Hammers Deepen Foxes Plight
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 21 Dec 2014 12:17:00
Browse all Match Reports articles
West Ham United continued their unbeaten run with a 2-0 win against the Barclays Premier League's bottom club Leicester City at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon.

No fresh injury concerns meant Sam Allardyce was able to name an unchanged side from the 1-1 draw against Sunderland last weekend.

Both sides were having good spells of pressure in the opening stages of the match but the home side had more of the cutting-edge but weren't able to apply the finishing touch to any of their early chances.

On 23 minutes, Andy Carroll missed a sitter after being set up well by Stewart Downing. The visitors then got a sight of goal but Esteban Cambiasso had his effort blocked by Winston Reid. The hosts went on the counter-attack and with a little help from former Hammer Paul Konchesky, the home fans were treated to a Christmas Carroll, as the striker pounced on the loose ball and looped over the advancing Ben Hamer to score his third home goal in two games.

Another poor backpass, this time from Foxes' captain Wes Morgan, left Hamer in trouble again but the home side could not benefit and the visitors were saved from going further behind in a short space of time.

Nigel Pearson's side tested Adrian on 34 minutes, when Riyad Mahrez tried his luck, but thankfully for the East Londoners the Spaniard made a great save.

Two minutes of added time were signalled at the end of the first-half and the Irons were still in front as they headed down the tunnel and into the dressing room.

West Ham started the second-half with renewed vigour but although a chance fell their way in the early minutes, they were unable to take advantage.

On 56 minutes, great play from Diafra Sakho and Downing resulted in the midfielder claiming his second goal inside a week as he produced a stunning left foot shot into the corner of Hamer's net.

Thirteen minutes after Leicester had gambled to try and salvage something from the game by making a triple change, Big Sam made one of his own; James Tomkins appeared to pick up an injury and was swiftly replaced by James Collins.

A minute later, club captain Kevin Nolan was a whisker away from his 100th career goal as he latched onto a ball from Carroll but couldn't squeeze the ball home. Then, as the play switched to the other end of the pitch, David Nugent was allowed to run past Collins and found his way into the box before shooting high and wide.

Carroll was a constant menace and on 75 minutes, he turned inside Wes Morgan and tried to relief Sakho but Hamer was out quickly and averted any danger. That turned out to be the last action of Sakho's afternoon, as four minutes later he was the victim of another West Ham change as Enner Valencia came on to replace him.

With four minutes of normal time still to play, Adrian made a superb save as Leicester broke and Nugent was the recipient of a cross from the left wing.

Two further minutes had passed and the home side decided to make their final change as Allardyce sent on Morgan Amalfitano in place of Nolan.

Just after three minutes of stoppage time had been signalled, Adrian saved spectacularly again as he dived to his left to keep out Leonardo Ulloa's header.

That was the final action of the game and with Chelsea and Arsenal next on the horizon the Hammers had picked up a vital three points.

The home side are still in fourth place and currently looking good for a European place. Could they possibly build on last season's draw at Stamford Bridge when they go there on Boxing Day for the lunchtime kick-off?

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