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Carroll gem boosts Hammers in wake of Payet storm

London (AFP) – A wonderful bicycle kick from Andy Carroll helped West Ham shrug off Dimitri Payet’s refusal to play as they coasted to a welcome 3-0 win over Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace on Saturday.

While Carroll’s goal was the pick of the three it was Mickail Antoinio who ran the show creating all of the Hammers goals — bringing them their first win in four matches and ending a goal drought stretching back three games.

Sofiane Feghouli, with his first ever Premier League goal, and Manuel Lanzini — who has scored in all four matches he has played at Palace — made light of Payet’s absence.

Such was the antipathy towards the France international that a steward guarded the photo of him outside the ground and the fans used colourful language to chant what they thought about him prior to the game.   

Palace’s defeat leaves them deep in trouble with the gamble on bringing in Sam Allardyce — who was Hammers’ manager for four years — to replace Alan Pardew yet to bear fruit with three defeats and a draw in four league games.

Palace remain fourth from bottom but only above Hull because of a better goal difference.

Both sides had plenty of attacking intent from the get go but chances were at a premium with Carroll spurning the best one in the opening half hour.

Mark Noble did well down the right and delivered a superb cross but Carroll’s half volley from close range went over the bar.

Palace replied in kind, French international midfielder Yohan Cabaye producing a moment of inspiration to try and break the deadlock conjuring up a delightful volley from outside the area — Darren Randolph though got down to save.

The visitors should have gone one up shortly after when Andros Townsend’s freekick found former Hammer James Tomkins free in the box but he fluffed his shot completely.

Cabaye had another chance early in the second-half, striker Christian Benteke nodding the ball down but the Frenchman’s volley flew over the bar.

The Hammers stormed back creating a few chances of their own — Pedro Obiang the instigator — Carroll going closer than his first effort as he took the ball down himself and his shot skimmed the bar.

The hosts’ pressure deservedly paid off when Feghouli struck, although it owed a lot to a rush of blood to the head from Wales international goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

He charged from his line but Antonio won the race to the ball, rounded him, and passed it to Feghouli who slotted it home for his first Premier League goal.

Antonio was at the heart of the Hammers second as well as he teed up Carroll in the box and the striker produced a stunning bicycle kick to double the lead. 

Antonio’s magical touch was at it again minutes later releasing Lanzini and he raced on to beat Hennessey and end any hopes of a Palace comeback.

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