West Ham United have now won four straight European matches for the first time in the club’s history following a narrow 3-2 win over Danish Superliga side Silkeborg IF at JYSK Park Stadium on Thursday night.
Aaron Cresswell made his 300th appearance for the club as he returned to the defence, while Craig Dawson made his first start of the 2022/23 campaign. Lucas Paquetá replaced Flynn Downes in midfield with the former Swansea City man dropping out of the starting line-up.
Among the twelve substitutes available to David Moyes were youngster Connor Coventry, as well as midfielder Tomáš Souček. Goalkeepers Darren Randolph and Łukasz Fabiański were also named.
The Hammers wanted to build on last week’s success against FCSB in Stratford but the start to this match was very similar to that of a week ago. They had to deal with the blow of going behind again, as Kasper Kusk found a way past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola after just five minutes. He was on the end of Lukas Engel’s cross and shot past the Frenchman.
The hosts piled on the pressure and Søren Tengstedt was in a good position to set up Anders Klynge but fortunately for the Irons, his effort wasn’t even close to hitting the target.
Moyes’ men were given a route back into the contest against the Romanians when a penalty was awarded and that is the same way that they found the equaliser here. On thirteen minutes, a needless push by Tobias Salquist on Maxwel Cornet resulted in referee Fábio Veríssimo pointing to the spot.
Jarrod Bowen thumped in the effort on that occasion, but this week, Manuel Lanzini came up with the same result and the scores were level.
West Ham soon made up for a slow start in some style just twelve minutes later. Gianluca Scamacca seems to have a knack of scoring against Danish teams, as he struck in both legs of the play-off match against Viborg FF but this one was the pick of the bunch. The Italian striker gave home stopper Nicolai Larsen no chance and sent a rocket of a shot past him.
The Danes thought they’d equalised soon after but it was ruled out for a foul on Areola. However, replays showed that the away team may have got away with the decision.
The East Londoners certainly had a foothold on the game by this point and Emmerson Palmieri was keen to try and build on his goal in the opening Group B match but unfortunately for the former Chelsea man, Larsen was there to deny him.
Seconds later and there was more joy for the travelling fans, as Dawson got his name on the scoresheet. The former Rochdale, West Bromwich Albion and Watford defender powered a header past Larsen after meeting Cresswell’s corner.
At half-time, the visitors looked comfortable after giving the home side a quick start and were desperate to add more goals.
That didn’t quite happen though!!! Although the East Londoners were trying everything they could to really finish off the Danish outfit, they just couldn’t make the most of their chances.
Moyes then made a triple change on sixty three minutes with Tomáš Souček, Saïd Benrahma and Bowen replacing Declan Rice, Paquetá and Scamacca.
West Ham had a chance to go further ahead from a corner but after losing possession, the hosts went on the attack and punished their opponents. Tonni Adamsen had his attempt kept out by Areola, only for Tengstedt to pick up the rebound and reduce the deficit to one.
Adamsen nearly levelled matters six minutes later but thankfully, the former Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper made a superb save to ensure his sides’ advantage stayed intact.
Cornet had an effort controversially ruled out in the recent Premier League game at Chelsea and he was frustrated again here as the flag was raised.
Two further changes were made by Moyes in an effort to make sure that the Hammers held onto the victory with Pablo Fornals and Coventry entering the fray for both Cornet and Lanzini.
The home side may have given West Ham a tough game but in the end, the final whistle meant that the East Londoners were able to extend their lead at the top of the group. European action takes a break until October 6 but attention now turns back to the Premier League for the Irons, as they make the trip to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon where they will come up against Frank Lampard and his Everton side.