Cresswell, the latter having succumbed to injury. With the Hammers searching for a winner, Lanzini delivered a dangerous free kick into the box that was punched clear by Jakupovic, and Feghouli’s cross-come-shot moments later did little to test the gloveman.
But just as both sides looked ready to settle for a point, the Tigers reared upfield for one last time and, when Grosicki sent over a corner with just five minutes left, Ranocchia roared in at the near post to glance his match-winning header into the net and leave the Hammers ruing missed opportunities again.
Hull City: Jakupovic, Ranocchia, Davies (Grosicki h/t), Maguire, Elmohamady, Markovic, N’Diaye (Maloney 79), Clucas, Robertson, Hernández (Henriksen 79), Niasse.
Subs not used: Meyler, Diomande, Dawson, Marshall.
Booked: Niasse, N’Diaye,
Goals: Robertson 53, Ranocchia 85
West Ham United: Randolph, Byram, Fonte, Collins, Cresswell (Masuaku 68), Kouyaté (Calleri 90), Lanzini, Feghouli, Ayew, Snodgrass (Fernandes 66), Carroll.
Subs not used: Adrián, Nordtveit, Noble, Fletcher.
Booked: Fonte, Carroll
Goal: Carroll 18