It felt like it was going to be a moment that summed up West Ham's tragicomic season. They were coasting at 2-0 up in the second half, were on their way to their first victory at Upton Park since 30 November and one of football's great bromances had been reunited, Andy Carroll creating two goals for Kevin Nolan. Things were looking up for once.
Few clubs have as great a capacity for self-destruction as West Ham, though, and when Carroll ruined all his earlier good work after being sent off following a clash with Swansea's Chico Flores, who will not be collecting any awards for his acting skills, three crucial points were in danger of being thrown away. Not this time, though. Instead, in the face of relentless pressure from Swansea City, West Ham dug in and clung on for a vital win in their battle against relegation.
For much of the first 25 minutes, West Ham carried all the threat of a penny farthing but their opener after 27 minutes had a reassuringly familiar feel to it, a sense that everything was going to be fine after all, because Carroll and Nolan were back together again. George McCartney ran down the left and lifted a cross towards Carroll, who headed down for Nolan to control with his chest and then hammer a left-foot volley into the bottom left corner from 15 yards. It was the kind of chance that Nolan, whose focus has been restored after recently serving a four-match suspension for a red card at Fulham on New Year's Day, has been missing all season.
West Ham doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time. Stewart Downing's corner was met at the back post by Carroll, who headed it back and Nolan finished from three yards out. It sounds simple and it was.
After Carroll saw red, the 10 men's indignation eventually saw them over the line.