West Ham United 3-1 Fulham
West Ham United returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory against relegation-threatened Fulham at London Stadium on Friday night.
The Hammers had to come from behind after Ryan Babel swept the Cottagers into a third minute lead, and they owed much to Robert Snodgrass’ wicked set-piece delivery for turning the game on its head before the interval.
The Scotsman sent two decisive corners into the danger area, which led to Chicharito and Issa Diop making it 2-1 to the hosts.
Fulham kept West Ham honest to the end, and it needed a last minute Michail Antonio header to wrap the three points up.
West Ham were dozing from the first whistle and Babel should have given his team the lead inside the first 40 seconds when Pablo Zabaleta’s underhit backpass played him in. Babel looked to have done the hard part in waiting for Lukasz Fabianski to make the first move, but then shot at the Hammers stopper.
Babel was more ruthless when his next opportunity arrived with just three minutes on the clock. Ryan Sessegnon was afforded too much room to pick out a low cross from the left, and Babel was left alone to convert from close range.
West Ham really needed to wake up and they came so close to levelling it up shortly afterwards when Diop got his head to Snodgrass’ corner, but the ball dropped inches wide of the right hand post.
Snodgrass’ set-piece delivery was causing no end of problems for the visitors’ defence and it was from a brace of his corners that the Hammers turned the game around.
First, with 29 minutes on the clock, Fulham stopper Sergio Rico got more height than distance on his punch, and West Ham pounced –Antonio heading back into the mix and Chicharito converting from close range.
Then, eleven minutes later, another corner from the right hand side saw the West Ham No11 drop the ball close to the near post for Diop to power in and nod into the net for his first Premier League goal.
Fabianski had been largely untroubled since Fulham’s early burst, but he had to show good hands to field a fizzing low shot from Babel on 56 minutes.
Ryan Fredericks was introduced from the bench at half time to face his former side, and his pace was in need midway through the half when Aleksandar Mitrovic looked to have a free run in on goal until the full-back nipped in front of him.
With 14 minutes to go, Lanzini made his bow for a long-awaited comeback from injury, and he almost had an instant impact, combining with Snodgrass to lay on a chance for Marko Arnautovic, who had his header saved by Rico.
Arnautovic then hit the post with a rocket before Antonio wrapped the game up in the final minute, planting a powerful downward header from the Austrian’s cross beyond Rico’s reach.
West Ham United: Fabianski, Zabaleta (Fredericks 46), Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Antonio, Felipe Anderson (Lanzini 76), Chicharito (Arnautovic 62)
Subs: Adrian, Obiang, Nasri, Carroll
Goals: Chicharito 29, Diop 40, Antonio 90
Fulham: Rico, Odoi, Nordtveit, Ream, Bryan, Chambers, Seri (Anguissa 46), Cairney, Sessegnon (Markovic 46), Babel, Mitrovic
Subs: Fabri, Ayite, Vietta, Le Marchand, Christie
Goal: Babel 3
Referee: Lee Mason