West Ham United 3 Hull City 0: match report
It's not Fortress Upton Park just yet but West Ham United's burgeoning run of form in the East End is slowly easing relegation fears. Hull City, without a win in 18 away league matches, were powerless to prevent a comfortable success for West Ham, who have now not conceded a goal in four home league matches, which have yielded 10 precious points. Valon Behrami, Carlton Cole and Julien Faubert plundered the goals as West Ham coasted to victory over a Hull side reduced to 10 men when Craig Fagan was sent off 10 minutes after the interval. West Ham, however, may just find their next assignment rather tougher, as they head to Manchester United on Tuesday. Perhaps Hull should have heeded the second-minute warning, when goalkeeper Boaz Myhill had to react alertly to push away Alessandro Diamanti's free-kick but West Ham were intent on an early breakthrough and Upton Park was not to be disappointed. Behrami won a loose ball in midfield, found Guillermo Franco and was ideally placed to receive the return pass and guide a low shot beyond Myhill. West Ham exuded confidence, with Radoslav Kovac heading over from Diamanti's corner. Diamanti himself, a lively figure on West Ham's left, then twice went close in rapid succession, volleying Faubert's deep cross wide and firing over from the edge of the penalty area. Hull were indebted to Myhill who contorted himself to keep out Behrami's header as West Ham dominated the first half. Hull had scarcely mustered a serious threat to Robert Green's goal until, as half-time loomed, the West Ham goalkeeper tipped over George Boateng's powerful effort from the edge of the penalty area. Hull's task grew a whole lot harder 10 minutes into the second half when Craig Fagan's dismissal reduced them to 10 men. Fagan, booked for a first-half foul on Scott Parker, received a second yellow card from referee Martin Atkinson for a tangle with Diamanti and could scarcely contain his anger with the decision as he left the pitch. The game was there for West Ham's taking, and Gianfranco Zola's men wasted little time. Four minutes later, Flaubert's enticing pass into the right-hand channel left Hull defender Anthony Gardner on his backside and plenty of room for Cole to roll the ball between Myhill and the far post. Hull manager Phil Brown made three substitutions midway through the half, introducing Nick Barmby, Jozy Altidore and Seyi Olofinjana, but to little effect. Instead, West Ham almost grabbed a spectacular third, Diamanti lofting the ball from just inside his own half, a piece of initiative only foiled by a rapidly back-pedalling Myhill. Having used all their substitutes, unhappy Hull were reduced to nine men when Gardner was carried off seven minutes from the end, and their agonies were complete when Faubert rampaged forwards to smash West Ham's third in added time.
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