Substitute Andy Carroll helped West Ham come from behind to snap a run of five consecutive Premier League draws with a 2-1 win over Southampton at Upton Park.
The hosts – who have never drawn six in a row in the top flight before – were poor for much of the first half and trailed to Carl Jenkinson’s early own goal, but manager Slaven Bilic introduced Carroll at the break to spark a revival.
Michail Antonio’s first goal for the club levelled matters in the 69th minute, the former Nottingham Forest forward seeing Victor Wanyama’s attempted clearance clatter against him and loop over Maarten Stekelenburg.
But West Ham were not done there and secured a first league victory since beating Chelsea on October 24 – when Carroll again came off the bench to net the winner – as the bustling forward was first to react after Antonio had headed Enner Valencia’s inviting delivery against the crossbar.
The result moves the home side up to seventh, while Ronald Koeman’s men – who had been so impressive in the 4-0 Boxing Day win over Arsenal – sit 12th.
West Ham started brightly and Valencia’s determined run ended with a shot that was well blocked by Ryan Bertrand, while Cheikhou Kouyate was wayward with his long-range effort.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring, though, as Shane Long provided a low delivery from the left that Dusan Tadic – in for James Ward-Prowse – made minimal contact with before Jenkinson got the final touch to divert it past the helpless Adrian.
Koeman’s side were visibly buoyed by making the breakthrough and sought to assert their authority at an increasingly restless Upton Park, with Long – who scored twice in the triumph over Arsenal – a thorn in the hosts’ side.
In the 27th minute he outpaced Angelo Ogbonna down the right and pulled back a cross for Steven Davis, with James Collins brilliantly deflecting the midfielder’s shot over.
Davis saw another well-struck effort fly narrowly wide of Adrian’s left upright 10 minutes before the end of a first half in which the Saints were much the better side.
Bilic attempted to rally his side with a double change at the interval, introducing Carroll and Manuel Lanzini – both of whom have had their injury problems this term – and the former Newcastle United forward spurned an excellent chance to level matters within three minutes of the restart, hurriedly flashing a shot over from close range following a corner.
The game was becoming increasingly stretched and West Ham seized the opportunity to drag themselves back into the match, Antonio bundling his way into the box and getting a generous bit of unintended help from Wanyama.
The boisterous home crowd had further cause for celebration 11 minutes from time when Carroll nodded into an unguarded net after Antonio’s headed effort from Valencia’s had cannoned off the underside of the crossbar.
Antonio blasted wide while off balance at the end of a last-gasp counter-attack, but the appreciative West Ham crowd soon heard the sound of the full-time whistle to end their long wait for a win.
Key Opta stats:
– West Ham are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League home games, but four of these have been draws (W3 D4 L0).
– Both of Andy Carroll’s Premier League goals this season have been headers in the 79th minute in 2-1 home wins.
– Southampton have collected just four points in their last seven PL games, three of them against current league leaders Arsenal.
– West Ham are unbeaten in their last six games (W1 D5).
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