West Ham edge past Burnley to ease away from bottom

Date published: Wednesday 14th December 2016 9:39 - Michael Graham

Mark Noble: West Ham matchwinner after penalty was missed

Mark Noble struck on the brink of half time to hand West Ham a 1-0 win over Burnley that takes them away from the immediate battle at the bottom.

The Hammers desperately needed three points following a run of six games without a win, and had targeted two home matches against the Clarets and Hull to kickstart their sorry season.

And skipper Noble grabbed the winner in first-half stoppage time with a goal that summed up an unconvincing display, scoring from the rebound after his penalty was saved by Tom Heaton.

Under-pressure boss Slaven Bilic was also grateful to a shocking miss from Burnley striker Sam Vokes and a superb save from Darren Randolph to secure a vital victory.

Burnley could count themselves unfortunate but their dismal away form – they have picked up only a solitary point on the road this season – continued as did their rotten run in London, where they have still never won a Premier League match.

The Clarets sat back in the early stages and let West Ham attack them, which they did, but not with any particular menace.

Manuel Lanzini fired tamely over, Michail Antonio just failed to get on the end of Noble’s chip to the far post and Andy Carroll scooped a shot too high.

West Ham felt they should have had a penalty in the 26th minute when the ball struck Michael Keane’s raised arm from a corner, but referee Bobby Madley thought otherwise.

They were getting closer to a breakthrough, though, and Antonio forced the first save of the night from Heaton with a low drive before Pedro Obiang’s shot clipped the Burnley keeper’s post.

Moments later Noble collected Dimitri Payet’s short corner and curled a stunning effort against the opposite upright.

The pressure was telling and as half-time approached Ben Mee tripped Winston Reid at another corner, with Madley this time pointing to the spot.

Heaton, being watched by England boss Gareth Southgate, kept out Noble’s penalty but the relieved Hammers midfielder was able to knock in the loose ball.

Burnley, with little option but to actually mount an attack or two, almost hauled themselves level after the break but Vokes hooked wide from inside a crowded area and Aaron Cresswell cleared Mee’s header off the line.

Vokes then came up with his miss-of-the-season contender when Scott Arfield’s cross looped into the air, the striker heading over an empty net from all of six yards out.

Then Arfield’s free-kick was curling towards the West Ham net until Randolph flung out a hand to palm it round the post.

Sub Andre Ayew could have calmed West Ham’s nerves only to fire across goal and wide, but Bilic’s side survived five minutes of stoppage time for a much-needed victory.

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