Middlesbrough - Andy
Carroll scored twice as West Ham added to Middlesbrough's struggles in
the Premier League with a 3-1 win at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
The England international sent a thumping header beyond Victor Valdes
to give the Hammers, who were again playing without want-away France
playmaker Dimitri Payet, a ninth-minute lead.
Christian Stuani finished off a superbly constructed team move to
draw Boro level before the half hour, but Carroll struck again two
minutes before the break with substitute Jonathan Calleri sealing the
victory at the death.
Slaven Bilic's men have now won five of their last seven matches to
climb into the top half of the table, but Boro remain in 16th place
after a fifth straight game without a win.
Payet's refusal to play for West Ham amidst his desire to return to
Marseille has seen the Frenchman forced to train with the club's
Under-23 squad and he was again left out the first-team squad for the
trip to Boro.
But despite the absence of their influential midfielder, West Ham
quickly found their stride with Michail Antonio slicing wide on the
volley from Aaron Cresswell's cross.
The visitors went ahead soon after as Carroll rose to meet Manuel
Lanzini's inswinging corner and plant a thumping header past a helpless
Valdes to get on the scoresheet for the second game running.
Aitor Karanka's Boro are the league's lowest-scoring team but they
hit back on 27 minutes through Stuani as the Uruguayan side-footed home
Calum Chambers' pass following a passage of slick play from the hosts.
West Ham regained the lead before the interval when Carroll pounced
to slot in the rebound after Valdes had kept out a fierce long-range
drive from Antonio, West Ham's leading scorer with eight goals this
Antonio then headed over at the start of the second half while
Lanzini fluffed a one-on-one with Valdes having been slipped in by
Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph turned behind a firm
header from Boro's Marten de Roon as Adama Traore was proving a handful
down both flanks.
And the Hammers were fortunate not to concede a fluke equaliser when
Cresswell smashed an attempted clearance straight into Stuani, with the
ball looping off the bar and away to safety.
Karanka introduced new signing Patrick Bamford, who scored 19 goals
in 44 appearances while on loan from Chelsea in 2014-15, with 10 minutes
play but West Ham wrapped up the points with Calleri's deflected effort
deep into stoppage time.