SLAVEN BILIC got the best birthday present possible with the win that should keep him in a job.
An own goal from Zanka and a scrambled effort from sub Andre Ayew got West Ham off the mark with their first points of the season.
And for relieved Bilic who turned 49 it became a day to remember for the right reasons having seen Crystal Palace sack boss Frank de Boer earlier in the day after only four games.
West Ham had missed a series of chances in a game they dominated from start to finish against a team which had yet to concede a goal when they arrived in east London.
But they paid the price for setting up to take a point when their defence was finally breached with 17 minutes left thanks to an unlucky own goal.
Midfielder Pedro Obiang picked up a sideways pass from Ayew and hit a shot from 25 yards. Defender Zanak made the mistake of turning his back and the ball cannoned off his shoulder and looped over keeper Jonas Lossl.
Three minutes later Ayew made it 2-0 from a corner.
Aaron Cresswell put the ball into the near post and Hammers’ centre half Jose Fonte caused havoc among the defence.
Ayew was there to poke home the ball from six yards and lift the gloom which had been hanging over West Ham after three successive defeats.
But they should have been home and hosed long before they finally cracked Town. Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate missed two glaring chances to score in the first half and striker Javier Hernandez hit the crossbar.
Tom Ince hit the woodwork for Huddersfield in a late fightback.
It was also West Ham keeper Joe Hart’s first clean sheet in a league match since January when he was on loan in Italy’s Serie A playing for Torino.
INTERACTIVE LINE-UPS– CLICK on a player’s number below to see their stats
FACTS, STATS, GOALS & LOLS
- Tom Ince was getting booed by the West Ham fans… over his dad, Paul’s controversial transfer from the Hammers to Manchester United 27 years ago.
- Slaven Bilic opted to play Andy Carroll and Javier Hernandez together for the first time but the little Mexican was forced out wide and despite his chance off the crossbar, he struggled to make an impact.
- Slaven Bilic was celebrating his 49th birthday tonight but with his job on the line it would have been the last thing on his mind,
- What is it about players getting kicked in the face this weekend? This time it was Steve Mounie on the receiving end of a boot when he battled for a challenge alongside Winston Reid.
- Three of the last four teams to lose their opening four matches have finished bottom of the league so West Ham were desperate to pick up points.
- West Ham had won just seven of their last 19 home matches in the Premier League before Huddersfield came to town.
- Famous Huddersfield fan Patrick Stewart looked a proud man as he watched the Terriers alongside the club’s chairman.
- Slaven Bilic took Javier Hernandez off after 63 minutes for Andre Ayew which was greeted by a chorus boos.
- Huddersfield fans then responded with chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning.”
- Joe Hart kept his first clean sheet in the league since January when he was on-loan at Torino
WHAT THEY SAID
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic: “I am happy. I am happy for the lads and for the club. We started with three away games and three defeats and this was a must win game.
“It was not a nice performance but it was a top performance in all other stuff like getting the ball, winning free-kicks and corners. We totally deserve it.
“I feel the pressure for a whole year now. It is maybe not logical for me to be under pressure after three games but it is modern football.
Huddersfield boss David Wagner: “We deserved this result; we were second best in everywhere and weren’t good enough with the ball.
“We have to be braver and more comfortable on the ball; we made too many unforced errors.”
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
West Ham: Hart 7, Fonte 7, Reid 7, Collins 7, Zabaleta 7, Kouyate 6, Obiang 8 (Rice 93, 6), Cresswell 7, Hernandez 6 (Ayew 64, 7) Antonio 6, Carroll 7 (Sakho 82, 6)
Subs not used: Adrian, Ogbonna, Masuaku, Byram
Huddersfield: Lossl 5, Smith 5, Zanka 6, Schindler 7, Lowe 6 (Malone 63, 6) Mooy 6, Billing 6 (Depoitre 83, 6) Kachunga 5 (Sabiri 75, 6) Ince 6, van La Parra 6, Mounie 6
Subs not used: Coleman, Hadergjonaj, Hefele, Williams
Booked: Billing, Zanka
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