Everton 1-3 West Ham: Hammers back on track after late win at Goodison Park

Soucek helped West Ham claim a late win (REUTERS)
Soucek helped West Ham claim a late win (REUTERS)

Handed back four points in the courtroom this week, Everton here had three snatched away by a terrific West Ham fightback, one that confirms the Hammers' European push as firmly back on course.

After 90 minutes the tale looked set to be one of twin redemptions: Everton striker Beto had been denied from the spot by the outstanding Alphonse Areola, then scored his team’s opener, before Kurt Zouma, whose handball conceded the penalty, replied with a header of his own.

But in stoppage time, first Tomas Soucek and then Edson Alvarez produced fine finishes to make it two wins in a week for West Ham, David Moyes back in the good books, his team into the top-seven and spirits raised ahead of Thursday’s trip to Freiburg in the Europa League’s last-16.

On Friday, ahead of this latest return to his troubled former club, Moyes had praised the work of Sean Dyche, the Toffees boss making a fair fist of guiding the club through yet another turbulent patch. Pressure now, though, is growing, his side booed off here having not won since mid-December. In truth, the hosts’ performance merited more, but any optimism sparked by the easing in their FFP sanction from ten points to six is already on the slide.

West Ham were themselves on a bleak winless run of eight matches prior to Monday night’s 4-2 victory over Brentford and Moyes unsurprisingly named an unchanged team, Kalvin Phillips made to bide his time among the substitutes despite being available again after suspension.

Dyche, meanwhile, left Dominic Calvert-Lewin out of his lineup in favour of Beto, the former without a goal in 20 matches since scoring the winner in the reverse fixture at the London Stadium in October.

In grim, grey conditions, the first-half slipped and slid between spells of pressure at either end, though with few signs of penetration until, within sight of the interval, the hosts were presented with a stellar chance to appease a restless crowd.

Zouma was slow out to Beto, the forward’s cross beating his outstretched leg but not an outstretched arm. Referee Craig Pawson is unpopular in these parts, having failed to send off Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate in last year’s Merseyside derby, but called to the pitchside monitor needed only a brief look before pointing to the spot.

Needed: Moyes now has two wins in a week after pressure built (REUTERS)
Needed: Moyes now has two wins in a week after pressure built (REUTERS)

The penalty was the first awarded to the Toffees all season and regular taker Calvert-Lewin, so in need of a goal, must have cursed his luck at being sat on the bench. Instead, Beto stepped up but never looked sure, a tame effort parried away by Areola in the visiting goal.

The Frenchman, an unsung hero in ensuring Monday’s win over Brentford did not become needlessly nervy late on, had already made a smart stop to deny the same player when slipped in by Dwight McNeil.

Amends were made, though, before the hour. James Garner boomed a wonderful early cross towards the back post and Konstantinos Mavropanbos went to sleep, allowing Beto free run off his back to nod home inside six yards.

Helpless in that instance, Areola kept West Ham in it in the next, a reflex grab keeping out McNeil’s cushioned volley from Jack Harrison’s cross when he ought really to have been given no chance.

In the other direction, on opposite flanks, Mohammed Kudus and Lucas Paqueta had each shown flashes of brilliance but too far apart, and too far from goal. Through the middle, Monday’s hat-trick scorer Jarrod Bowen found life rather more difficult against the twin pillars of James Tarkowski and Jarrad Branthwaite.

Instead, it fell to a source that of late had run dry to provide the equaliser. After a prolific start to the season in terms of both goals and assists, James Ward-Prowse had contributed only a couple of spot-kicks since the turn of the year, but delivered here with a fiendish in-swinging corner headed into the corner by Zouma against his former club.

If a tight scoreline was in keeping with most pre-match predictions then what was by now a wildly open game was anything but. Jordan Pickford and Branthwaite each made last-ditch sliding challenges, while Areola was being forced into perhaps his finest game in a West Ham shirt simply to preserve the draw.

In the end, though, the Frenchman’s brilliance was rewarded with more than that, Soucek driving in off the outside of his boot and then Alvarez dinking home on the break to grab all three points.