SOCCER

West Ham make it three wins in a row to continue surge up the table

Cardiff City held at home to Aston Villa while Southampton jump to eighth

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 10:27am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 10:27am

West Ham United again showed they can win without suspended striker Andy Carroll as they beat Norwich City 2-0 to ease their relegation fears with a third successive victory and fourth straight clean sheet.

Second-bottom Cardiff City missed the chance to move out of the drop zone when they were held 0-0 at home to Aston Villa while Southampton jumped to eighth with a 1-0 win at Hull City.

West Ham and Norwich had identical records coming into their clash but the momentum of recent results was with the Hammers.

Their third straight win came courtesy of two late goals, with James Collins giving them the lead after 84 minutes when he beat Norwich keeper John Ruddy to a Mohamed Diame cross and flicked a header home.

Diame made the game safe in added time, latching on to a clearance, running the length of the pitch and dispatching the ball into the net with the help of a deflection.

West Ham, whose defence was the butt of jokes following some heavy defeats in January, have now kept four clean sheets in the league for the first time since 1985.

“I had the chairman ringing me up to say we had not won under lights this season or last and that was in my mind,” manager Sam Allardyce said.

“Our goalkeeper kept us in the game and we scored late, when it is hard for anybody to come back into it. It’s a great end to an important run of fixtures.”

Southampton  extended their unbeaten run to six matches.

A 69th-minute goal by Jose Fonte was enough to give the visitors the points  and leave Hull’s Steve Bruce to wait a little longer for his 100th win in the  Premier League as a manager.

Victory saw Mauricio Pochettino’s attractive and talented side move above  Newcastle – who host Spurs on Wednesday – and to within two points of  seventh-placed Manchester United, who are away at Arsenal on Wednesday.

Defeat halted Hull’s mini-revival and leaves them four points above the  relegation zone. 

Cardiff City remain rooted in  the relegation zone after failing to make ground on the teams  above them.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side would have been in the bottom three on goal  difference alone had they prevailed at the Cardiff City Stadium, but despite  twice hitting the woodwork, they had to settle for a draw.

Villa might have snatched victory at the death, but Cardiff goalkeeper  David Marshall displayed stunning reactions to thwart visiting substitute  Andreas Weimann in injury time.

The point left Cardiff second from bottom, two points from safety, while  Paul Lambert’s Villa climbed one place to 11th.