West Ham beat Hull 3-0 to reignite top four challenge

Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:19am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - European hopefuls West Ham United moved closer to the Champions League places on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over relegation-threatened Hull City at Upton Park.

The result sent the Hammers up to seventh with 36 points from 22 games, just four behind fourth-placed Manchester United.

After the visitors had battled manfully in the opening period, in-form Andy Carroll opened the scoring for West Ham with a simple finish in the 49th minute.

Substitute Morgan Amalfitano and the impressive Stuart Downing then applied neat finishes within three minutes of each other as West Ham reignited their top-four challenge with a first league victory since Dec. 20.

West Ham have more points at this stage of a Premier League campaign than ever before while Hull are 18th, level with Queens Park Rangers and just two points above bottom-of-the-table Leicester City.

"Today we deserved it," Carroll told Sky Sports. "Obviously the first half wasn't a great performance from us but we came out in the second half and got the early goal and created a lot more chances."

After four Premier League games without a win for West Ham, the visit of goal-shy Hull provided an ideal opportunity to reignite their season. It was the visitors, however, who made the better start.

With several first-choice forwards injured, diminutive Nigeria international Sone Aluko was tasked with leading Hull's attack and his pace and skill should have yielded an early goal.

He ghosted through the West Ham defense twice in the opening five minutes before a clever cut-back was scuffed wide by Ahmed Elmohamady in the sixth.   Continued...

West Ham United's Morgan Amalfitano (2nd L) shoots to score a goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Hull City at Upton Park in London January 18, 2015.    REUTERS/Eddie Keogh