ANDREA RANOCCHIA’S first goal in English football was enough to give Hull City a much needed three points.
The Italian defender flicked in a corner with just four minutes remaining to cap a second half fightback by the Tigers that has breathed fresh life into their survival hopes.
Andy Carroll’s 50th Premier League goal had separated the two sides at the end of a flat first half for the hosts but Marco Silva got to work during the break.
He ditched the 3-5-2 formation that had struggled for any rhythm in those opening 45 minutes and brought Kamil Grosicki off the bench.
The Pole’s response was to create both Hull’s goals, as Ranocchia and Andrew Robertson ensured it was an unhappy return to the East Riding for Robert Snodgrass.
Still the club’s top scorer despite leaving in January, the Scot looked on course for a happy reunion with his old team-mates at the interval.
Carroll had put the Hammers in front on 18 minutes, the big striker capitalising on a floated Aaron Cresswell cross deceiving Curtis Davies.
Carroll, suddenly in five yards of space, coolly brought the ball down with his chest before stroking a shot past Eldin Jakupovic to reach the landmark of 50 Premier League goals..
Hull could not complain at falling behind, having been given a let-off just four minutes earlier by Snodgrass.
The Scot, still the Tigers’ top scorer despite leaving in January, was found unmarked by Sofiane Feghouli but his header was straight at Jakupovic.
Jakupovic also kept out a curling effort from Manuel Lanzini just after the half-hour mark.
Hull huffed and puffed in the opening 45 minutes but were let down by some woeful passing. As a result, it took hesitation from Darren Randolph to give the hosts their best sniff of goal but the ‘keeper cleared just ahead of Lazar Markovic and Oumar Niasse.
Silva’s half-time changes, however, ensured it was a very different Hull that emerged after the interval. The equaliser came just eight minutes later, Robertson coolly finishing after latching on to a pass from Grosicki.
The move owed much to Lazar Markovic, whose tenacity had, first, kept the ball alive before an exchange of passes with Abel Hernandez allowed the ball to be moved to Grosicki on the left flank.
Alfred N’Diaye then struck a post as Hull assumed control before Grosicki fired the rebound wide.
Carroll then wasted a great chance by heading straight at Jakupovic after being picked out by Snodgrass, while at the other end Markus Henriksen fired across the face of goal following an exchange of passes with Markovic.
Shaun Maloney then had a shot blocked before the big moment arrived from the resulting corner. Grosicki’s in-swinging delivery allowed Ranocchia to get in front of Cheikhou Kouyate to flick the ball into the net.
Hull climbed level on points with fourth-from-bottom Swansea after securing a fourth win in five unbeaten home league games under head coach Marco Silva.
Silva extended his unbeaten home league record as a manager, stretching back through spells at Estoril, Sporting Lisbon and Olympiacos, to an impressive 39 matches.
“It’s not a secret, it’s the work,” the Portuguese said. “We all work, our staff, our players, the supporters as well because nobody wins alone.
“It’s important and they’re very good numbers and give us all more confidence.
“It’s better when we look at the table, but nothing is finished today,” Silva added.
“I’m sure this fight will continue until the end of the season.
“It’s three important points for us. We had a very good second half. We changed the result during the second half. Nothing is finished, but it’s very important.
Hull: Jakupovic, Ranocchia, Davies, Maguire, Elmohamady, Markovic, N’Diaye, Clucas, Robertson, Hernandez, Niasse. Subs: Meyler, Maloney, Grosicki, Diomande, Dawson, Henriksen,
West Ham: Randolph, Byram, Fonte, Collins, Cresswell, Kouyate, Lanzini, Feghouli, Ayew, Snodgrass, Carroll. Subs: Nordtveit, Adrian, Noble, Fletcher, Masuaku, Calleri, Fernandes.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)