Birmingham – West Ham United's Declan Rice scored a fine goal from distance as the rampant Londoners breezed past Aston Villa 4-1 in their Premier League clash at Villa Park on Sunday to pile the pressure on home manager Dean Smith.
The visitors hit the front in the seventh minute when full back Ben Johnson cut inside from the right and fired a brilliant left-footed shot into the far corner.
Jarrod Bowen almost doubled the lead minutes later from a rapid counter-attack before Villa equalised in the 34th through Ollie Watkins, who finished with aplomb following a reverse pass from Matty Cash.
West Ham, however, kept up the pressure and were rewarded when Rice restored their lead before halftime.
The home side's hopes of a comeback suffered a blow when Ezri Konsa was sent off almost immediately after the restart for impeding Bowen who was clear on goal.
Villa rallied valiantly and created a string of chances but were caught twice on the break, with Pablo Fornals and Bowen each finishing off slick counter-attacking moves and putting the game beyond Villa's reach.
West Ham are fourth in the standings with 20 points – behind champions Manchester City on goal difference – after 10 games. Villa are 10 points adrift of the Hammers in 15th.