[AMERICANS ABROAD] Jonathan Spector, whose season at West Ham has been resurrected with his play in its two cup competitions, set up Carlton Cole for the winning goal as the Hammers beat Birmingham City, 2-1, in the first leg of their English League Cup semifinal series.
English national team goalie Ben Foster failed to stop Cole's weak attempt after Birmingham appeared to have escaped Upton Park with a draw when Liam Ridgewell scored in the 56th minute.
The win may have spared West Ham's embattled manager, Israeli Avram Grant, his job.
West Ham finished the game with 10 men after Victor Obinna received a straight red card in the second half.
The second leg will be played on Jan. 26.