West Ham boosted their hopes of European football next season with an entertaining 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Everton at the London Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday.
Goals from Aaron Cresswell and Jarrod Bowen either side of Mason Holgate’s strike set the Hammers on their way. Everton’s misery was compounded when Michael Keane saw red for a late challenge on Michail Antonio, leaving the Toffees with ten men for the last half hour.
It was a relatively quiet first half in terms of chances, but Cresswell turned up the volume with a moment of individual quality, curling home a beautiful free-kick. Richarlison came closest to finding a response for Everton when he lifted a left-footed effort over the crossbar from Jordan Pickford’s goal kick.
Holgate drew Everton level seven minutes into the second half with a deflected, right-footed strike, but as quickly as they responded they were behind, when Bowen was on hand to bury the ball from close-range after Pickford had saved from Antonio’s initial effort.
Frank Lampard’s side were reduced to ten men with little under half an hour to play when Keane received a second yellow card, leaving them with a mountain which they were unable to climb, resulting in defeat which does nothing to ease their relegation woes.
Up next, West Ham must prepare for their eagerly anticipated Europa League quarter-final first leg clash with Lyon at the London Stadium on Thursday night. As for Everton, they face a massive trip to relegation rivals Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday night, where there will be no margin for error as the battle for survival intensifies.
TALKING POINT- HAPPY HAMMERS; TROUBLED TOFFEES
West Ham were made to work for the three points. However, they showed the kind of grit and determination that is required at the top level. Ahead of a massive European night on Thursday, they didn’t allow themselves to be distracted and when up against it early in the second half, they responded in kind to get the job done professionally. As for Everton, they can take positives from elements of their performance. However, a lack of discipline resulted in a red card which they could definitely have done without. The result places huge emphasis on their midweek trip to relegation rivals Burnley, a match which could have huge implications on who stays up.
MAN OF THE MATCH – JARROD BOWEN (WEST HAM)
Having been out with injury, Moyes had reservations about starting Bowen. However, the forward showed why his manager was right to take the gamble. He was sharp, lively and in the right place at the right time to score what turned out to be the winning goal. Bowen has been at the heart of West Ham’s success this season and it’s a massive boost for the Hammers to have him back firing, especially with a Europa League quarter-final just days away. Many are suggesting the next logical step for Bowen is an England call up, and only time will tell whether this will become a reality.
West Ham: Fabianski 7, Fredericks 7, Zouma 7, Dawson 7, Cresswell 8, Soucek 7, Rice 7, Fornals 7, Benrahma 7, Bowen 8, Antonio 7.
Subs: Noble 6, Yarmolenko 6.
Everton: Pickford 6, Kenny 6, Godfrey 6, Keane 5, Mykolenko 6, Holgate 7, Doucoure 6, Iwobi 6, Gray 6, Richarlison 6, Calvert-Lewin 6.
Subs: Gordon 6.
31’ GOAL! WEST HAM 1-0 EVERTON (CRESSWELL) – Deadlock broken and it’s first blood to the Hammers! A wonderful free-kick from Aaron Cresswell leaves Pickford well beaten. The left-back curls the ball left-footed into the postage stamp to give West Ham the lead at the London Stadium!
53’ GOAL! WEST HAM 1-1 EVERTON (HOLGATE) – There it is, Everton are back in this game and it’s the man who wasn’t meant to be on the pitch, Holgate, who grabs the equaliser! West Ham can’t clear their lines from a corner, Richarlison tees up Holgate who gets over the ball and guides it brilliantly into the bottom right corner…game on!
58’ GOAL! WEST HAM 2-1 EVERTON (BOWEN) – Just as Everton found their way back into the game, they fall behind! Antonio is set one-on-one against Pickford who saves the shot, but the rebound falls to Bowen who tucks the ball into an empty net! West Ham are back in front!
65’ RED CARD FOR KEANE! (EVERTON) – Oh dear, Keane receives a second yellow card for a late challenge on Antonio and Everton are down to ten men. The game is gradually slipping away from them which is disappointing considering how they began the second half in such a positive manner.