West Ham won their first game since October and pulled themselves away from the relegation zone with a spirited but nervy 1-0 victory over Burnley.
Mark Noble followed up his saved spot kick to slam home with the last action of the first half. The penalty was rightly given after Ben Mee had hauled down Winston Reid, although Burnley manager Sean Dyche later complained that a foul should have been given the other way, saying that keeper Tom Heaton had been fouled in an incident leading to the spot kick.
The late goal was no more than the Hammers deserved, however, after a first half in which the visitors didn't get a shot on target. Burnley fought well and the Hammers were pegged back but survived due to a finger tip save from Darren Randolph and an open-goal miss from Sam Vokes. Earlier, the same player had come close with a clever flick as Burnley harassed the home side. Ultimately though, West Ham were resolute enough at the back and Burnley a little too short up front to turn the game around.
Slaven Bilic will now hope the extra confidence from the win can be used again on Saturday as the Hammers face relegation strugglers Hull City at the London Stadium.
Three points is enough of a positive, but there was much in the performance against Burnley to suggest a semblance of form is returning.
After a good first half for the Hammers, Burnley came back strongly in the second and only some woeful finishing and superb goalkeeping denied the Clarets a draw. Bilic's men need to be sharper up front.
Manager rating out of 10:
6 - It seems criticism of his summer buys has sunk in with the manager and after returning to the players who performed so well last season, Bilic is starting to see some benefits. His postmatch comments about his team being "afraid to win" suggest he is getting to the bottom of the confidence problem and things will turn round shortly.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Darren Randolph, 8 -- Looked commanding throughout and the stretch save in the second half from Scott Arfield's fiercely struck free kick was sublime. There is still the odd mistake, but Randolph looks the No. 1 now and he can only improve as the defence in front of him does.
DF Cheikhou Kouyate, 6 -- Back from injury and his commanding presence helped at the back.
DF Winston Reid, 7 -- Another outstanding display of resilience.
DF Angelo Ogbonna, 6 -- Happy to throw his body in front of shots and worked hard when under pressure in the second half.
DF Aaron Cresswell, 6 -- Another strong outing from the left-back in both defence and attack.
MF Mark Noble, 7 -- His penalty wasn't struck well but there was enough in the shot to allow the ball to squirm away from Heaton in the Burnley goal, with the captain alert and following up well. Some excellent passing in a good evening's work.
MF Pedro Obiang, 7 -- Hit the post with a wonderful 20-yard shot just before the penalty that eventually won the game for West Ham.
MF Michail Antonio, 7 -- Worked hard and was a constant threat to Burnley.
MF Manuel Lanzini, 6 -- Linked well with Dimitri Payet but still a way off last season's form.
MF Dimitri Payet, 6 -- Burnley were very wary of Payet from the off and the French International made the most of their fear with some nice touches.
FW Andy Carroll, 7 -- Started the game and put in the usual Carroll performance. Won headers, free kicks, niggled defenders and made a nuisance of himself, getting a standing ovation when he came off -- injury free -- late on.
MF Havard Nordtveit, N/R -- A substitute for the captain after 88 minutes, as Bilic tried to introduce a fresh pair of legs in the closing minutes. The silence as the Norwegian ran on was deafening and the increased heart rate from the fans nearly audible.
FW Andre Ayew, 6 -- Replaced Lanzini after 68 minutes and was unlucky not to score.
FW Ashley Fletcher, N/R -- Introduced after 82 minutes for Carroll, the former Manchester United youngster got outmuscled several times.