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Premier League

  • December 20, 2014
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 34977

West Ham 2-0 Leicester City: Carroll, Downing seal the points

Leicester remains last in the Premier League after the defeat at Upton Park.

Goals from Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing helped West Ham see off struggling Leicester City 2-0 at Upton Park on Saturday.

Nigel Pearson's rock-bottom side had its winless run extended to 12 matches as the hosts continued their fine season with a fourth win from their last five Premier League outings.

Carroll maintained his strong return to action from a long-term heel injury by scoring his third goal in as many games after 24 minutes. A short back pass from former West Ham defender Paul Konchesky presented a gift-wrapped chance to the onrushing striker, who made no mistake with a cool, dinked finish. 

While the hosts' opener came about from a costly error, their second was a moment of quality from Downing, whose curled strike from long range sealed the points.

Leicester huffed and puffed in an attempt to find a way back into the game, but Sam Allardyce's side saw the win out in relatively comfortable fashion and will feature in the top-flight's top four at Christmas for the first time since 1985.

With the unchanged sides on starkly contrasting runs of form recently, West Ham unsurprisingly made the brighter start with Carroll twice threatening in the air early on. 

Diafra Sakho was next to come close, firing Kevin Nolan's through ball wide before Leicester grew into the game and forced a number of dangerous crosses.

Despite Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez showcasing pace and trickery, Leicester was unable to fashion clear-cut chances with Carroll spurning the first real opportunity of the game after 23 minutes.

The towering striker met Stewart Downing's cutback inside the area but blazed over from close range under pressure from Marcin Wasilewski. 

However, Carroll made amends soon after when he got on the end of Konchesky's woefully under-hit back pass to clip the opener over Ben Hamer.

Buoyed by taking the lead, West Ham continued to put Leicester under pressure, although Mahrez tested Adrian from distance on a rare venture forward for the visitors just after the half-hour mark.

West Ham deservedly led at the break, but Carroll surely had Allardyce worried early in the second half when he went over on an ankle when closing down Konchesky before stumbling into the photographers' section at the side of the pitch. 

He was able to continue, though, and watched on soon after as Downing curled home West Ham's second — the England man taking Sakho's knockdown in his stride before sweeping home his fourth Premier League goal of the season. 

That all but ended Leicester hopes of salvaging a point or picking up a first league win since September, although Pearson will likely take some heart from his side's spirited late efforts.

Substitutes David Nugent and Leonardo Ulloa both brought smart saves from Adrian late, but a comeback failed to materialize, with Leicester left with work to do to arrest its slump as it perilously sits in last place at Christmas.