AT UPTON PARK
WEST HAM UNITED 3 SWANSEA CITY 1
WEST Ham boss Sam Allardyce praised Andy Carroll’s old fashioned centre forward qualities after he scored twice to lift the Hammers to third in the Premier League and brush aside 10-man Swansea yesterday.
Carroll’s double fired the hosts into the lead following Wilfried Bony’s opener while the 25-year-old also laid on a third for the returning Diafra Sakho after the dismissal of Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Victory was West Ham’s third in a row and while their stay in third will be shortlived, with either Southampton and Manchester United certain to usurp them after tonight’s fixture at St Mary’s, Allardyce insists the Hammers are being rewarded for reviving a dying art.
“We’ve scored more goals with our head than anybody else because of the quality of our ball in the final third and the quality of our players with the technical heading ability that’s good enough to score goals,” said Allardyce.
“That’s got lost in the game somewhat today. People don’t seem to talk about how good a technical ability it is to meet a ball that’s in the air, at the right time and to guide it in the right place to put it in the back of the net.
“When Andy's [Carroll] scored two at the end of it you have to say yes [it is his best game for the club]. His movement and our quality of balls into the box is excellent now.”
Allardyce last week revealed he spurned the opportunity to sign Bony, instead opting for £15m man Carroll, making it inevitable the powerful Ivory Coast striker would have an impact on proceedings.
The former Vitesse hitman duly obliged as Swansea opened the scoring from their first meaningful attack on 19 minutes, Gylfi Sigurdsson feeding the overlapping Jefferson Montero who located Bony to sidefoot past Adrian for his 19th goal of 2014.
But his contribution was not definitive and Carroll levelled four minutes before the break, arching his run to meet a deep cross from adventurous full-back Carl Jenkinson and plant a firm header across goal and into Fabianski’s top corner.
Bony clipped the top of the hosts’ crossbar after a slick counter-attack on the hour mark before the Hammers surged ahead when Carroll leaped to head home a Downing corner from the penalty spot.
Former Arsenal stopper Fabianski was sent off for hauling down substitute Sakho, while the Senegal forward – back after three games out injured – struck the outside of replacement Gerhard Tremmel’s post.
But Sakho did not have long to wait for his eighth strike of a prolific debut season at Upton Park, latching onto Carroll’s flick, poking the ball beyond covering Swansea full-back Jazz Richards and thundering a volley beyond Tremmel.