A first-half goal from Manuel Lanzini proved enough to secure a much-needed second Premier League win of the season for 10-man West Ham as they edged out Crystal Palace 1-0 in a lively London derby.
Lanzini struck after 19 minutes, converting a fine cross from Aaron Cresswell, but the visitors enjoyed a double let-off just before the break when Christian Benteke missed a penalty.
The Belgium striker fired his spot-kick high and wide after being brought down in the box by Angelo Ogbonna and to compound his misery, then headed a James McArthur cross against the post moments later.
Palace piled on the pressure in the second half, but, despite losing Cresswell – who picked up two yellow cards in the space of 51 seconds – the Hammers managed to hold on.
The victory was West Ham’s third on the trot at Selhurst Park and was enough to lift Slaven Bilic’s men up to 15th.
In addition to Benteke’s moment to forget, Wilfried Zaha also missed a great chance for Alan Pardew’s men, who have now gone 13 league games without keeping a clean sheet, and substitute Connor Wickham was denied by a stunning Adrian save late on.
West Ham appeared to adapt to the slippery conditions more quickly than the hosts, with Cresswell capping a quick break by firing into the side-netting and Simone Zaza shooting straight at Steve Mandanda from the edge of the box.
Michail Antonio also went close for the visitors, just failing to get a meaningful touch on Cheikhou Kouyate’s header as it flashed across the face of goal.
Zaha, meanwhile, wasted Palace’s best early chance, dragging his low, 15-yard shot wide of the left-hand post having been picked out by the in-form Jason Puncheon.
Having survived that scare, West Ham swiftly reasserted their authority and deservedly took the lead.
Cresswell, making his first appearance of the season after recovering from a knee injury, whipped in a fine cross from the left and Lanzini applied an equally impressive sidefoot finish to net his second goal of 2016-17.
Despite continuing to look the better side for the remainder of the opening period, however, West Ham were still fortunate to take their narrow lead into the break.
After Ogbonna was adjudged to have clipped Benteke in the box, the striker curled the resulting penalty high and wide of Adrian’s left-hand post.
And the Palace forward then failed to make immediate amends by the narrowest of margins as his header from a McArthur cross struck the outside of the post.
Pardew’s response was to make a double change at the start of the second half, introducing Yohan Cabaye and Ezekiel Fryers in place of Joe Ledley and Martin Kelly respectively.
Cabaye made an immediate impact, drilling a 20-yard shot narrowly wide after 53 minutes before West Ham created another decent chance of their own as Lanzini’s surging run into the box culminated in Dimitri Payet drawing a fine reflex save from Mandanda.
Andros Townsend was the next to try his luck for Palace, curling a 20-yard shot into the grateful arms of Adrian and, as Palace piled on the late pressure, Cresswell’s return turned sour as he received two quickfire yellow cards for simulation and a foul on Zaha.
Palace came agonisingly close to snatching a point right at the death as Wickham saw his header from Townsend’s cross spectacularly tipped over the bar by Adrian.
Key Opta stats:
– For the first time ever, West Ham have won three in a row away to Crystal Palace in the league.
– The Eagles have lost each of their last five Premier League London derbies at Selhurst Park.
– Six of Lanzini’s eight Premier League goals have come away from home.
– Benteke missed a Premier League penalty for the first time since October 2013 (Aston Villa v Everton), while overall he has converted seven of his 10 top-flight spot-kicks.
– Two of Cresswell’s three red cards in league football have come against Crystal Palace.
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