West Ham United suffered their first home defeat since 30 December on Wednesday night, as Newcastle United beat them 5-1 in Stratford.
After a vital three points against Southampton on Sunday, the Hammers climbed out of the bottom three on goal-difference and they were looking to pull further clear of danger with a win here.
David Moyes only made one change from the victory against the Saints, as Michail Antonio was preferred to Danny Ings who dropped to the bench.
Following that 1-0 win at the weekend, Moyes’ men could well have made the perfect start here. When referee Craig Pawson got the action underway, Jarrod Bowen went close but his effort took a deflection off Bruno Guimarães and nearly beat visiting goalkeeper Nick Pope.
To be honest, the Irons could have done with taking that early chance because from then on, they had a mountain to climb. Minutes later, Callum Wilson once again reminded West Ham of his presence when he headed Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross past Łukasz Fabiański.
Eddie Howe’s side were then really piling on the pressure and extended their advantage seven minutes later when Joelinton slotted the ball into the net.
The hosts still had time to get back into this game but they needed to score quickly if that was going to be the case. Trying to recover from what had happened to them, they definitely responded. Lucas Paquetá might have reduced the deficit but Pope managed to get a hand to the Brazilian midfielder’s effort, before Antonio tried his luck but nothing was coming off for the home side.
After a less than impressive start to the game, the East Londoners began to get a foothold and this was noticed by the majority inside the stadium, as the volume was certainly cranked up a notch. A great team move involving Paquetá and Captain Declan Rice set up Antonio but the move only resulted in the frontman’s attempt being put behind by defender Sven Botman.
In the end, their persistence was to pay off, as minutes before the break, Bowen’s corner was met by Kurt Zouma who finally beat Pope to have the crowd believing that there was still something in this game for their side.
You would imagine that Moyes would’ve told his side to keep going when he gave his half-time team talk but just seconds after Pawson had blown his whistle for the start of the second-half, those words weren’t heeded. Right from the kick-off, a mistake from Nayef Aguerd meant that Jacob Murphy was able to play the ball back to Wilson who did the rest and finished past Fabiański with ease.
A flurry of substitutions were then introduced by both managers, with Moyes hoping to see his side find a way back into the game.
One of those changes saw Maxwel Cornet introduced and, although the Ivorian produced a couple of driving runs into the box, he was unable to make the desired impact. Paquetá was also trying to get involved but to be fair, it was all too little too late for the Irons.
The visitors were still proving a threat but Fabiański denied them on a number of occasions. However, it wasn’t until the eighty second minute that the fourth goal arrived. The former Arsenal and Swansea City stopper came racing out of his goal to allow Alexander Isak to place the ball into the empty net.
Joelinton helped himself to a second goal with just minutes of normal time to play, as the home side’s misery was compounded and West Ham would have been relieved to hear Pawson’s final whistle as a miserable evening ended.
Having had such a good record at home in recent weeks, West Ham now need to improve results on the road, starting with a visit to newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday afternoon.