West Ham Keep Unbeaten Record Intact
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 18 Oct 2015 13:57:00
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West Ham United are up to fourth in the table after making their best start to a season for seven years and preserving their unbeaten away record in the process, thanks to a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.

Slaven Bilic made one change to the side that drew at the Stadium of Light a fortnight ago, as Winston Reid was still struggling with his hip injury, so James Collins made his first Premier League start of the season in place of the New Zealander. Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia and Angelo Ogbonna were all named on a strong looking substitutes bench.

The Hammers almost got off to a terrific start inside the first minute but were unable to open the scoring, as Manuel Lanzini played the ball to Dimitri Payet, but he sliced his shot wide of the post.

The Eagles went close just five minutes later, but Jason Puncheon also got his angles wrong and fired wide.

In an action packed opening, it wasn't too long before the Irons tried their luck again when Payet linked up well with Diafra Sakho, but the Mauritian saw his low effort saved by Wayne Hennessey.

West Ham created chance after chance but were unable to make them count. This was the case again on 19 minutes, when Payet's corner was headed wide by James Tomkins.

Despite their domination, it took until the 24th minute for the visitors to go in front, as Victor Moses played a superb ball to Carl Jenkinson, who followed up his goal against Sunderland with a second here as he placed the ball past Hennessey.

Jenkinson turned from hero to villain for the Hammers just a minute later, when he brought down Dwight Gayle. Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded the home side the chance to level matters, as a penalty was given. After Yohan Cabaye was ordered to retake the kick, Adrian got a hand to his effort but it still ended up in the top corner of the net. So, no sooner had Bilic's men gained the advantage, Palace came up with the equaliser.

The away side were close to regaining the advantage just six minutes later, but Sakho saw his effort go past the post after Moses had set him up perfectly.

The Eagles could have gone ahead just two minutes before the break, when Puncheon had the whole goal to aim at but took too much time on the ball, allowing Adrian to make a routine save.

West Ham have seen their fair share of red cards this season but for the second time in successive weeks, they saw their opponents reduced to ten men when Gayle was dismissed after receiving tw o bookings, following a foul on Cheikou Kouyate.

The Hammers had a great chance to go further in front after the fourth official had signalled that two minutes of stoppage time would be added but Sakho couldn't apply the telling touch to Jenkinson's inviting ball.

With that, the half-time whistle blew and there were boos directed towards the referee from the home fans, as the two teams left the pitch.

When the second-half started, it was fair to say that it wasn't quite as eventful as the first. Although Puncheon had a chance for the home side but once again, the effort was wide of the post, there was very little incident to speak of.

West Ham's first change was made on 63 minutes, with the home team down to ten men, Bilic decided to go for broke and add more attacking threat to his side, so he replaced captain Mark Noble with Andy Carroll.

Two minutes later, Jenkinson and Sakho combined well again, as the striker was on the end of the Arsenal loanee's cross, but his effort came back off the post.

The Irons re-established their dominance on 74 minutes, when Lanzini's shot deflected away for a corner.

A minute later, the visitors used the break in play to make their second change, as Mauro Zarate replaced Moses.

Hennessey was called into action on 80 minutes, when he had to block Payet's effort to stop it reaching Carroll.

The visitors made their final change a minute later, as Nikica Jelavic was introduced in place of Sakho.

With the game drawing to a close, the away side doubled their advantage on 88 minutes, when Zarate's cross was headed on by Carroll before the ball eventually fell to Lanzini, who smashed it into the net.

West Ham then made sure of the points when Payet scored the goal of the game as he expertly chipped Hennessey to end the contest with what was the last kick of the encounter.

Bilic's men will try to make it back-to-back wins with another victory over one of the big clubs as Chelsea are  next to visit Upton Park on Saturday afternoon.

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