West Ham United’s Angelo Ogbonna headed a second-half winner to give David Moyes’ side a hard-fought Premier League victory at Everton.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, defender Ogbonna netted the only goal in the 74th minute, rising inside the six-yard box to flick home Jarrod Bowen’s corner.
The Hammers dominated the first half but lacked incisiveness in the final third and called Jordan Pickford into action just once.
The England keeper palmed out Bowen’s stinging shot and while Tomas Soucek thought he had found the breakthrough with his follow-up from close range, it was ruled out for offside.
Alex Iwobi missed a glorious opportunity for Everton when he failed to make any contact with the ball from six yards out then in the second half the Nigeria forward’s spin and strike was blocked.
The Toffees could not find an equaliser as their winning run in the league under Rafael Benitez at Goodison Park ended.
West Ham’s victory takes them up to sixth in the table as they leapfrog Everton, who drop to seventh.
Benitez and Moyes were familiar foes on Merseyside during the 2000s when the Spaniard was with Liverpool and the Scotsman at Everton.
Sunday’s victory will taste sweet for Moyes on his return to the club he managed for 11 years – especially as Benitez got the better of him on most occasions during that period.
Benitez has made an impressive start to his time with the blue half of the city and this was just his side’s second league defeat of the campaign.
Summer signings Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend have proved to be excellent bargain buys and the majority of Everton’s attacking play came via the English duo on either flank.
But without the presence of the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison upfront, the hosts struggled to test visiting keeper Lukasz Fabianski, who had a comfortable afternoon.
Stand-in striker Salomon Rondon is yet to get off the mark and came agonisingly close to breaking his duck when he flicked Townsend’s dangerous delivery wide of the far post.
But it was West Ham who took all three points as Ogbonna escaped Ben Godfrey to deflect Bowen’s excellent corner past Pickford and ensure the Londoners picked up just the second victory in their last six games.
Everton players disputed the awarding of the corner from which the goal was scored when Michail Antonio jumped to challenge for a high ball with Pickford – but replays suggested the last touch came from the goalkeeper’s hand.
A clean sheet was welcome too, as it was just their third shut-out in the last 19 top-flight matches, with former Everton loanee Kurt Zouma playing his part by making a vital block from Gray’s shot late on.
The visitors could have had a second right at the end but Bowen’s curled effort was superbly tipped away by Pickford.
Moyes’ side is back in action on Thursday in the Europa League against Genk, knowing a third victory in the group will take them to the cusp of the knockout stages.
Source – BBC