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End-of-season report: West Ham United

Sports Mole reflects on how the 2014-15 campaign fared from a West Ham United point of view.

There were plenty of reports in the summer of 2014 that Sam Allardyce was going to lose his job.

Yet, 'Big Sam' kept hold of his position and at the end of year, it looked as though it was the right decision from the club's board.

However, as the season drew to a close, the Hammers struggled for positive results and the clamour grew for Allardyce to leave.

Here, Sports Mole has taken a closer look at how the East Londoners fared during the 2014-15 campaign.

August

Allardyce undoubtedly had more pressure on his shoulders than any of his counterparts heading into the new season and that intensified greatly throughout the opening month.

London rivals Tottenham Hotspur were first up at Upton Park, but despite dominating the contest, the Hammers slumped to a 1-0 defeat thanks to a stoppage-time winner from Spurs debutant Eric Dier. West Ham's cause was not helped by the usually reliable Mark Noble missing a penalty in the first half.

Mauro Zarate of West Ham celebrates scoring the opening goal with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park on August 23, 2014© Getty Images

There was better news next time out away at Crystal Palace, with Mauro Zarate and Stewart Downing among the goals in a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Yet, the month would end in defeats, firstly at the hands of League One side Sheffield United, who won 5-4 on penalties in the Capital One Cup. Then, a brace from Morgan Schneiderlin saw Southampton leave East London with all three points. Having failed to win three of their first four matches, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Allardyce.

September

West Ham parted with big money to sign Ecuador international Enner Valencia, but he gave the impression that he was going to be worth the £12m outlay as he smashed in a memorable goal during the 2-2 draw at Hull City.

Next time out, Valencia would play the support role as Liverpool were put to the sword with arguably one of West Ham's most memorable performances since Allardyce took charge of the club.

Enner Valencia of West Ham United celebrates with team mate Stewart Downing of West Ham United as he scores their first goal during Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and West Ham United at KC Stadium on September 15, 2014© Getty Images

Early goals from Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho put the hosting Hammers in command, only for Raheem Sterling to hit back for the visitors before the break. However, with two minutes remaining, Morgan Amalfitano ensured that the home side's efforts were rewarded when he made it 3-1.

A 2-1 defeat to Manchester United brought an end to September, but that comprehensive win over Liverpool at least hinted that there were brighter times ahead.

October

Allardyce may have had doubts over Sakho's ability to cut it in the Premier League, but the striker appeared determined to prove his manager wrong.

The Senegalese centre-forward was among the goals once again in a 2-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers, with the other goal being scored by visiting defender Nedum Onuoha.

West Ham United's Senegalese striker Diafra Sakho scores their second goal as Queens Park Rangers' English goalkeeper Robert Green (R) looks on during the English Premier League football match on October 5, 2014© Getty Images

On the road, West Ham made it back-to-back victories when they visited Burnley. Sakho continued his fine form when he scored the game's opening goal, before further goals from Valencia and Carlton Cole secured a 3-1 win over Sean Dyche's strugglers.

As far as October was concerned, though, West Ham left the best until last. Champions Manchester City were the visitors to Upton Park, but they would leave empty handed as goals from Amalfitano and Sakho earned Allardyce's charges an impressive 2-1 victory.

November

In beating QPR, Burnley and Man City, West Ham had played some slick attacking football, but away at Stoke City in early November, some grit was required.

When Mame Biram Diouf put the hosting Potters 2-0 up at the Britannia Stadium in the 56th minute, it seemed that the trip back to London would be a disappointing one for the Hammers faithful. However, goals from Downing and Valencia drew West Ham level and they even had chances to win the encounter, but it wasn't to be.

Stewart Downing of West Ham celebrates scoring his team's second goal with his team-mates during the Barclays Premier League match on November 1, 2014© Getty Images

That was followed by a 0-0 draw at home with Aston Villa, who had goalkeeper Brad Guzan to thank for the point. The American made numerous impressive saves, including two from the fit-again Andy Carroll.

The disappointment continued away at Everton in the form of a 2-1 loss, but the response was at least positive as left-back Aaron Cresswell scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 win over Newcastle United.

December

Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins scored the goals as West Ham overturned a one-goal deficit to win 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion at the start of December, before Carroll showed that he was approaching full match fitness when Swansea made the trip to East London.

The England international scored twice in a 3-1 win over the Welsh outfit, which had some wondering if the Hammers could actually sustain a challenge for one of the Champions League places.

West Ham United's English striker Andy Carroll celebrates scoring their first goal to equalise during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Swansea City at the Boleyn Ground, Upton Park, in east London on December 7, 2014© Getty Images

A goal from Downing earned his side a point away at Sunderland and he was on the scoresheet once again, along with Carroll, when Leicester City were defeated 2-0 in front of the West Ham faithful.

The year would end, though, with a large dose of reality. League leaders Chelsea won the Boxing Day encounter at Stamford Bridge 2-0, with skipper John Terry opening the scoring, while 48 hours later Arsenal claimed all three points from their short trip to Upton Park. Even so, as they headed into 2015, there were not too many West Ham fans grumbling about their side's displays in 2014.

January

But, while performances in 2014 had been widely heralded, the same cannot be done for their showings during the first half of 2015.

In fairness, there were not too many signs of what was to come in January, when a somewhat disappointing 1-1 home draw with West Brom was followed by the same scoreline at Swansea's Liberty Stadium.

Andy Carroll of West Ham United celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and West Ham United at Liberty Stadium on January 10, 2015© Getty Images

A first victory in five Premier League outings was then achieved at the expense of Hull, with the month ending on a sombre note at Anfield, which saw the Hammers extend their winless run away from home.

However, there was plenty of positivity in the FA Cup as both Everton and Bristol City were beaten as West Ham marched into the fifth round of a competition that they had not won since 1980.

February

Unfortunately, West Ham's wait to get their hands on the FA Cup would enter a 36th year as they were emphatically dumped out of the competition by West Brom at The Hawthorns.

It was a Valentine's Day massacre for the Hammers, who were thrashed 4-0 by their revitalised hosts. To rub further salt in the wound, French winger Amalfitano was red carded.

Morgan Amalfitano of West Ham United is shown a red card by referee Martin Atkinson and is sent off during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United at The Hawthorns on February 14, 2015© Getty Images

The wheels were also beginning to fall off in the Premier League, starting with Daley Blind's stoppage-time equaliser as Man United stole a dramatic point at Upton Park. That was followed by further draws with Southampton and Tottenham, the latter of which saw West Ham spurn a two-goal lead.

February was then concluded with a 3-1 home loss to Palace - a game which saw the West Ham players leave the pitch to a chorus of boos from the Upton Park faithful. From the last 30 points available, West Ham had collected just eight and the natives were growing restless.

March

A run of one victory from 10 matches would be extended to one in 12 as West Ham played two of their London rivals at the beginning of March.

It was a spirited home showing against Chelsea, but the champions edged through thanks to a first-half effort from talisman Hazard.

Eden Hazard of Chelsea turns away to celebrate after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match against West Ham on March 4, 2015© Getty Images

Next up was a trip to Arsenal - a side that Allardyce had not won away against in 10 attempts as a manager - and his side did little to buck that trend as they were rolled over 3-0 by the in-form North Londoners.

However, there was something for West Ham fans to cheer about as March came to a close. Sakho, who had been struggling for form and fitness over recent weeks, struck the winning goal against Sunderland late on.

April

After what was a winless April, the calls for Allardyce to leave were growing louder and louder with each game that passed.

It all started with a 2-1 defeat away at Leicester, which was inflicted thanks to Andy King, who scored the winning goal with just four minutes remaining.

Adrian the Whest Ham United goalkeeper saves the penalty taken by David Nugent during the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and West Ham United at The King Power Stadium on April 4, 2015© Getty Images

The other loss was handed out by Man City. It was a game best remembered for West Ham centre-back James Collins scoring one of the most bizarre own goals in recent memory.

Other than that it was all about draws, with nothing to split West Ham in their encounters against Stoke and struggling QPR.

May

In the second half against Burnley in early May, West Ham had 22 shots at goal, yet they didn't score with any of them. Thankfully for the Hammers, Noble had already broken the deadlock from the penalty spot before the interval to wrap up the points.

That was to be only some momentary respite, though, with Aston Villa and Everton both beating West Ham as May progressed.

Mark Noble of West Ham United scores his team's first goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Burnley at the Boleyn Ground on May 2, 2015© Getty Images

The second of those defeats against the Toffees was particularly galling because it came about thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Romelu Lukaku, who has scored six goals in his last six games against the Hammers.

'Allardyce out' chants could be heard loud and clear during the trip to Newcastle on the final day - a game that ended in a 2-0 defeat, which kept the hosts up. Almost immediately after the final whistle, the fans were granted their wish as news filtered through that Allardyce's contract was not going to be renewed.

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Tom Cleverley of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park on May 9, 2015
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4Manchester UnitedMan Utd6411135813
5Everton6411127513
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7West Ham UnitedWest Ham6321138511
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14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves620435-26
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20Norwich CityNorwich6006216-140

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