LONDON (Reuters) - West Ham United’s hopes of climbing clear of the Premier League relegation zone suffered a blow as a Jay Rodriguez header gave Burnley a 1-0 win at the London Stadium on Wednesday.
The Hammers beat Chelsea and drew at Newcastle United last week, easing their nerves about the drop, but the loss to in-form Burnley left David Moyes’ side in 16th place on 31 points, just four points above 17th-placed Aston Villa who have a game in hand.
The winner came in the 38th minute when Charlie Taylor whipped in a cross from the left and Rodriguez’s glancing header flew in off the underside of the crossbar.
Michail Antonio missed a great chance to level moments later when he found himself one-on-one with Nick Pope but struck the outside of the post.
Pope, who has now kept 14 clean sheets this season, was in outstanding form, dominating his box and nullifying cross after cross thrown into the box by the home side.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley, who are in ninth place on 49 points, had an effort from substitute Chris Wood ruled out in the 76th minute for offside and the Kiwi also forced a good save out of Lukasz Fabianksi.
But the Clarets had to defend with tenacity in the final period as West Ham piled bodies into the box — only to come up against the inspired Pope, who caught or punched clear every danger.
“Right from the front we defend properly. Lads running until they can’t anymore. It gives defenders and me in goal confidence, it runs through the team,” said Pope.
“For a so-called not top-six team to get that many clean sheets, we go into every game pushing to win. It was wave after wave towards the end, sometimes you have to do that on the road,” he said.
Burnley have lost once in their last 12 Premier League matches and won three of their last four matches.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond