Emergency goalkeeper Henri Lansbury kept out Blackpool as 10-man West Ham returned to the top of the npower Championship with a superb 4-1 victory.
In the absence of a specialist replacement, on-loan Arsenal midfielder Lansbury was summoned from the bench to reprise a role he briefly filled for England Under-21s last season after Robert Green was sent off for a professional foul on Blackpool substitute Roman Bednar in the 53rd minute.
At that stage United were 2-1 to the good following a dominant first-half display. James Tomkins planted a header past Matt Gilks and Nicky Maynard slotted home a second as West Ham scored two goals in four minutes, but Kevin Phillips brought the Seasiders back into the contest on the stroke of half-time when he nodded home Alex Baptiste's speculative cross..
But Ian Holloway's men rarely resembled a side on a seven-match unbeaten run and, with the exception of some routine handling that drew huge cheers from the away support, Lansbury was largely untroubled as Gary O'Neil and Ricardo Vaz Te completed a handsome victory.
O'Neil lashed a crisp 20-yard drive into the bottom corner after Winston Reid's effort from Vaz Te's corner was blocked by Stephen Crainey and Vaz Te raced clear of a largely absent Seasiders defence to open his Hammers account in the final minute.
West Ham are now one point ahead of Southampton at the summit with a game in hand, while Middlesbrough's victory at Millwall means Blackpool drop out of the top six.