They may not have met too many times during their long managerial careers but David Moyes has not yet lost to a team managed by Dean Smith and he extended that record on Wednesday night as West Ham United beat newly-promoted Norwich City in Stratford on Wednesday night.
The Hammers’ boss made two changes to the team that beat fellow Premier League side Leeds United in the third round of the FA Cup just three days earlier, as Aaron Cresswell started a match for the first time since suffering a back injury in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City back on 28 November, as he came in for Ben Johnson. Tomáš Souček missed the game through illness and was replaced by Pablo Fornals. Vladimír Coufal and Łukasz Fabiański were rested for Sunday’s FA Cup tie but both regained their places with the Polish goalkeeper making his 300th top-flight appearance.
Moyes named a number of youngsters on the bench including a first involvement at this level for Development Squad player Pierre Ekwah Elimby.
West Ham had made a strong start to the New Year and were desperate to continue that run of form against the division’s bottom side.
They could have been in front in the opening stages of the game as Manuel Lanzini played a great ball out to Jarrod Bowen who tried his luck but his effort was well held by visiting goalkeeper Tim Krul.
In the sixth minute, the Argentine had a go himself but only succeeded in firing over the bar.
Both sides had chances but the hosts were really dominating and on the half-hour mark, Lanzini had the chance to make amends for his earlier miss but didn’t do so as again it was way off target.
Cresswell played a short corner into Bowen’s feet and he crossed for Issa Diop to head into the net on thirty six minutes but unfortunately, it was quickly disallowed, as the Frenchman was coming back from an offside position.
Bowen was determined to add to his goal against Leeds and he did just that three minutes before half-time, as he was on the end of Coufal’s cross to head past Krul.
West Ham were just pleased that their hard work had paid off as referee Simon Hooper blew the whistle for the break and they were hoping that that particular pattern would continue in the second-half.
Michail Antonio had a chance to increase his side’s advantage shortly after the restart. The former Nottingham Forest man got the better of visiting skipper Grant Hanley but unfortunately couldn’t keep his composure and his shot flew over Krul’s bar.
The relentless pressure from the East Londoners did not let up for Smith’s side, as Bowen still wanted more and went close again when he combined well with Fornals and the Spaniard sent the former Hull City winger through on goal but, when he tried to beat the former Newcastle United stopper, he unfortunately hit the bar.
Adam Idah was inches away from equalising for the visitors but Fabiański somehow got a hand to his effort and diverted it onto the post.
Moyes made his first change with twelve minutes of normal time to play when he introduced Arthur Masuaku into the action to take the place of Nikola Vlašić.
Six minutes later, West Ham wrapped up the points when a great team involving Masuaku and Fornals resulted in Bowen claiming his second goal of the night, as he sent a right-footed effort past a helpless Krul.
There was a brief cameo appearance for Andriy Yarmolenko as he came on for Antonio in the eighty eighth minute.
After three minutes of stoppage time had been successfully negotiated, West Ham were able to celebrate their second home win in just three days which would have delighted their loyal fan base.
The Irons will be hoping to make it another success in Stratford when Marcelo Bielsa returns with his Leeds side on Sunday afternoon.