Ghana’s Ayew helps West Ham to victory
Pedro Obiang’s heavily deflected goal was the moment of luck West Ham needed to set them on the way to their first points of the Premier League season as Huddersfield suffered their first defeat.
The Hammers, whose manager Slaven Bilic was under pressure after three successive league defeats, were below par – although the visitors offered little threat.
Javier Hernandez hit the bar in the first half, in one of West Ham’s few clear-cut chances.
The breakthrough came in the 72nd minute when Obiang’s 25-yard strike hit Mathias Jorgensen’s back and looped over keeper Jonas Lossl.
It was the first goal that Huddersfield – or Lossl – have conceded in their first season back in the top flight.
And the second came five minutes later when substitute Andre Ayew – whose introduction for Hernandez was booed by West Ham’s fans – turned the ball home from three yards out.
Huddersfield’s major opportunity came with 10 minutes left as Thomas Ince hit the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Bilic came into the game under plenty of pressure after the Hammers had conceded 10 goals in their opening three league games.
And the Croat, celebrating his 49th birthday, has also had public disagreements with the club’s owners over their failure to sign his key target William Carvalho, as well as Renato Sanches and Grzegorz Krychowiak.
On their first game at home this season – with London Stadium not initially ready following the World Athletics Championships – the Hammers did not look great.
Andy Carroll made his first appearance this season following a thigh injury, with Mexico striker Hernandez having to move out to the wing to make space for the target man.
Hernandez was quiet – although Michail Antonio was excellent on the other flank.
The Hammers’ finishing was poor – with Cheikhou Kouyate, James Collins, Jose Fonte and Antonio all squandering chances.
And it looked as if criticism of Bilic would grow when the replacement of Hernandez with Ayew was met with boos from the home crowd.
But it was actually a match-winning substitution. Ayew set up Obiang’s goal and then poked home after Fonte’s shot from Aaron Cresswell’s corner was blocked.