Thursday 25 December 2014

Diame lands knockout blow for Hammers

West Ham 2 Norwich 0

Published 12/02/2014 | 02:30

West Ham United's Marco Borriello (left) and Norwich City's Sebastien (right) during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.
West Ham United's Marco Borriello (left) and Norwich City's Sebastien (right)
West Ham United's James Tomkins (L) challenges Norwich City's Joseph Yobo
West Ham United's Mark Noble (left)and Norwich City's Gary Hooper battle for the ball
Norwich City's goalkeeper John Ruddy saves at the feet of Manchester City's Gonzalez Jesus Navas
Norwich City's Bradley Johnson dejected after West Ham United score their second goal

Lennox Lewis revealed he had given West Ham a pre-match prep talk ahead of their clash with fellow Premier League strugglers Norwich – and it was James Collins and Mohamed Diame who delivered the late knockout blows that settled this contest.

The Canaries would have won the tentative battle on points after creating most of the better openings in the game, but Collins arrived just in time to head home an 84th-minute chance – with Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy culpable of coming to collect the delivery and getting caught out.

With the visitors chasing a late equaliser they were then exposed at the back, allowing second-half substitute Diame to wrap up the win late in stoppage-time.

Former undisputed world heavyweight champion and Hammers fan Lewis was paraded to the supporters before the game, with both sides then sparring for the majority of the 90 minutes as not losing the game became paramount to their respective survival bids.

TROUBLE

It was Norwich, and striker Gary Hooper, who passed up a number of gilt-edged chances to secure the three points, with Hammers goalkeeper Adrian again in top form.

Robert Snodgrass and Alex Tettey also found the Spaniard in the way as they looked to secure a third away league win of the campaign, with West Ham rarely able to trouble Ruddy in the Canaries' goal.

Sam Allardyce's side were lacking the spearhead of Andy Carroll and only Diame truly tested Ruddy before the 'keeper went missing for Collins' late show.

The win takes West Ham up to 10th in the table.

West Ham, on the ropes for much of the contest, then came out fighting at the death as a short free-kick to Diame was crossed towards Collins and, with Ruddy rushing out and getting nowhere near the ball, the Wales defender steered the ball home to put West Ham ahead.

As Chris Hughton's side searched in vain for a dramatic, and deserved, equaliser, Diame was freed into a barren Norwich half and turned the ball home courtesy of a heavy deflection to send the home fans into raptures at the final whistle.

Irish Independent

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