For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below.
Kevin Nolan scored twice to move 10-man West Ham United out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Swansea City.
The West Ham captain's first-half double earned the points for Sam Allardyce's side, who played the final half an hour a man down after Andy Carroll marked his first home top-flight start of the season with a straight red card after a challenge on Chico Flores.
Carroll assisted both Nolan goals with knock-downs, but his game was cut short when referee Howard Webb dismissed him after an aerial challenge with Flores resulted in his flailing arm clipping the Spaniard's head. However, despite that setback, West Ham stood firm in the face of continued Swansea pressure to record just their third league win of the season at Upton Park and go above Stoke City on goal difference ahead of their game against Manchester United.
Both clubs were active in the January transfer window, but all three new signings named in their squads on Saturday started on the bench. Italian duo Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino were among West Ham's substitutes, while Swansea manager Michael Laudrup kept David N'Gog in reserve.
The hosts started the brighter, and had the first chance of the game when Carroll headed Matt Jarvis's cross wide after six minutes. Allardyce's men continued probing, and deservedly took the lead through Nolan's well-taken 27th-minute strike.The captain still had plenty to do after the unmarked Carroll nodded down Matt Taylor's delivery, but he took a touch before volleying home from just inside the area with his left foot.
Swansea responded well to going behind, but failed to test home goalkeeper Adrian and were made to pay on the stroke of half-time as West Ham's tried-and-trusted method of Nolan feeding off Carroll's knockdowns bore fruit again. More loose marking from Swansea was punished, as they again failed to pick up Carroll, who nodded Stewart Downing’s corner back across goal for Nolan to divert a close-range header beyond Gerhard Tremmel.
The home side picked up where they left off after the interval, and Jarvis rounded Tremmel before seeing his cross hacked clear by Ben Davies.
Carroll’s dismissal altered the pattern of the game with Swansea inevitably pushing forward but they struggled to test Adrian in the West Ham goal. Despite their territorial dominance, Laudrup's side, who are winless in six league matches away from home, struggled in attack, with Wilfried Bony spurning their only real chance by volleying over the bar 10 minutes from time.
West Ham, who introduced Nocerino for match-winner Nolan in the closing stages, were able to hold on relatively comfortably to record their 11th Barclays Premier League clean sheet of the campaign, the most shutouts in the division.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "That was another example of that sort of resilience, which we also showed at Chelsea and at Cardiff, when we also went down to ten men but managed to turn a 1-0 advantage into a 2-0 win.
"As disappointed as I was about Andy being sent-off, it was a magnificent effort by the players to continue on to the end of the game and not allow Swansea City to produce a single shot on target.
"It was pretty miraculous, having to defend with ten men in the Barclays Premier League for so long, so full marks to everybody. The fans will have gone home very happy and feeling slightly less tension after a 2-0 win.
"We will be appealing the red card."
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup: “We really struggled with them physically, especially with Andy Carroll. We knew their game would be very direct from West Ham’s point of view, exactly the same as a year ago.
“We struggled in the first-half, but it’s still disappointing that the first goal came from exactly the type of situation we have been analysing. We knew there would be a lot of crosses into the box, and for the first goal, there was a long cross and Andy Carroll headed backwards for Nolan.
“The second goal is also disappointing because of the moment when it came. Already this season, we have conceded goals in injury time, both in the first and second halves.
“At 2-0 down, I knew it would be difficult because West Ham would close down with nine or ten men inside, or on the edge, of the box. When Carroll got sent off, we had a lot of possession but no big, big chances. We have to admit that.”
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|31 Mar 2014||v Sunderland (A)|
|19 Apr 2014||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|03 May 2014||v Spurs (H)|
|26 Apr 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|22 Mar 2014||v Man Utd (H)|