Hammers ease to vital three points

West Ham United 3 Hull City 0 By Dave Evans at Upton Park WEST HAM cruised to three priceless points and moved four points clear of the relegation zone as they mauled the Tigers at Upton Park. It was hardly a classic game, but a goal in the opening th

West Ham United 3 Hull City 0

By Dave Evans at Upton Park

WEST HAM cruised to three priceless points and moved four points clear of the relegation zone as they mauled the Tigers at Upton Park.

It was hardly a classic game, but a goal in the opening three minutes and another in second-half injury time helped them to victory.

In between, Carlton Cole grabbed his ninth goal of the season and Hull were reduced to nine men when first Craig Fagan was sent off for a second bookable offence and then Anthony Gardner was stretchered off after Phil Brown had made all three substitutions.

West Ham started this game like an express train and were in front within three minutes, Alessandro Diamanti's free kick had already caught Hull keeper Boaz Myhill by surprise, as he was forced to make a good save by his post.

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But a minute later, Radoslav Kovac won the ball, found Valon Behrami and when his pass was miscontrolled by Guillermo Franco, it fell invitingly back into Behrami's pass and he slotted into the corner.

That should have signalled a siege on the Hull goal, but instead the game went flat and Hull were able to get a small foothold in the match.

Tom Cairney's free kick was comfortably saved by Rob Green, but at the other end, Behrami was looking to add to his first goal of the season.

First he stung Myhill's fingers with a rasping drive from the edge of the box, then Diamanti got down the left to deliver the perfect cross to the far post where Behrami met it with a superb downward header.

It looked in, but somehow Myhill flung himself through the air to turn the ball away and prevent a second.

The most dangerous moment for the Hammers came just before half time. Matty Upson's clearance only reached as far as George Boateng and he muscled his way into the box before letting fly with a rasping shot that was superbly tipped over by Green.

The game took another lurch towards the home side on 53 minutes. Fagan felled Diamanti, who was on a charge down the left wing, and though the challenge was fairly innocuous, referee Martin Atkinson reached for his yellow card and Fagan, already booked in the first half, received his marching orders.

Six minutes later the game was all over bar the shouting.

Julien Faubert expertly picked out Cole's clever crossfield run and the striker got the better of Gardner, before slipping his shot past Myhill and into the corner.

Diamanti almost caught Myhill out on 71 minutes with an audacious 50-yard shot that had the keeper back-pedalling before desperately tipping over.

Hull could have got themselves back in it when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink put in substitute Jozy Altidore, but under pressure from Upson, he could only shoot wide.

Hull went down to nine men with seven minutes to go, victims of manager Brown making all three changes at the same time, but West Ham seemed content to sit on their comfortable lead until injury time.

Then, Frenchman Faubert, making his 50th appearance in claret and blue, stormed forward and let fly from just inside the box with a shot that flew into the far corner to complete the scoring.

West Ham: Green, Faubert, Spector, Upson, Tomkins, Behrami, Kovac, Parker, Diamanti (Collison 85), Franco (Ilan 63), Cole (Mido 79).

Unused subs: Stech, Noble, Da Costa, Stanislas.

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