LONDON (AFP) – Diafra Sakho scored his fifth goal in as many games as West Ham rose into seventh place in the Premier League after a 2-0 win at home to bottom-of-the-table Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.
Nedum Onuoha’s early own-goal put the Hammers in front before Sakho’s header just short of the hour mark left London rivals QPR still searching for their first away point this season and ensured there was no happy return to Upton Park for former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp as well as ex-Irons players Rio Ferdinand and Rob Green.
Defeat left QPR with just four points from their opening seven league points heading into the international break while, by contrast, Sam Allardyce’s Hammers were level on points with Arsenal and Liverpool.
This result would have pleased both West Ham’s fans, keen to see the club revert to its traditional brand of attacking football after repeatedly dour displays last season and Allardyce, who oversaw the club’s first clean sheet of the current campaign.
“In the end we were very composed apart from a period of 10 minutes in the second half where they changed their system,” said Allardyce.
“If I had a criticism it would be not pushing them enough in the final third, but ultimately that would be greedy on the basis that we won 2-0 and got our first clean sheet.
“That is what I have been striving for from the boys, so it’s the perfect result for us.”
Meanwhile Redknapp added: “We wanted to get into the game and silence the crowd and then we go and concede the goal.
“Someone said it was handball, I haven’t seen the replay so I don’t know but it was the worst possible start, and then they up their game and it becomes more difficult.
“With all the teams I have had, you can look and more or less tell who is going to score and how many. We lost a goalscorer when Loic Remy left, we lost 16 goals in my opinion there, so we need midfielders to score goals, we need Charlie (Austin) to weigh in with 16 for us but also from elsewhere.”
Onuoha endured a wretched beginning to his first league start of the season by turning a Stewart Downing corner into his own net in the fifth minute.
It took 24 minutes for QPR to create their first clear chance but striker Austin’s side-foot finish was easily saved by Hammers keeper Adrian.
Half-time changes revived QPR but they were deflated when Senegal striker Sakho nodded in following a well-judged hooked ball into the box from James Tomkins.
Rangers keeper Green then rolled a free-kick straight to Enner Valencia, who promptly rolled into the net. However, the ‘goal’ was correctly disallowed as Valenica had been lingering in the box when the kick was taken.
Hammers substitute Kevin Nolan nearly made it 3-0 but was unable to beat Green following Downing’s pull-back.