In the heat of the Carlos Tevez saga, West Ham travelled to London rivals Fulham looking for a first away win in 8 Premier League games and got it...just. It wouldn't be West Ham if we didn't scrape through against 10 men would it?
First half was all Fulham really, they used the ball better and had a few decent chances yet against the run of play West Ham took the lead, Carlon Cole tapping in after Schwarzer parried Etherington's low cross straight to him. Fulham will wonder what went wrong in the last 5 minutes of the first half as Noble put through Etherington who scored his 2nd goal of the season. Then Andy Johnson got sent off for a second yellow after getting a little too physical with Lucus Neill. Roy Hodgson must have been scratching his head wandering what he did wrong, you did nothing wrong Roy trust me, your team let you down.
2nd Half was more comfortable for West Ham until Fulham managed to get a corner and then a Penalty as Neill blocked the ball with his arm. Murphy put it straight in the corner, 2-1. Fulham actually put pressure on West Ham, a minute later Gera should have headed them level but the ball just went over him and not long afterwards, Zamora should have done the same thing as he managed to brush the header inches wide. After theintroduction of Mullins, WestHam looked more comfortable and with Bellamy back from injury, West Hm had a great chance to play off the counter, Bellamy had a shot blocked well by Hangaland before tapping the rebound over, much to the disgust of Cole in space to his right. But Cole got his chance, Noble played him in and a shot headign to the corner was well blocked by Hughes. West Ham had a nervous ending with Bullard having 2 free-kicks but both of them were straight into the West ham wall and gave Zola his 2nd West Ham win.
For West Ham only:
Green - 6 - Not given anything to deal with really but still saw himself having to step up against a Penalty after we conceded our 3rd of the season!
Behrami - 5 - He put himself about a bit and got frustrated when some of his tackles went against him. I didn't see that much of the first half but he was caught out of position more than once.
Neill - 6 - Unlucky to give away a penalty I felt, ball just flew straight at his arm. Better than he was against Newcastle.
Upson - 7 - Zamora looked to trouble him but he was solid all day exception of the time the Z-man got free from a Bulard free-kick.
Ilunga - 7 - I was impressed by him today, first time I really saw him in a West Ham shirt and Fulham had little luck down his side apart from a few corners.
Faubert - 6 - Good passing and use of the ball by Faubert though to be honest, I wasn't convinced by the Behrami-Faubert partnership down the right.
Parker - 7 - Again, another excellent game all round exception of a few silly tackles where he was booked and he could have let them score late from a free-kick. But his energy and drive outshone that, though to be fair he had a great deal more space in the 2nd half.
Noble - 7 - He can make some cracking passes, the one that set up Etherington and another looking for Faubert and ettled on the left when Ethers went off. Well played today, better than on Tuesday.
Etherington - 8 - Second half he was quiet for the majority of it but his contribution in the 1st half was a match winning one, got down the left to the by-line and crossed for the first, then ran through the middle and finished for the second.
Di Mechele - 5 - Very quiet match for me, didn't use the ball well or trouble the keeper. I can see bellamy taking his place for the Bolton game.
Cole - 9 - Our star man today, his work rate, hold up play and strengh was top notch. When he lost the ball, he ran and got it back and when he got the ball, he held it up well. He was full of confidence, had a few decnt shots - though they didn't test the keeper, if Aaron Hughes hadn't been there he may have got another. His goal was about being in the right place at the right time, which he fully deserved.
Bellamy (Di Mechele) - 6 - Lively 10-15 minutes. Got the ball in space and broke with pace, but sometimes he chose the wrong option. When he got into a shooting position, he should have killed the game on the rebound. Good to see him back though, lets see h im start against Bolton next weekend.
Mullins (Etherington) - 7 - Came on and shut the game out, I am really glad we have him because they looked like coming bck before he arrived.
Boa Morte (Parker) - Only touched the ball a few times so I can't rate that...