Sunday 21 January 2018

Hammers victory buys Zola time

West Ham's new owners were handed a timely reminder that Gianfranco Zola has all the credentials to lead the club to safety as they despatched Birmingham at Upton Park.

A goal in each half from Alessandro Diamanti and Carlton Cole earned West Ham their first victory under the new regime.

It was made all the more sweet for new owners David Gold and David Sullivan by the fact it was achieved at the expense of the club they used to own.

West Ham were in a determined mood from the start with new signing Mido showing some nice touches on his full debut.

In an evenly fought first half West Ham snatched the lead in the second minute of injury-time. City's Scott Dann was booked for a foul on Scott Parker on the edge of the penalty area and West Ham made them pay when Diamanti sent the free-kick over the wall and into the top corner.

Diamanti, buoyed by his goal, then tried his luck with a volley early in the second half, but there was little power behind the shot and Joe Hart easily dealt with it .

West Ham, looking to bounce back from defeat at Burnley at the weekend, continued to dominate.

City responded by removing Keith Fahey and introducing Jam-es McFadden. But the home side went 2-0 in front on 67 minutes when Julien Faubert's right-wing cross was met by a diving header from Cole that went in off the far post to all but end the game.

Irish Independent

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