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West Ham United 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United provided a ‘silk and steel’ performance to see off struggling West Bromwich Albion and record their tenth Premier League victory of the season.
David Moyes is clearly stamping his mark on the London Stadium outfit. Having twice been recruited in a fire fighting capacity, the Scotsman is now propelling his side towards the upper echelons of the top division: “It has been tough to get consistency this season, but thankfully we’ve shown bits of it at different times,” he explained.
“We’re in a decent run at this moment in time, but I don’t take any of it for granted. We know we’re going to have to play really well and work very hard in every game we win.”
Former Hammers chief, Sam Allardyce, had tasted victory for the first time since taking over at the Hawthorns. Always one to divide opinion – his time in East London not a topic the West Ham support are particularly keen on. Nevertheless, having done what he was brought in to do almost everywhere he’s been, the Dudley-born Baggies chief was keen to use that success at bitter rivals Wolves as a springboard away from the foot of the table.
But it was the home side who should have snatched an early advantage – Craig Dawson nodding wide against his former employers after Jarrod Bowen’s deep flag-kick had provided the opening.
Matheus Pereira passed up a decent chance for the visitors, firing over after Callum Robinson had initially scampered clear. Meanwhile, Vladimir Coufal’s low strike was deflected behind and Manuel Lanzini tested Sam Johnstone as the side continued to trade early, albeit timid, blows.
Lanzini’s dead-ball attempt was too high, while Benrahma found Johnstone’s gloves as the home side continued to offer the brighter football as opposed to the Baggies blanket defending.
But first-half stoppage-time Bowen was at the right place at the right time to divert home after Coufal had driven Benrahma’s centre back across goal.
But forced to come out of their defensive shell, West Brom became the first team in four matches to breach what has recently been a miserly Hammers rearguard. Pereira sent a stunning left-footed strike low beyond Lukasz Fabianski six minutes after the restart.
Lanzini and Declan Rice were both a whisker away as West Brom were forced onto the back foot. Soon after, Rice went even closer, fizzing an effort across goal after a quick free-kick.
West Ham had responded well and midway through the half they regained their earlier advantage. Aaron Cresswell crossed, Andriy Yarmolenko nodded back across goal and Antonio turned and fired low past the despairing Johnstone in the Albion goal.
Substitute Darnell Furlong was close for the Baggies in the final stages – volleying wide after Kieran Gibbs had picked him out. But West Ham had provided another efficient display and was well worth the three points – the triumph elevating them to seventh place. They now turn their attention to the Emirates FA Cup where they face Doncaster Rovers at the London Stadium on Saturday, January 23 (3pm).
West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Vladimir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Creswell, Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice (Capt), Jarrod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini (Pablo Fornals 62’) Said Benrahma (Andriy Yarmolenko 62’), Michail Antonio (Mark Noble 83’) Subs not used; Darren Randolph (GK), Fabian Balbuena, Alves, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson
Goals: Jarrod Bowen 45+1’, Michail Antonio 65’
West Bromwich Albion: Sam Johnstone, Kieran Gibbs, Kyle Bartley, Semi Ajayi, Callum Robinson, Jake Livermore (Capt) (Hal Robson-Kanu 80’), Matheus Pereira, Kamil Grosicki (Darnell Furlong 70’), Conor Gallagher, Romaine Sawyers, Dara O’Shea Subs not used: David Button (GK), Filip Krovinovic, Branislav Ivanovic, Kyle Edwards, Lee Peltier, Cedric Kipre, Sam Field
Booked: Conor Gallagher (diving)
Goals: Matheus Pereira 51’
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistants: Neil Davies and Simon Long
Fourth Official: Gavin Ward
VAR: Darren England
Assistant VAR: Stephen Child