Valon Behrami is congratulated by Carlton Cole after West Ham's opener
By Les Roopanarine
West Ham turned on the style to make it two wins in a row for the first time this season as fellow relegation strugglers Hull were reduced to 10 men.
Valon Behrami capped a surging run with a third-minute opener after exchanging passes with Guillermo Franco.
And Hull's problems increased shortly after the break when Craig Fagan was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Julien Faubert fed Carlton Cole for a slotted second before completing the win with a thumping late effort.
It was West Ham's fourth consecutive clean sheet at home, and the emphatic scoreline - not to mention the buoyant nature of the display against a relegation rival - will surely please manager Gianfranco Zola.
Zola wants more from Hammers
The Hammers came out of the blocks at lightning speed and although they did not build on their overall superiority until after Fagan's dismissal, their performance was brimming with a brio and belief that have too often been missing this season.
They were aided and abetted by a Hull side who, rarely in it apart from a brief spell of pressure before the break, were left with a mountain to climb after Fagan's departure.
The result leaves Phil Brown's side just a point above the drop zone.
As for West Ham, who now sit four points clear of trouble in 15th, after a season of seemingly endless turmoil both on an off the pitch this was hardly the first game to invite the label 'must-win'.
However, with Hull fast closing on the dubious distinction of going a full calendar year without away league victory, few previous fixtures had merited that billing with such authenticity.
With a dozen games left and some daunting away assignments ahead - Tuesday night's visit to Old Trafford is followed by trips to Chelsea, Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool - West Ham's Premier League future is likely to be shaped at Upton Park.
No one will be more aware of that reality than Zola, so it was a measure of the West Ham manager's faith in Franco that the Mexico international was preferred to Mido in attack.
The Egyptian striker has been an influential performer in his two appearances since arriving on loan last month, and his omission will doubtless have had some supporters scratching their heads.
Yet Zola's confidence in Franco, who was restored to the starting line-up at the earliest possible opportunity after a two-month layoff with a muscle complaint, was vindicated in two minutes and 10 seconds.
That is how long it took Franco to capitalise on Behrami's surging run into the area by somewhat fortuitously feeding the ball back to the Swiss international, who fired home his first Premier League goal since November 2008.
It was the cue for an inspired performance by Behrami, whose zest and incisive runs might have yielded a hat-trick by half-time but for the excellence of Boaz Myhill.
The Hull keeper parried a firm shot from Behrami before showing wonderful athleticism to claw away another effort at the near post, twisting in mid-air with his momentum carrying him in the opposite direction.
With the Hammers starting swiftly, Myhill had been on overtime from the opening minute, when he reacted sharply to paw away an Alessandro Diamanti free-kick.
Not to be outdone, Robert Green made a vital save from a meaty George Boateng effort on the stroke of half-time, but it was a rare moment of concern for the West Ham keeper.
Reeling from Behrami's early opener, Hull became increasingly tetchy, Paul McShane going nose-to-nose with Franco before Fagan picked up a booking for a foul on Scott Parker.
The cost of the latter incident for Hull's hopes of taking anything from the game became apparent shortly after the break when Fagan was dismissed for pulling back Diamanti.
The Italian perhaps made the most of what little there was in the challenge, but Fagan should have known better and, with Hull depleted and the Hammers still in effervescent mood, a second goal felt inevitable.
Hull defeat self-inflicted - Brown
It arrived when Faubert delivered a beautifully-weighted pass to Cole from just inside his own half, the ball rolling perfectly beyond Hull left-back Andy Dawson for the England international to slot an assured finish across Myhill.
The claret-and-blue confidence that had flowed all game went into overdrive, the excellent Diamanti almost scoring from his own half with an audacious effort that had a red-faced Myhill scrambling backwards desperately.
Myhill avoided a moment to rank alongside Neil Sullivan's infamous embarrassment at the hands of David Beckham, but not long afterwards Faubert stormed into the area before firing a vicious curling effort beyond the Hull keeper.
By then Brown had made a triple substitution, which meant a serious late injury to Anthony Gardner, who was stretchered off after falling awkwardly, only compounded Hull's misery on an afternoon when they were outclassed.
Hull manager Phil Brown:
"It was self-inflicted, we had a game plan but it was unhinged by poor decision-making.
"The sending-off was also self-inflicted, it was a poor decision by Craig Fagan to make the tug because he was already in the book.
"The first diagnosis of Anthony Gardner's injury isn't good, he has a problem with both his tibia and fibula.
"It was a bad day at the office to say the least."
West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola:
"It was a good performance; we can do better, but the difference was the way we started.
"We were solid throughout the game and the second goal was important for us.
"Robert Green's save was worth a goal to us, because it allowed us to reorganise at half-time.
"The whole team is getting better; the more confidence you get, the more the players can give."
90:00+5:04 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
90:00+3:56 Jozy Altidore has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide right of the target.
90:00+2:36 Assist on the goal came from Radoslav Kovac.
90:00+2:36 GOAL - Julien Faubert:West Ham 3 - 0 Hull Julien Faubert finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal.
West Ham 3-0 Hull.
Correction - 90:00+0:10 The offside flag is raised against Steven Mouyokolo. Robert Green takes the free kick.
90:00+0:10 Steven Mouyokolo is ruled offside. Robert Green restarts play with the free kick.
89:29 Araujo Ilan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andy Dawson. Andy Dawson restarts play with the free kick.
88:44 Julien Faubert produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
87:17 Steven Mouyokolo fouled by Araujo Ilan, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.
86:40 Shot from outside the area by Seyi Olofinjana misses to the left of the target.
85:59 Nick Barmby fouled by . Mido, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.
84:29 Substitution Jack Collison on for Alessandro Diamanti.
80:09 Effort from the edge of the penalty area by . Mido goes wide of the left-hand post.
79:26 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Alessandro Diamanti from the left by-line, Matthew Upson takes a shot. Save made by
78:12 Substitution Carlton Cole leaves the field to be replaced by . Mido.
75:08 Matthew Upson fouled by Jozy Altidore, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Robert Green.
72:57 Shot by Jozy Altidore from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
72:21 Shot from deep inside the area by Alessandro Diamanti goes over the bar.
71:35 Short corner taken by Alessandro Diamanti.
69:58 Alessandro Diamanti takes a shot. Boaz Myhill makes a save. Corner taken left-footed by Alessandro Diamanti from the right
by-line, George Boateng makes a clearance.
64:00 Substitution Seyi Olofinjana is brought on as a substitute for Amr Zaki.
64:00 Substitution Nick Barmby is brought on as a substitute for Stephen Hunt.
64:00 Substitution Jozy Altidore replaces Tom Cairney.
63:26 The referee blows for offside. Robert Green takes the free kick.
62:26 Substitution (West Ham) makes a substitution, with Araujo Ilan coming on for Guillermo Franco.
62:07 Carlton Cole has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses right.
58:46 Assist on the goal came from Julien Faubert.
58:46 GOAL - Carlton Cole:West Ham 2 - 0 Hull A goal is scored by Carlton Cole from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. West Ham 2-0 Hull.
57:32 Corner from right by-line taken by Alessandro Diamanti.
54:31 Free kick taken by Andy Dawson.
54:31 Booking Booking for Scott Parker for unsporting behaviour.
54:25 Scott Parker challenges Amr Zaki unfairly and gives away a free kick.
53:30 The official flags Guillermo Franco offside. Boaz Myhill takes the indirect free kick.
53:03 Radoslav Kovac takes a shot. Stephen Hunt gets a block in.
52:18 Sent off The referee shows Craig Fagan a red card.
51:57 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alessandro Diamanti by Craig Fagan. Jonathan Spector restarts play with the free
51:22 Carlton Cole is ruled offside. Direct free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.
47:05 Carlton Cole challenges Steven Mouyokolo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.
45:01 The second half begins.
45:00+1:12 The match has reached half-time.
45:00+0:29 Free kick awarded for a foul by Carlton Cole on Steven Mouyokolo. Boaz Myhill restarts play with the free kick.
44:21 George Boateng takes a shot. Save made by Robert Green. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Tom Cairney, Matthew Upson
fouled by Steven Mouyokolo, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Robert Green.
43:25 Corner from the left by-line taken by Stephen Hunt, save by Robert Green.
42:40 Unfair challenge on Stephen Hunt by Julien Faubert results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Tom Cairney,
Scott Parker makes a clearance.
42:31 The ball is crossed by Stephen Hunt, Matthew Upson makes a clearance.
38:32 Unfair challenge on Guillermo Franco by George Boateng results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Alessandro Diamanti.
37:13 Matthew Upson takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill.
36:31 Steven Mouyokolo concedes a free kick for a foul on Guillermo Franco. Jonathan Spector restarts play with the free kick.
35:00 Tom Cairney produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.
34:28 Tom Cairney takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Parker.
33:46 Valon Behrami challenges George Boateng unfairly and gives away a free kick. Boaz Myhill takes the free kick.
33:34 Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Robert Green. Robert Green takes the free kick.
33:03 Foul by Guillermo Franco on Paul McShane, free kick awarded. Boaz Myhill restarts play with the free kick.
30:51 Free kick awarded for a foul by George Boateng on Scott Parker. Radoslav Kovac restarts play with the free kick.
28:55 Guillermo Franco concedes a free kick for a foul on Anthony Gardner. Direct free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.
28:25 Amr Zaki is penalised for a handball. Indirect free kick taken by Robert Green.
28:03 Carlton Cole is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.
27:35 Valon Behrami takes a shot. Save made by Boaz Myhill.
27:17 Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink challenges Jonathan Spector unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Scott Parker.
26:40 Carlton Cole takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill.
24:58 Jonathan Spector takes the free kick.
24:58 Booking The referee cautions Craig Fagan for unsporting behaviour.
24:53 Free kick awarded for a foul by Craig Fagan on Scott Parker.
24:39 Valon Behrami produces a cross, save by Boaz Myhill.
23:51 Centre by Julien Faubert, clearance by Stephen Hunt.
22:49 Valon Behrami takes a shot. Boaz Myhill makes a save. Corner taken left-footed by Alessandro Diamanti to the near post, George
Boateng makes a clearance.
21:24 Alessandro Diamanti takes a shot from a long way out clearing the bar.
20:42 Centre by Julien Faubert, Effort from close range by Alessandro Diamanti goes wide left of the target.
19:06 Guillermo Franco fouled by Paul McShane, the ref awards a free kick. Alessandro Diamanti takes the direct free kick.
16:57 The ball is crossed by Paul McShane, save made by Robert Green.
15:52 Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink takes a shot. Save made by Robert Green.
15:24 Unfair challenge on Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink by Matthew Upson results in a free kick. Tom Cairney takes the direct free
13:05 Foul by Radoslav Kovac on George Boateng, free kick awarded. Stephen Hunt crosses the ball in from the free kick, Robert Green
makes a save.
10:02 Alessandro Diamanti decides to take a short corner. Scott Parker takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill.
9:32 Corner taken left-footed by Alessandro Diamanti to the near post, clearance made by George Boateng.
8:35 Effort from outside the penalty area by Carlton Cole goes wide left of the goal.
7:37 George Boateng fouled by Guillermo Franco, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Steven Mouyokolo.
4:39 Alessandro Diamanti takes the inswinging corner, Radoslav Kovac has a headed effort from close range and clears the bar.
3:15 Alessandro Diamanti fouled by Craig Fagan, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Alessandro Diamanti.
2:08 The assist for the goal came from Guillermo Franco.
2:08 GOAL - Valon Behrami:West Ham 1 - 0 Hull A goal is scored by Valon Behrami from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. West Ham 1-0 Hull.
0:55 Foul by Stephen Hunt on Julien Faubert, free kick awarded. Alessandro Diamanti has an effort direct from the free kick, save
by Boaz Myhill. Alessandro Diamanti decides to take the corner short.
0:00 The referee gets the game underway.
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