Football: Allardyce lauds Carroll as West Ham climb thanks to 3-1 win over Swansea

Andy Carrol (left)l of West Ham United heads to score against Swansea City during their English Premier League match against Swansea at Upton Park in London on Dec 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Andy Carrol (left)l of West Ham United heads to score against Swansea City during their English Premier League match against Swansea at Upton Park in London on Dec 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce hailed Andy Carroll after the striker's brace in a 3-1 victory over Swansea City fired his side to third place in the Premier League.

Carroll, who missed the first three months of the season with an ankle injury, scored two headers and set up a late goal for substitute Diafra Sakho as West Ham came from behind to win at Upton Park.

Swansea had taken a 19th-minute lead through Wilfried Bony, but they struggled to get to grips with Carroll and finished the game with 10 men after goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was sent off for impeding Sakho.

"It is massive for Andy Carroll," Allardyce told BBC Sport, having seen his side continue their best start to a season since 1999.

"Movement in the box is what it is all about. The heading in the box only comes after the movement is right and that happened with his two goals.

"He is unstoppable when he gets that space. Hopefully he continues to learn that way."

After Bony had steered home a cut-back from Jefferson Montero, Carroll levelled the scores four minutes before half-time with a towering header from Carl Jenkinson's right-wing cross.

The one-time England striker met Stewart Downing's corner with a bullet header to put West Ham ahead in the 66th minute and it was his flick-on that allowed Sakho to run through and smash home West Ham's third.

"Another three goals in the bag and a big eight days - nine points," added Allardyce, whose side will lose their grip on third place whatever happens in Monday's game between Southampton and Manchester United.

"I don't think anyone in the Premier League has done that this week. We are really flying. We will enjoy ourselves for a day or too and get ourselves ready for the next game."

Swansea coach Garry Monk indicated that his side would appeal against Fabianski's 68th-minute dismissal, which came after Sakho had used his left arm to nudge the ball past the onrushing Polish goalkeeper.

"If you look at the build-up to it, he (Sakho) knocks the ball past the keeper with his hand," Monk said.

"I don't think we dealt with the situation leading up to that point very well, but before Fabianski makes any contact whatsoever, the player knocks it past with his left hand.

"Realistically it should have been a free-kick to us. It wasn't a clear goalscoring opportunity either. When you look at it with the replays, it isn't. Hopefully we will appeal it."

In the day's other game, Alan Hutton scored a 71st-minute winner as Aston Villa beat bottom club Leicester City 2-1 to move six points clear of the relegation zone.

Leonardo Ulloa put Leicester in front in the 13th minute after Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan failed to hold a deflected shot by Riyad Mahrez.

But Ciaran Clark equalised four minutes later when he headed in a free-kick from Ashley Westwood, who was later stretchered off with a knee injury, before Christian Benteke teed up Hutton for the winner.

Leicester had left-back Paul Konchesky sent off with 10 minutes remaining after a clash with Hutton.

Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season came to an abrupt halt on Saturday when the leaders lost 2-1 at Newcastle United, with substitute Papiss Cisse scoring both goals for Alan Pardew's side.

Manchester City cut Chelsea's lead to three points after Yaya Toure's first-half penalty secured a 1-0 win at home to Everton.

But victory came at a cost, as City lost top scorer Sergio Aguero to a knee ligament injury that has ruled him out of Wednesday's Champions League showdown with Roma and could sideline him for even longer.

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