London - Andy Carroll scored a brace of goals as West Ham United overcame West Bromwich Albion 3-1 on Saturday to allay concerns that they were sliding towards the relegation zone.
The on-loan Liverpool striker struck at either end of each half, sandwiching a 28th-minute effort from Gary O'Neil, to give Sam Allardyce's side a six-point cushion above the bottom three.
Graham Dorrans replied for West Brom from the penalty spot with two minutes remaining, but the visitors then had Youssouf Mulumbu sent off for an injury-time meltdown that saw him kick the ball at O'Neil.
West Ham had lost five of their previous seven matches but Sam Allardyce's side began the game at Upton Park with plenty of purpose.
However, they had to overcome a couple of early scares before stamping their authority on the match.
West Brom's Gareth McAuley had a sixth-minute goal ruled out for a clear foul on West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, who then produced a superb save to repel Romelu Lukaku's deflected free-kick.
The home side made the breakthrough in the 16th minute with a goal that showcased Carroll at his uncomprising best.
From O'Neil's left-wing corner, the former Newcastle United man soared above Jonas Olsson to send an emphatic header thudding into the net.
The second goal arrived before the half hour, with O'Neil guiding the ball past visiting goalkeeper Ben Foster to complete a counter-attack led by Ricardo Vaz Te.
The hosts had a scare in the 63rd minute when Jaaskelainen had to save from Billy Jones, but 10 minutes from full-time, Carroll made sure of victory with a sublime goal.
James Collins lofted a free-kick into the West Brom area and Carroll watched the ball drop over his shoulder before meeting it with a crisp volley that found the far corner.
Dorrans replied in the 88th minute, drilling his penalty down the centre of the goal after Lukaku went down under pressure from Winston Reid and Matt Taylor.
There was to be no fightback, however, and Mulumbu completed a day to forget for the away side when he was shown a straight red card for losing his cool in added time.