You could hear the huge sigh of relief around Upton Park on Saturday, as West Ham United clinched their first home win since the opening day of the season with a resounding 3-0 victory against Fulham.
An even first half saw both teams battling for their lives but just after the break West Ham went ahead as Mohamed Diame’s deflected effort sent Marteen Stekelenburg the wrong way. Fulham tried to get back into the game but two goals in the final 10 minutes from substitutes Carlton Cole and Joe Cole sealed the win for the Hammers and condemned Fulham to their sixth straight loss in all competitions.
This latest defeat could spark the end of Martin Jol’s time in charge of the Cottagers, as Fulham remain in the drop zone on 10 points and are now three points adrift of safety. West Ham move up to 15th with the win and have 13 points from their 13 game so far.
The Hammers started the game well and put Fulham on the back foot as a raucous home crowd saw their side dominate possession.
Adel Taarabt went on a jinxing run from inside his own half after five minutes and Darren Bent almost got in on goal for the Cottagers who looked content to attack on the break.
West Ham came extremely close to taking the lead after 10 minutes as Mark Noble’s cross found Modibo Maiga who saw his header deflected onto the post and out to safety. Then in the 18th minute another good cross from the right found James Collins unmarked in the six-yard box but the West Ham defender headed wide.
Wave after wave of West Ham attack then piled forward as left-footed winger Stewart Downing cut in from the right and drilled a low shot on target that Stekelenburg saved well. For the rest of the first half a battle ensued as both struggling sides looked to gain an advantage by winning the midfield battle. That resulted in five yellow cards being brandished as passion, commitment and late challenges ruled the rose.
Just before the break came another golden chance for the Hammers as Matt Jarvis found Kevin Nolan with a delightfully chipped pass to the back post and the West Ham skipper swiveled and acrobatically smashed a volley in on goal that Stekelenburg saved.
After the break it took just over a minute for West Ham to take a 1-0 lead as Diame scored his first goal since April as his effort on goal was horribly deflected by Fernando Amorebieta and into the back of Fulham’s net. Those are the type of things that happen to you when you’re down the bottom as Jol’s side will bemoan their bad luck.
But that goal sparked Fulham into life and Patjim Kasami almost got in around the back after Bent’s knock down found the Macedonian who spurned the chance to put the Cottagers level.
West Ham had a good chance to make it 2-0 but Downing smashed his effort instead of going for placement and a barrage of corners midway through the second half saw the home side push for an all-important second goal. But Fulham almost caught the home side napping as a sloppy giveaway allowed Kasami to send a snapshot towards goal which flew inches past Jussi Jasskelainen’s left post.
Two late goals sealed the win as Sam Allardyce’s substitutes worked their magic as the two Cole’s both grabbed a goal.
In the 82nd minute Carlton Cole stabbed in at the back post after Downing’s great cross after the big striker had only been on the pitch for 55 seconds. Cole’s fellow sub, Joe Cole, then finished off the scoring as he tucked away the Hammers third goal following great work from another second half sub Ravel Morrison.
West Ham had only scored nine goals all season before this match but banged in three when it mattered to condemn the Cottagers to yet another demoralizing defeat.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Nolan (Morrison, 77), Tomkins, Jarvis (Jarvis, 68), Maiga (Cole, 81), Noble, Collins, Demel, Diame, Downing
Goals: Diame (46), C. Cole (82), J. Cole (86)
Fulham: Stekelenburg; Zverotic, Hughes, Amorebieta, Richardson (Dembele, 83); Duff (Ruiz, 65), Sidwell (Karagounis, 78), Parker, Kasami; Taarabt; Bent