x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

West Ham the latest to taste Hull defeat

Michael Turner emerges as the latest hero of Hull's remarkable ascent as his header at the KC Stadium proved enough to inflict more capital carnage.

West Ham's Valon Behrami, centre, deals with the attentions of two Hull City players.
West Ham's Valon Behrami, centre, deals with the attentions of two Hull City players.

The Londoner Michael Turner emerged as the latest hero of Hull's remarkable ascent as his 51st-minute header at the KC Stadium proved enough to inflict more capital carnage. Following stunning wins at Arsenal and Tottenham, the Lewisham-born Turner struck to sink Gianfranco Zola's ailing West Ham and send the Tigers roaring back up to third place. Confidence oozing from every pore, the home side deserved their latest win for their attacking intent and Phil Brown's men looked dangerous on the counter-attack right up to the final whistle. The optimism and belief surging through the home side is in stark contrast to the Hammers, who were left to rue two Carlton Cole misses but summoned little by way of their quest for an equaliser. Cole hit a simple first-half effort straight at the Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill when he should have scored, then hit an even easier chance against the underside of the bar moments after the restart from Turner's goal. A recent defeat to Bolton, plus fresh financial concerns, had hardly sent the Hammers bounding north in the best of moods, but boss Zola had the bonus of handing Craig Bellamy his first league start of the season. The Welshman had his moments in the opening period but the Hammers laboured early and the home side started brightly, exuding the confidence which had swept them to such lofty heights. Daniel Cousin posed a constant danger down the right flank while Marlon King, returning from the back injury which ruled him out of midweek international duty, saw a low shot grasped by the Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green. Herita Ilunga could consider himself unfortunate for being penalised by the referee Chris Foy after charging down an attempted Myhill goal-kick, and overhead-kicking the loose ball into the net. Dean Marney volleyed just wide from King's cross but the Hammers continued to get into the game and Ilunga came even closer when he headed Scott Parker's corner just the wrong side of the post from point-blank range. The visitors were starting to enjoy far more possession in dangerous areas with Bellamy's low cross almost catching out a hesitant Hull defence, and Valon Behrami firing wide from long range. The already-booked Ilunga looked lucky to escape a second yellow card after scything down Marney on the Tigers right as the lively action continued with goals still looking likely. The opener almost came from Bellamy, who blazed high and wide from a tight angle after Cole's clever knock-down in first-half injury time. But in the end it came for the home side six minutes into the second half, when Turner outjumped Matthew Upson to head home the impressive Andy Dawson's corner from the right. The Hammers had a golden chance to equalise two minutes later when Valon Behrami got around the back of the Hull defence and set up Cole on the edge of the six-yard box, but the striker scythed his shot against the underside of the bar. Having survived that scare, the home side grew in confidence and Kamil Zayette came close in the 56th minute when he steamrollered out of defence before lashing a long-range effort just over the bar. The home side were continuing to knock the ball around with aplomb, although Cole remained a threat and his cross in the 68th minute resulted in Matthew Etherington volleying into the side-netting from a tight angle. Zola's men were left looking short of ideas and summoned little by way of threat in the closing stages, with the home side hanging on with ease to claim their fifth top flight victory.

*PA Sport