|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Mark Noble penalty earns West Ham fortunate win over dominant Hull
Paul MacInnes at the London Stadium
Date Published Saturday 17 December 2016 17.16 GMT
Hull City produced a display of scintillating passing and movement, created an endless succession of chances and lost to West Ham in a result that leaves Mike Phelan’s side bottom of the Premier League at Christmas.
There was something inevitable about the result: a classic case of footballing sod’s law. Hull hit the post three times, squandered two one-on-ones and generally saw their positive, well-drilled endeavours founder at the final hurdle. West Ham were largely disjointed even after changing shape and personnel at half-time, but earned a soft penalty when Tom Huddlestone pulled Michail Antonio down and now have seven points in a week.
“Were we lucky? Yes,” said Slaven Bilic. “For a long period of the game it looked like they deserved something. Through the first half, even to 60 minutes. Our start wasn’t good enough.
“In the last half hour we had good composure, good balance in the team. We built pressure and from the pressure we got the penalty. I would like and love that we’d played better but we knew these two games [with Burnley in midweek] were all about the results. We got six points out of the games, the main object for us.”
For Phelan, there was little comfort from what he felt was his side’s best performance of the season. “The game should have been out of sight before the penalty,” the Hull manager said. “Everything that could have gone against us did.
“I should believe, being in charge of this group, that performances like that will eventually bring results. But you have to be clinical, you have to be ruthless. Teams in the past have come into the Premier League – a few spring to mind – and have been very good at attacking games, but have got relegated.”
Robert Snodgrass had already scuffed his shot with only Darren Randolph to beat before Dieumerci Mbokani was presented with the game’s best opportunity in the 21st minute. Aaron Cresswell underhit a blind back pass into the path of Hull’s Congolese striker who intercepted the ball and dinked it over the advancing Randolph. He then watched helplessly as the ball hit the near post, bounced along the line and then out again.
Within three minutes Hull had another chance as Harry Maguire connected forcefully with a Snodgrass corner, forcing Randolph to scramble the ball wide.
Another five minutes later a sweet, smart break ended with Mbokani playing in Sam Clucas, who blazed the ball over the bar.
In the second half the pattern continued. A powerful Andrew Robertson cross was turned on to his own post by Mark Noble’s diving header. Two minutes later Robertson’s 20-yard shot cannoned off the other post. Maguire had another header cleared off the line, Angelo Ogbonna made a last-ditch tackle to deny Clucas and Snodgrass landed a 25-yard curler on the roof of the net.
West Ham did have the ball cleared off the Hull line, André Ayew’s header meeting Robertson’s right boot.
The penalty came in the 76th minute, converted nervelessly by Noble for his second goal in two matches. After that, Hull wilted and West Ham came alive.
Bilic hopes that back-to-back wins will finally ease the mental pressure on his side, who face Swansea next. For Phelan it is a case of hoping that luck will change and that reinforcements will arrive and make the difference in January.
“It’s hard. Even some clubs at the top are wanting that player who will change their fortunes,” Phelan said. “We’re at the other end of the table and have to advertise ourselves to players who have got grit, determination, courage to battle it out. There are players out there who will do that. It’s the Premier League at the end of the day.”
Daily Mail: PLAYER RATINGS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
West Ham (3-4-3): Randolph 7.5; Kouyate 7.5, Reid 7, Ogbonna 7; Antonio 6.5, Noble 7, Obiang 5 (Fernandes 46, 6.5), Cresswell 6.5; Lanzini 5 (Ayew 46, 6.5), Carroll 6.5, Payet 7 (Nordveit 90, 6).
Unused subs: Feghouli, Adrian, Fletcher, Quina.
Booked: Obiang, Noble.
Manager: Bilic 6.
Hull (3-5-2): Marshall 6.5, Maguire 7, Dawson 7, Davies 7; Elmohamady 6.5, Livermore 7 (Henriksen 70, 6.5), Huddlestone 6.5 (Bowen 86, 6), Clucas 7, Robertson 8; Snodgrass 7.5, Mbokani 7 (Diomande 70, 6.5).
Unused subs: Meyler, Maloney, Jakupovic, Weir.
Booked: Livermore, Dawson, Maguire, Henriksen.
Manager: Phelan 7
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire) - 5.5
Man of the match: Robertson