West Ham 1- 0 Hull City
How West Ham emerged victorious from this game will remain one of the great mysteries of this Christmas season.
A perplexed Hull manager Mike Phelan admitted that this was his sides best performance of the season yet they came away with nothing.
And West Ham boss Slaven Bilic admitted that Hull deserved something from the encounter.
The first gilt edge chance came when a misplaced Aaron Cresswell back pass saw striker Dieumerci Mbokan clean through with only keeper Darren Randolph to beat. But Mbokani somehow managed to hit the post.
Mbokani then had two further chances that went just wide.
Bilic switched to a four, four two formation at half time bringing on Andre Ayew and Edmilson Fernandes for Manuel Lanzini and Pedro Obiang. However, this did not stop the Hull onslaught, with home skipper Mark Noble diverting an early cross onto his own post.
The overlapping left back Andrew Robertson then saw his thumping 20 yard shot bounce back of the far upright. Fernandez then cleared another Hull effort off the line.
The half time changes, that freed up Michail Antonio from right back, finally bore fruit in the 76th minute. Picking the ball up from defence Antonio ran three quarters the length of the pitch before being hauled down on the edge of the Hull penalty area. The resulting free kick saw Antonio pulled down in the penalty area by Tom Huddlestone, resulting in a penalty being awarded by referee Lee Mason.
Skipper Noble duly dispatched the spot kick.
Payet then nearly doubled the lead with a dipping free kick that Hull Keeper David Marshall pushed out from under the bar.
The result ended a good week for West Ham following the victory over Burnley on Wednesday and a point gained at Liverpool last Sunday, however the team must have used up a large slice of their luck quota for the season.
Bilic admitted relief at getting the six points from the two home games. “Our position now is much better than a week ago,” said Bilic, who believes the confidence that has been so lacking over recent weeks can be seen coming back.
The West Ham manager had complimented Phelan on his side’s performance, assuring him that if they continue to play that way the results will come.
Phelan seemed less sure, highlighting how a number of teams have come up over the years, played attacking football and ended up getting relegated. “When chances come along you have to be ruthless, we had more than enough chances to win it,” said Phelan.