Javier Hernandez's controversial goal with his hand contributed to the defeat of Fulham's 18th Premier League as West Ham fought back from behind to win at the London Stadium.
In the initial screening, it appeared that Hernandez was headed by a yard to punish the fault of goalkeeper Sergio Rico, but a repetition behind the goal clearly showed that the Mexican attacker turning from his hand.
Hernandez's equalizer was followed by the crushing header of Issa Diop five minutes before the half-time, and Antonio Antonio conquered a third late.
The visitors started in a bold way and reached the perfect start after just three minutes through the finish of the close range of Ryan Babel – the Dutchman who is defending for a clear joy in 30 seconds.
Looking to return to the game in the second season, Fulham's hunter, Thomas Cernie, had a low shot drowned by goalkeeper Lukáš Fabianski, their only real chance to score.
West Ham moves to the ninth, but Claudio Ranieri's side remains in 19th place – eight points – losing a critical opportunity to redress the 17th Cardiff defeat that lost 5-1 from Watford.
Time spent on Fulham
Fulham needs a remarkable recovery to avoid falling back into the championship.
The club had great hopes of returning to the top flight after a four-year absence and might have waited for the top-10, having become the first forward side to spend £ 100m or more on a shuttle.
But Cottagers struggled badly and Ranieri, who replaced Slajza Jotanovic as director in November, failed to get a porous defense.
The figures seem unhappy with Fulham, they now have:
- He managed to win 61 goals this season.
- They only won four of their 27 games.
- They have lost six of their last seven games.
- Failure to win a game away from home all campaigns.
Liverpool's former Liverpool Beebel finished a quick move to open the scoring early, but that was their only high point, and another former Reds colleague signed in the January transfer window, Lazar Markovic, could not make an impressive debut by bench.
Ranjie said, "We were stable but we did not have the chance to win again. Time is over, but we never give up, we have to be sure and we have to dream and continue to fight.
"I tell my players if we fight, maybe we can win, if we do not fight, we've lost before we play, it's important to stay together and keep trying as much as we can."
Hernandez's arm assistant
West Ham invested heavily in the summer, close to GBP 100 million, and is moving to the top 10 despite the difficult times.
Hammers only won the second win of their last eight games, although their 10 wins this season are equal to the total number of triumphs in the last season.
But the points came from the huge help from Hernandez, who went down to put the ball in the net after goalkeeper Rico was unable to clear a corner and both Michael Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna were pulled.
Referee Lee Mason was at the end of the box, but his view of the incident was hidden from the bodies and an annoyed Ranjire pulled his hand to the tip.
"It is a deliberate applause, Hernandez knew what he was doing," said West Ham's former defender Matthew Upson on BBC Radio 5.
"But Sergio Rico should have done better for the goal, the punch was so bad, you just can not make those mistakes at this level."
Fulham never seemed to return to the game from that point and Diop climbed up from Robert Snodgrass's court.
Deputy Marko Arnautovic, who had a great shot at the bar by Rico, pushed the ball back for Antonio to score the third.
Declan Rice has earned rehearsals for his appearances this season and playing in his first fight since he declared his international availability for England, the average was great once again.
Not only the 20-year-old kept the game playing for his side but gave a consistent defensive look with six races and three spins, recovering the ball 13 times – better than any of his teammates.
Rice told Sky Sports: "The manager was all over me to protect the back four.
"I've played so much on the middle level now that I want to see my future there. I would love to play in this role, but there's still a lot to be done to improve."
Another positive thing for West Ham was the return to action by midfielder Manuel Lanzini, who played the final 14 minutes after being injured in May because of a knee injury.
Man of the Race – Declan Rice (West Ham)
It was handball – Pelerinini
West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini: "We started the game asleep, the first 10 minutes were incredible, after that we played a very good game, scored three goals and we had three or four clear chances.
"It was a complete game – except for the first 10 minutes. You never know the word, maybe we are distancing.
"From my post I could not see the handball I've seen since then and it's handball, no one saw it very clearly then, there were not too many complaints, I do not think the goal decided the game.
"I never complained when I had no results because I do not like excuses but it is very difficult when you have eight or nine injuries but now you see we have players to come back."
Babel's long wait for PL's target – statistics
- The nine derby victories at Fulham's derby are the longest such loss in the history of the football league on either side of London.
- West Ham has completed the championship by doubling Fulham for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, when it was run by Yanfarboro Zola.
- West Ham's victory means Hammers have taken 14 points from the London derbys in the top flight this season (W4 D2 L2). Only the Spurs (15) and Arsenal (16) have done the most.
- Fulham's teammate Claudi Ranjeri is now out of the league in the last 22 Premier League games away from home – the longest run for a manager in the competition by Roy Hodgson in October 2010 (also 22).
- Manuel Pellegrini has won each of the four Premier League matches against Fulham, only against West Brom (6/6), the Chileans have a better 100% return on the competition.
- Ryan Babel's strike for Fulham was the Premier League's first goal since December 2010 (Liverpool v Aston Villa) 3000 days ago.
- West Ham striker Javier Hernandez has become Mexico's first player to score 50 goals for the Premier League. All 50 have been rated from the inside of the box.
- Michael Antonio made the 100th appearance of the Premier League for West Ham in their fight with Fulham. Only Tottenham Hotspur (24) has seen more English playing at least 100 games in the match by Hammers (21).
- Fulham became just the fourth side in the Premier League season to admit at least 60 goals after 27 races of just one campaign. Only Barnsley (63 in 1997-98) admitted more than Fulham 61 so far this season.
West Ham travels to the Manchester City champions on Wednesday (20:00 GMT) while Fulham faces Southampton in St Mary's on the same day (19:45).