Hull City 2 West Ham 1: Pressure mounts on Slaven Bilic after Andrea Ranocchia's late winner

Arindam Rej
The Telegraph
Andrea Ranocchia heads home the winner - REUTERS
Andrea Ranocchia heads home the winner - REUTERS

Slaven Bilic watched his West Ham United side crash to a fourth successive defeat, as the pressure on him intensified, after Andrea Ranocchia headed in a precious, late winner for Hull City. 

Injury-hit West Ham had the lead at half-time, through Andy Carroll’s strike, but Hull fought back and two of their defenders gave them a finishing touch that they had lacked in the first half. Scotland left back Andy Robertson scored the first Premier League goal of his career to level the scores, before Italy centre back Ranocchia sealed victory. 

It meant that Hull manager Marco Silva was rewarded for some more shrewd tactics and substitutions, extending his team’s home unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions. For his Croatian counterpart Bilic, though, it was a different story. 

Bilic had been given a public vote of confidence on Thursday by co-owner David Gold, who admitted that the manager has had a “tough season”. The West Ham boss, though, has said that he would prefer for the outspoken owners to not make so many comments in the papers.

More debate will be sparked about his suitability for the job though, while Silva’s credibility - in contrast - grew. The Portuguese has now won 14 points from 10 games this season - already more than predecessor Mike Phelan, who took 13 from 20 matches. 

Silva had been questioned over not starting with two strikers in some games - and he did in this match, shoe-horning them into a 3-4-3 at the start, but that system was changed at half-time when they trailed 1-0. Hull switched to a more solid-looking 4-4-2 and changed the nature of the contest.

Robert Snodgrass was facing his former club for the first time since leaving Hull in January and many of the home fans made their views on his departure clear, booing the Scot’s name as soon as it was read out and later chanting about him being “greedy”. Snodgrass, though, nearly delivered a rapid response to those taunts, when he had an early scoring chance, but his 10-yard header went straight into the arms of goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic. 

<span>Contrasting emotions from both managers in the closing stages</span> <span>Credit: Rex Features </span>
Contrasting emotions from both managers in the closing stages Credit: Rex Features

West Ham took the lead when Aaron Cresswell delivered a cross which was misjudged by Hull defender Curtis Davies, allowing the ball to fall for Carroll, who was captain for the day. Carroll chested the ball down then struck in from eight yards in front of England manager Gareth Southgate. 

Hull struggled to create anything clear-cut in the first half, despite their intent, but that changed when they re-organised and a slick passing move led to them levelling. Robertson scored the goal from an angled strike, just inside the penalty area, after being played in by half-time substitute Kamil Grosicki. 

The home side were suddenly full of confidence and nearly added a second when Alfred N’Diaye struck a post from eight yards then Grosicki, following up, shot wide. Ranocchia made amends for that miss, by scoring while unmarked from Grosicki’s corner.  

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