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West Ham 2 Birmingham 0 By Adrian Curtis, Press Association Sport
West Ham's new owners were handed a timely reminder that Gianfranco Zola has all the credentials to lead the club to safety as they despatched Birmingham at Upton Park.
A goal in each half from Alessandro Diamanti and Carlton Cole earned West Ham their first victory under the new regime.
It was made all the more sweeter for new owners David Gold and David Sullivan by the fact it was achieved at the expense of the club they used to own.
Zola's future as manager had been the subject of much speculation leading up to the game and it sparked a vote of confidence from Sullivan only hours before the kick-off.
The co-owner's remarks that the wage bill would have to be slashed was deemed unhelpful by Zola as he prepared his squad for this vital home game.
But the spirit of unity among the players and their support for Zola was personified by Diamanti's 50-yard run to hug the Italian coach after the striker had put the home side ahead on the stroke of half-time.
West Ham were in a determined mood from the start with striker Mido showing some nice touches on his full debut.
In the seventh minute, he sent a header flashing wide of the far post when a cross from Julien Faubert found him unmarked.
Five minutes later, James Tomkins forced Joe Hart into a fine save when the West Ham midfielder sent a 20-yard drive towards the bottom corner.
City hit back but a cross from Craig Gardner went straight into the arms of the waiting West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green.
In the 23rd minute, Mido supplied a low cross which Hart managed to scoop into his arms before Cole pounced.
But West Ham had Green to thank in the 24th minute when he punched away a cross from Carr.
However, Hart had to be at his best seconds later to tip a powerful drive from Diamanti over the crossbar as the game began to open-up.
City should have taken the lead in the 28th minute but Cameron Jerome shot wide of Green's right-hand upright from eight yards after Lee Bowyer had cleverly set him up with a short pass.
Yet West Ham continued to press and Cole did well to turn his marker before firing just a yard wide of the far post in the 32nd minute.
Kevin Phillips tested Green in the 37th minute but found the England goalkeeper in top form when he tipped the veteran striker's 25-yard shot over the crossbar.
But West Ham went in front in the second minute of first-half injury time.
City's Scott Dann was booked for a foul on Scott Parker on the edge of the penalty area.
And West Ham made them pay when Diamanti sent the free-kick over the wall and into the top corner for the opening goal.
Diamanti, buoyed by his goal, then tried his luck with a volley in the 54th minute but there was little power behind the shot and Hart dealt with it comfortably.
West Ham, looking to bounce back from defeat at Burnley at the weekend, continued to dominate.
Diamanti was presented with another chance when Cole set him up in the 60th minute but shot high over the bar.
A rare City excursion into the West Ham half brought them a free-kick on the angle of the penalty area when Matthew Upson felled Gardner.
The West Ham defender was yellow carded for his misdemeanour but City failed to take advantage of the resultant free-kick.
West Ham made a further change in the 65th minute when Ilan replaced Mido. City responded by removing Keith Fahey and introducing James McFadden.
But the home side went 2-0 in front in the 67th minute when Faubert's right-wing cross was met by a diving header from Cole that went in off the far post.
Birmingham should have reduced the deficit with six minutes remaining but Phillips shot high over the bar with just Green to beat.
It was their last chance as the home side held on to climb into 14th position and ease the pressure, temporarily at least, on Zola.
West Ham Green, Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga (Spector 46),Diamanti, Parker (Noble 86), Kovac, Behrami, Mido (Ilan 66),Cole.
Subs Not Used: Stech, Da Costa, Collison, Stanislas.
Goals: Diamanti 45, Cole 67.
Birmingham Hart, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Gardner,Ferguson, Bowyer (Michel 77), Fahey (McFadden 66), Phillips,Jerome.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Larsson, Parnaby, Vignal, Jervis.
Booked: Bowyer, Dann.
Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).