Collins and Diame goals see West Ham overcome Canaries
After their recent struggles, West Ham climbed up to a relatively staggering tenth place after a 2-0 win against Norwich City at Upton Park on Tuesday night.
This was the 50th meeting between these two sides in all competitions, with West Ham looking for their fourth clean sheet in succession for the first time in the Barclays premier League.
The Hammers had not lost at home to Norwich City in their last four matches at Upton Park, and now have the best clean sheet record in the Premier League with 13 to their name.
The first real goal scoring opportunity of the game went to the visitors after nine minutes. Nathan Redmond's jinking run had Guy Demel fooled and his cross found the head of Gary Hooper, whose tame header had Adrian sprawling to keep the score goalless.
Redmond was in the thick of the action and was clearly the Canaries bright spark. His fantastic through ball to Robert Snodgrass, saw the Scottish international one on one with Adrian, but the keeper stood tall and saved well after 18 minutes.
At the other end, Matt Jarvis's curling effort with his left foot was too easy for John Ruddy and the score was still 0-0.
With 22 minutes on the clock, Carlton Cole's shot on the turn from George McCartney's precisely driven ball was no match for Ruddy in the opposition goal, while Mark Noble's shot from all of 25 yards out went straight into the hands of the Norwich stopper.
Just after half an hour, Stewart Downing's speculative effort failed to worry Ruddy, in what has been a dull affair between these two teams battling against the drop.
After West Ham's corner was intercepted, Noble's sprayed a beautiful pass towards Downing and his dangerous ball was inches away from Demel's head and defended well by left back Martin Olsson.
West Ham dominated the last 20 minutes of the first half, with Kevin Nolan's header the latest effort from the hosts who had kept Ruddy relatively busy.
With half time approaching, some neat play between Alex Tettey and Hooper resulted in the latter letting rip from inside the area, forcing a good save from the in-form Adrian.
Sam Allardyce made a change at half time, with Carlton Cole being replaced by on-loan Roma striker Marco Borriello for his first taste of action in East London
10 minutes into the second half and Tettey's drive was expertly controlled by Gary Hooper, but his shot was easy for Adrian to handle. Mohamed Diame, missing for two games with a leg injury, came on for winger Jarvis.
The best chance of the second half again went to the visitors, as Bradley Johnson fed an exquisite through ball to Hooper, but Adrian was there again to save well.
After 76 minutes, a clear cut-chance for West Ham was missed. Captain Kevin Nolan's lay off to Diame saw the Senegalese's side footed effort brilliantly saved by Ruddy.
At the other end, a scramble in the box from a corner saw the ball fall to on-loan defender Joseph Yobo, with his hooked shot going agonisingly over the bar and onto the roof of the net. Fellow Italian, Antonio Nocerino replaced Matt Taylor for West Ham manager Sam Allardyce's last throw of the dice.
And with 87 minutes on the clock at last the deadlock was broken from an unlikely source. Diame's inviting cross saw James Collins rise above everybody and nod home for his first goal of the season with seven minutes remaining.
Back came the Canaries with Snodgrass's free kick on the edge of the box finding Yobo, but Adrian was on hand again to maintain West Ham's lead.
On the 95th minute, all three points were sealed for the home side, as Diame ran the length of the pitch, eventually finding himself in the area, and his shot deflected off Bradley Johnson and into the gaping net to secure a very precious three points which lifts West Ham above Aston Villa in the table.
West Ham: Adrian, Demel, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Noble, Taylor (Nocerino 77), Downing, Nolan, Jarvis (Diame 60); C Cole (Borriello 45)
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Armero, Collison.
Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Yobo, Bassong, Olsson; Snodgrass, Johnson, Tettey (Van Wolfswinkel 86), Fer, Redmond (Pilkington 80); Hooper (Elmander 75).
Subs not used: Bunn, Whittaker, Hoolahan, Garrido.