Breathing space for Bilic as West Ham get up and running
Lady luck played a key role as huge deflection led to vital breakthrough goal
West Ham United’s Andre Ayew scores their second goal in the Premier League game against Huddersfield Town at London Stadium. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters
West Ham 2 Huddersfield Town 0
Slaven Bilic got the birthday present he so desperately needed as West Ham hauled themselves off the foot of the Premier League table with a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield.
Second-half goals from Pedro Obiang – thanks to a huge deflection – and Andre Ayew secured West Ham’s first league win of the season.
Victory came as a huge relief to manager Bilic, who must have feared he might go the same way as Frank de Boer at Crystal Palace had his side lost their fourth straight game.
Instead it was a happy homecoming for the Hammers, playing their first game of the season at the London Stadium, and a happy 49th birthday for the boss.
Andy Carroll returned from his latest injury lay-off to make his first appearance since April.
Bilic had said in the build-up his side needed to go back to basics and they certainly did that, aiming for the big frontman at almost every opportunity.
Nevertheless, Carroll gave the crowd an immediate lift after 60 seconds when he drove the ball across goal to the far post, where Cheikhou Kouyate just failed to get a touch.
West Ham should have gone ahead when Michail Antonio darted past Chris Lowe and crossed low to Javier Hernandez, but the Mexican lifted his shot onto the crossbar.
It took Huddersfield, until the 54th minute before they managed a shot on target, Joe Hart getting down well to hold Philip Billing’s low drive.
And the nerves were beginning to jangle for the hosts when, in the 72nd minute, they got a huge slice of luck. Obiang picked up the ball 25 yards out and hit a speculative, to say the least, shot towards goal.
Town ’keeper Jonas Lossl would almost certainly have had it covered until it looped off the back of Mathias Jorgensen and crept inside a post.
Five minutes later substitute Ayew, on in place of Hernandez, snaffled the second from a goalmouth scramble.
Tom Ince rattled the crossbar late on for Town, but West Ham held out for a vital win.