West Ham United 2-0 Leeds United
West Ham United moved back into fifth place in the Premier League after winning a bright and breezy encounter against a lively Leeds United outfit.
David Moyes’ side was looking for a league double over Leeds having triumphed by the odd goal in three when the sides met back in December.
“When we saw Leeds in the Championship we always knew they were going to cause problems,” the Scotsman explained.
“We got a good result at Elland Road and hopefully, we can back that up at the London Stadium.”
The Hammers had fallen behind during the early stages of that victory in West Yorkshire. On this occasion, they got off lightly despite a similarly sloppy start. Hélder Costa blazed over from a good position, then both Tyler Roberts and Patrick Bamford found the net, only to be denied by an assistants flag.
Tomas Soucek was unable to direct Michail Antonio’s centre goalwards as the home side offered a threat of their own. Then, with their next meaningful foray forward, Luke Ayling clipped Jesse Lingard – the Manchester United loanee following up to score from close range after Illan Meslier had rebuffed his spot-kick.
Aaron Cresswell’s dead-ball effort deflected the wrong side of an upright, but from Creswell’s resulting flag-kick, Craig Dawson arrived to powerfully head the Hammers second of the evening.
It was a little harsh on Leeds who had started the game well. Said Benrahma and Lingard fired over, then Benrahma again tried his luck – keeper Meslier shovelled the effort behind as the East Londoners continued to press ruthlessly. Dawson nodded against the foot of a post as the opening period drew to its conclusion.
Bamford passed up a huge chance to reduce the arrears three minutes after the restart. The former Chelsea graduate fired wide after nipping between Issa Diop and Dawson. Meanwhile, Lukasz Fabianski had to be on his metal, tipping over Raphinha’s overhead kick.
Pablo Fornals smacked the face of the bar with a thumping strike from distance, while Benrahma wasn’t far away after darting from deep and Declan Rice twice had efforts blocked as the Hammers again flashed their hand.
Leeds refused to buckle. Raphinha forced Fabianski into a smart save, while Jack Harrison scuffed wide. Rice drove wide for the hosts – a timely reminder that they remained in the ascendancy, bolstered further when Bamford fired horribly over from close range – the visitors toil remaining fruitless.
Dawson knocked off the line after a clutch of potential takers failed to profit from Ayling’s low, driven centre – the visitors, as impressive as they were, remaining out of luck.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Sunday, March 14 when they take on Manchester United at Old Trafford (7:15pm).
West Ham United: Łukasz Fabiański, Vladimir Coufal, Issa Diop, Craig Dawson, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice (Capt), Tomas Souček, Said Benrahma (Jarrod Bowen 73’), Pablo Fornals, Jesse Lingard (Ben Johnson 87’), Michail Antonio Subs not used: David Martin (GK), Nathan Trott (GK), Fabian Balbuena, Mark Noble, Manuel Lanzini, Mipo Odubeko
Booked: Jesse Lingard (ungentlemanly conduct)
Goals: Jesse Lingard 21’, Craig Dawson 27’
Leeds United: Illan Meslier, Luke Ayling, Diego Llorente, Liam Cooper (Capt), Hélder Costa (Jack Harrison 46’), Kalvin Phillips, Mateusz Klich (Ezgjan Alioski 46′), Stuart Dallas, Raphinha, Tyler Roberts (Rodrigo 60’), Patrick Bamford Subs not used: Elia Caprile (GK), Ian Poveda, Leif Davis, Gaetano Beradi, Jack Jenkins, Niall Huggins
Booked: Kalvin Phillips (foul)
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Darren Cann and Derek Eaton
Fourth Official: Graham Scott
VAR: Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart