- Venue:Upton Park
- Referee:Dean, M
FULL TIME: WEST HAM 2-0 BIRMINGHAM. The referee brings the game to a close and Upton Park erupts. It is a much-needed win against a disappointing Birmingham for Gianfranco Zola's side who will climb out of the relegation zone.
Birmingham make a mess of a free-kick in a dangerous position and Gardner resorts to taking a strike that sails over the crossbar.
The visitors are pushing forward in numbers now but are still struggling to find a way through the West Ham back-line.
Noble is straight into the action and gets a shot away from inside the box but it does not beat Ferguson who hacks the ball to safety.
Scott Parker has lead the line for West Ham but has run himself into the ground and is replaced by Mark Noble.
Phillips is caught offside again after making a late run into the box and striking a half volley over Green's bar.
The ball drops to Ferguson on the edge of the box but it is a frustrated strike more than anything and he blazes his effort over the bar.
Diamanti looks for Spector on the overlap and bursting into the box but Hart is quick off his line to smother the loose ball.
Birmingham try to work something in the final third but Kevin Phillips is ruled offside.
The hosts will be eager to see this one out and pick up three points now after picking up just one win in their last eleven league games.
Miguel Marcos Michel enters the fray in place of Lee Bowyer.
Parker is on the break now for West Ham and has options ahead of him before running into a crowd of bodies on the edge of the box.
Bowyer makes a darting run to the near post and gets a shot away. Upson puts the block in and the ball appears to be stopped by his arm but the referee waves play on.
Behrami surges forward and gets a shot away from 20-yards that forces a decent save out of Hart.
The visitors are yet to respond to going another goal down and Cole, who thoroughly deserved his goal, is wreaking havoc.
Alex McLeish makes an immediate change as James McFadden comes on for Keith Fahey.
WEST HAM 2-0 BIRMINGHAM: Faubert cuts a cross back from the byline and finds COLE whose diving header creeps in at the far post.
That is Mido's last action of the game as he makes way for Araujo Ilan who came off the bench to score at Turf Moor.
Mido dispossesses Ferguson and sends a strike straight down the throat of Hart from 25 yards.
Gardner's set-piece finds Johnson at the far post but his cushioned header into the danger area is cleared by Tomkins.
Matthew Upson, playing against his former club, is cautioned for a rash challenge on Gardner right on the edge of the box.
Faubert's delivery from the right flank has been top drawer this evening but this time his inviting cross does not find his target Mido.
Cole does superbly well to shrug off two defenders and hold the ball up for Diamanti whose wild effort flies into the stand behind the goal.
The hosts still look in control of this game and are keeping hold of the ball well, though there is a nervy edge to the game in this second-half.
Tomkins picks up a knock and looks to be struggling for the home side but looks set to continue for now.
Diamanti skips past two Birmingham players before hitting a speculative effort from 25 yards that grazes Hart's post.
Gardner does well down the right wing but cannot find Jerome with a low cross.
Green's punch finds Gardner who tries his luck from 25-yards and drives a strike wide of the target.
Behrami moves in from the right and slices open the Birmingham defence with a pass but Mido is nowhere near it and the ball runs out for a goal-kick.
Diamanti seeks Cole with a long ball which is intercepted by Johnson.
Herita Ilunga has not returned from the dressing room and Jonathan Spector fills in at left-back.
The sides return for the second-half and Gianfranco Zola has been forced to make a change in his line-up.
HALF TIME: WEST HAM 1-0 BIRMINGHAM. That was a great time to score for the hosts who take a deserved lead in at the break.
WEST HAM 1-0 BIRMINGHAM: DIAMANTI bends a sublime free-kick over the wall and into the top corner of Hart's goal.
Dann is booked for a foul on Parker 20 yards from goal.
Jerome is inches away from getting a toe on the end of a Gardner cross inside the six-yard box.
Bowyer picks up the first booking of the game following a slight kick on Diamanti.
Julien Faubert swings a high cross to the far post looking for Mido who cannot latch on to the loose ball.
The visitors get bodies forward and Gardner moves up the right flank before floating a poor cross into the arms of Green.
Phillips lets fly from 20-yards and forces Green into his first save of the game, turning the ball over the bar.
Kevin Phillips is seeing a lot more of the ball now and is the centre of all the moves.
Cole gets a sight of goal again but this time his effort is superbly blocked by Johnson.
Cole turns his marker in the box and blasts a strike wide of the far post.
It is end-to-end stuff now as the hosts push forward but Cole bundles over Roger Johnson in a race for the loose ball.
A great passing move from Birmingham as Bowyer slides a pass through to Jerome who drags his shot wide from inside the box.
Cole holds the ball up for Diamanti who works Hart with a fizzing left-footed strike.
Frantic defending from West Ham as Green is caught off his line and Cameron Jerome's cross bounces across the face of goal.
Mido reaches the byline but cannot find Cole with a low cross.
Green scrambles off his goal-line to palm an in-swinging Gardner corner to safety.
Birmingham are trying to get back into this game and are enjoying a spell of possession in their opponent's half.
Mido is in the thick of things again and cuts back onto his left foot before his curling left-footed effort is saved by Hart.
The West Ham winger gets another dangerous ball into the box but this time it is cleared by a blue shirt.
Diamanti is causing all the problems for Birmingham in these opening stages.
James Tomkins forces a save out of Hart with a low drive from the edge of a box.
Scott Parker puts a cross into the corridor of uncertainty but his team-mates are not on the same wavelength.
It is all West Ham at the moment and the hosts look sharp, passing the ball around with zip.
Mido looks sharp in the opening stages as his glancing header bounces wide of the post.
Liam Ridgewell picks out Craig Gardner at the far post and his header is saved by Rob Green.
An early Birmingham corner finds former Hammer Lee Bowyer on the edge of the box but he cannot direct his header goal-wards.
Carlton Cole is one-on-one with Hart but a dubious offside decision brings the move to an end.
It is a high tempo start from West Ham and a swirling Alessandro Diamanti comes to Mido whose header is taken at the near post by Joe Hart.
Referee Mike Dean gets the game underway.
Kevin Phillips earns himself a starting place after coming off the bench to score two late goals against Wolves on Sunday. Elsewhere Keith Fahey and Craig Gardner are drafted into Alex McLeish's eleven.
Benni McCarthy is ruled out of tonight's fixture with a knee injury so Mido makes his first start for West Ham. Herita Ilunga, Radoslav Kovac and Alessandro Diamanti also make starts following West Ham's 2-1 defeat to Burnley at the weekend.
Gianfranco Zola's West Ham United side face Birmingham City at Upton Park just four days after their predicament towards the foot of the Premier League table took another battering.
The Hammers lost 2-1 at Burnley on Saturday and have found a way back into the bottom three after their latest downturn in form.
To make matters worse, Burnley secured their first win in 12 matches in a run stretching back to the end of October by beating the Hammers at Turf Moor.
Zola's side have won just once in ten games as their problems mount but, with new owners David Sullivan and David Gold at the helm, their fans should be confident of forcing a way out of their current malaise.
New signing Benni McCarthy will add some much-needed striking flair and fellow new boy Ilan, who joined the club from St Etienne, scored against Burnley after coming off the bench and could have forced his way into the starting line-up.
On the injury front, Zola still has several first-team players unavailable. Guillermo Franco, Danny Gabbidon and Kieron Dyer (all hamstring) are nearing fitness but the midweek showdown may come too soon for all of them.
Zavon Hines and Luis Boa Morte (both knee) are out for the rest of the season with central defender Calum Davenport still missing after a domestic incident that left him with a serious thigh injury.
Birmingham City are in fantastic form and demonstrated their battling capabilities on Sunday after turning over Wolverhampton Wanderers at St Andrew's.
Kevin Doyle had opened the scoring for Wolves but a late double from veteran forward Kevin Phillips further extended the Blues' fine record of just one defeat in 15 Premier League fixtures.
They sit in eighth position and, with Alex McLeish's main aim at the start of the season to stay in the top-flight, he will be pinching himself following the success of his Midlands outfit so far this term.
West Ham United eased their relegation fears with a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 victory against a disappointing Birmingham City side at Upton Park.
All the pre-match talk had centred around former Blues owners David Gold and David Sullivan who had suggested that a 25 per cent salary cut was needed to be taken down Upton Park way.
But following this vital victory, the Hammers' new co-owners should be thinking about giving Gianfranco Zola's boys a pay-rise after goals by Alessandro Diamanti and Carlton Cole sent West Ham into the safety zone.
Languishing precariously in 18th spot, the cash-strapped Hammers had made four changes from the side that had lost at Burnley on Saturday as Diamanti, Mido, Herita Ilunga and Radoslav Kovac came in for the injured Benni McCarthy (knee) plus substitutes Jack Collison, Jonathan Spector and Mark Noble.
Certainly no quarter was given by Zola's men in the opening exchanges, as the determined Mido twice threatened, before Joe Hart saved stinging long-rangers from James Tomkins and Diamanti.
Kicking off ten places above the Hammers, the Blues had kept the same 11 that finished Sunday's 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
That meant there were starting places for two-goal hero Kevin Phillips plus Keith Fahey and Craig Gardner as Christian Benitez missed out, while James McFadden took his place on the bench alongside Sebastian Larsson.
Despite being on the back foot, the Midlanders saw Stephen Carr's clever byline cross cause mayhem in the Hammers defence and then Phillips played in Cameron Jerome, who slid inches wide to the relief of West Ham's frost-bitten fans amongst the crowd of 34,458.
On the half-hour mark, Cole powerfully turned his markers before agonisingly curling his angled shot across the face of Hart and beyond the far post, while moments later, the Hammers' top-scorer saw his point-blank shot bravely blocked by Scott Dann.
In first-half stoppage time, the Blues defender was in the thick of things once more, when he joined Lee Bowyer in referee Mike Dean's book for ending steam-rollering Scott Parker's penetrating run with a crude trip.
And Dann's punishment was compounded when the left foot of Diamanti curled the consequent 20-yard free-kick over the Birmingham wall and under Hart's left-hand angle to give West Ham a richly-deserved interval lead with his sixth goal of the season.
Just after the restart, the Italian went looking for a second but, after leaving a trail of defenders in his wake, he saw the well-placed Hart hold his 25-yarder and, on the hour mark, he blasted Cole's cut-back high onto the frozen wastes of the Bobby Moore Stand.
Midway through the second half, Zola brought on Ilan for the tiring Mido, while Alex McLeish replaced Fahey with McFadden but, within seconds of those switches, West Ham doubled their advantage.
This time, the patient Valon Behrami played in the overlapping Julien Faubert and the Frenchman's knee-high cross into the six-yard box was met by the diving Cole, whose eighth goal of the season cemented the three precious points that lifted West Ham into 14th spot.
West Ham United
Shots off target