Reading boss Brian McDermott reckons the club's new 'substance over style' mantra has led to a turnaround in their fortunes.
Pavel Pogrebnyak's fifth-minute goal was enough for the Royals to record their second Premier League win of the season and McDermott's side have now conceded just one goal in their last three outings.
Reading were the side to watch for goals before their recent defensive resurgence, with the Madejski Stadium seeing an average of five goals a game before the goalless St Stephen's Day draw with Swansea.
McDermott said his ethos is to always entertain Reading's supporters but collecting points was much more important in the long run. "We tried to play a style of football here which entertains our fans," he said. "But 4-3s, 3-3s, 2-2s, 7-5s; if the results are going against you that is not what the fans want to see and they start shouting at me.
"So today they got a result, our fans got a result and that is what they want to see and we have something to build on."
The win takes Reading five points behind 17th-placed Aston Villa. Pogrebnyak struck his third league goal for Reading following a mistake from West Ham's James Collins as the defender looked to play a simple ball back to goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, only for Pogrebnyak to steal in to slot past the Finn and put Reading ahead early on.
The defeat leaves West Ham six points above the relegation zone with Allardyce now looking over his shoulder.
"We're beginning to look down now for the first time this season," Allardyce said. "All of a sudden now, we're looking a bit cautious and we don't want to get dragged in if we can help it."