West Ham moved up to sixth in the Premier League with a win over 10-man Everton, a result that keeps the Toffees in relegation trouble.
Aaron Cresswell scored a wonderful free-kick to open the scoring for the hosts when he curled the ball past England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at London Stadium.
But Everton, without an away league win since 28 August, started the second half brightly as Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck the angle of post and crossbar before Mason Holgate’s well-controlled half-volley made it 1-1.
However, they were only level for five minutes. Michail Antonio burst clear of the Everton defence and his shot was blocked by Pickford but the rebound fell to Jarrod Bowen, back in the side after recovering from a fractured foot, and he steered the ball into the unguarded net.
Things then got worse for the visitors when captain Michael Keane was sent off midway through the half for his second bookable offence, following his second late challenge on Antonio. There was no way back for the visitors after that.
Everton is 17th in the Premier League, three points clear of 18th-placed Watford. On Wednesday they face a vital game at Burnley, who are 19th.
The Hammers have never played in the Champions League and are now three points behind Tottenham in fourth – the last qualifying spot. Spurs, who beat Newcastle 5-1 later on Sunday, have a game in hand while fifth-placed Arsenal have played three games fewer than the Hammers.
This result continues a hugely impressive season for David Moyes’ side, who face Lyon in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday with Barcelona a potential semi-final opponent if they get there.
If they win that competition it would be their first European trophy since lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965 and would secure a Champions League spot, regardless of their final Premier League position.
At a packed London Stadium, Cresswell’s brilliant free-kick gave them the lead and they had chances to make it 2-0 but Pablo Fornals shot just over and Antonio, after rounding Pickford, could only shoot into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Those misses looked to have been costly when Holgate, a last-minute addition to the Everton side after Donny van de Beek was injured in the warm-up, superbly controlled a half-volley after Richarlison had nudged the ball into his path.
But only a few minutes later Everton’s Alex Iwobi lost possession, Antonio broke clear and Bowen scored the follow-up for his 13th goal of the season in all competitions.
The result continued a terrible run of form for Everton in matches played outside Goodison Park. Indeed, their total of six points from 14 away games this season is the lowest from any of the 92 sides in the Premier League or the EFL.
Their past two away games had seen them thrashed 5-0 and 4-0 by Tottenham and Crystal Palace respectively, with boss Frank Lampard challenging his side’s players to show their character after the second of those losses.
He will be pleased with how they started the second half and their equaliser but equally frustrated by the manner in which they quickly fell behind again and the dismissal of Keane after he had given Michael Oliver no choice but to send him off with a rash sliding challenge on Antonio when already on a yellow card.
Everton, who recently announced losses of £120.9m for the 2020-21 season, have played in English football’s top flight in every season since 1954-55, but they face a battle to keep that run going with 10 games of their season remaining.
Source – BBC Sport