West Ham 3-1 Fulham: Former Hammers Play Role in Victory

Jacob NitzbergAnalyst IJanuary 19, 2009

West Ham United have made it five consecutive matches with at least a point with a 3-1 victory over Fulham at Upton Park on Sunday. The Hammers have now won three of their last four Premier League matches and have skyrocketed to eighth in the table on 29 points.

West Ham were without one notable face, as striker Craig Bellamy was not in the squad after skipping training and refusing to play after he was denied permission to speak to Tottenham about a potential transfer. 

It had been reported earlier in the week that the East London club had rejected bids from both the Spurs and Manchester City for the Welsh International, who apparently wants out of West Ham.

The Hammers didn't need Bellamy on Sunday, as their two starting strikers, Carlton Cole and David di Michele were a part of all three of the goals.  Also playing a big role were former Hammers John Pantsil and Paul Konchesky.

In the seventh minute, Pantsil attempted to play a ball off his chest in his own box to keeper Mark Schwarzer, but Bellamy's replacement David Di Michele swooped in and intercepted the poorly played ball and tucked it into the back of the net.

On the half-hour, Konchesky equalized with a blistering 30-yard strike, which was his first goal since the 2006 FA Cup Final, when he played for West Ham against Liverpool. 

Konchesky's happiness was short-lived, however, as in the 59th minute he brought down Carlton Cole in the box with a poor challenge.

Mark Noble took the kick from the spot and calmly placed it past Schwarzer to give the Hammers back the lead.  After missing a shot, Cole was finally rewarded with a goal after sloppy play in midfield from Fulham gave the ball to Di Michele who found Cole in the box for an easy finish, his fifth in his last five games.

In their five-match unbeaten run, West Ham has scored two or more goals in each match. This comes on the heels of a 10-match stretch where the Hammers had one goal or less, which coincidentally started directly after their 2-1 win over Fulham in September.

If the Irons can keep up this goal scoring pace, with or without Bellamy, their opponents will be hard pressed to take more than one point from them, as the defense and goalkeeping have been phenomenal of late. West Ham trail seventh place Wigan by just two points, but remain just eight points clear of the relegation zone, where five teams are level on 21 points.

Next up for West Ham, a trip to League One side Hartlepool for the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.