West Ham United ended a run of four consecutive defeats with a win last night Hull City. The game changed after 23 minutes, when Hull City goalkeeper Allan McGregor was sent off for bringing down Mohamed Diame.
The penalty was converted by Mark Noble and put the Hammers in the lead. There was contention surrounded the penalty award however, as replays seemed to show Diame handling the ball before the penalty was awarded.
The Hammers were then pegged back after a Nikica Jelavic deflection levelled the score, as the 10-men of Hull fought their way back into the match.
Any hopes of building on that success were soon dashed though by a Ben Chester own goal, giving West Ham a win that essentially secures their Premier League and moves Hull further into the relegation battle.
The result wasn't received well by the West Ham fans however, who booed their side off the pitch after the final whistle, causing manager Sam Allardyce to cup his hand to his ear, almost bemused by the reaction that his team had received.
It was the culmination of an evening of frustration as despite playing a great deal of the game with a man more than their opponents, they were only able to scrape a 2-1 win. The side were under pressure for the last 10 minutes of the game as Hull threw caution to the wind and pressed on to attempt a draw.
The fans appeared irritated all evening with the way their side played, as often square passes were ignored for longer balls forward in the direction of Andy Carroll. It appeared that a more fluent style was being demanded by the fans and possibly highlights a contradiction between the desires of the club and the fans.
Allardyce told the BBC: "I've never been booed after winning in 25 years" adding "I had to make sure they kept focus on the field" stating that the team had been shaken by the crowd getting on the back of the players during the first half.
It highlights the desire not to lose Premier League status, perhaps at the cost of footballing style, as a win at any cost system is employed by teams scared of relegation. Whilst for other bottom half teams, that may suffice, West Ham fans have made their perspective clear, refusing to accept anything less than a more entertaining footballing style.
Allardyce has fulfilled his goal of winning a massive match, but moving forward into another crunch clash with Sunderland on Monday night it will be interesting to see if they adopt any change in style of tactics to appease disgruntled fans.
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