Souček Fires In Winner Against Forest

Just eight days after the 3-2 defeat at Brentford in their last Premier League game, West Ham United were on the right end of the same scoreline as they beat Nottingham Forest in Stratford on Sunday afternoon to notch up their first top-flight victory since September 30.

David Moyes made three changes from the team that faced Olympiacos just three days earlier. Alphonse Areola, Kurt Zouma and Tomáš Souček were all restored to the starting line-up taking the places of Łukasz Fabiański, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Michail Antonio who all dropped to the bench.

The Hammers made the perfect start as they were ahead inside three minutes when Lucas Paquetá took advantage of a mistake from Nicolás Domínguez and beat visiting goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos to send the home fans wild.

Although they were pleased with getting the early advantage, the hosts needed to build on it and they had chances but couldn’t do so.

Instead, Steve Cooper’s side went close to an equaliser. They nearly got it but Areola brilliantly denied Taiwo Awoniyi after he met Harry Toffolo’s cross with a header.

After surviving that scare, the Irons were unlucky not to have gone further in front when the ball found its way to Paquetá again but on this occasion, it was easy for Vlachodimos to gather.

Moyes’ men were piling on the pressure in search of a second. Vladimír Coufal’s cross found Jarrod Bowen but the former Hull City winger failed to get a touch.

Just before half-time however, they were made to pay for not taking one of their opportunities. Ibrahim Sangaré played the perfect ball to Morgan Gibbs-White who tested Areola. Thankfully, the Frenchman kept him out but Awoniyi was given an easy finish to send the teams into the dressing rooms level.

The home side almost started the second-half in the same way as they kicked off the match, as Bowen did well to evade the attentions of both Orel Mangala and Toffolo. He then spotted Emmerson Palmieri and tried to set him up but the former Chelsea defender couldn’t reach the ball.

Just like the match against the Bees the action kept swinging from end to end and after the visitors had missed a chance to go ahead through Awoniyi, Palmieri hit the post. The defender could have really done with hitting the back of the net, as seconds later, the Tricky Trees had turned the game on its head.

Cooper’s men had only won a solitary game on their travels this season, as Anthony Elanga grabbed the winner in a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. Well, he put his team on the way to another success here.

However, drama then followed!!! No sooner had Areola been beaten for a second time, than the home side had equalised. They won a corner and James Ward-Prowse sent over one of his now infamous deliveries. Bowen met it and beat Vlachodimos and with time on their side, Moyes’ men went to see if they can go ahead again. Let me tell you, it nearly happened too!!! Ola Ola Aina sold his goalkeeper short but thankfully for him, although Souček was alert, he couldn’t finish the chance off and only succeeded hitting the crossbar.

With eleven minutes of normal time to play, the Hammers’ boss made his first change, as Edson Álvarez made way for Antonio.

West Ham were still looking for an opportunity to take three points and Souček looked determined to get his name on the scoresheet on eighty five minutes. He sent the latest Ward-Prowse delivery goalwards but the Greek international goalkeeper kept him at bay for a second time.

It was soon third time lucky for Souček, as the same set up brought about the winner. Another Ward-Prowse corner saw the Czech finally get better of Vlachodimos and the East Londoners had completed the turnaround.

Divock Origi entered the fray to take the place of Sangaré late on and he could have still secured a share of points for his side but Areola made another tremendous save to preserve his team’s lead.

There was hope that the East Londoners could extend the margin of victory further when seven minutes of stoppage time were signalled at the end of the ninety, due to the lengthy treatment given to Nayef Aguerd and to their credit, they were still creating chances.

In an attempt to prevent the visitors going back to Nottingham with a point, Moyes made a second change. With five of the seven added minutes having elapsed, Angelo Ogbonna replaced Mohammed Kudus.

With referee Michael Salisbury seemingly not yet ready to blow the final whistle, Aaron Cresswell took the place of Paquetá.

It was hard to know whether the home fans were joyous, or just relieved when Salisbury eventually ended the match but nevertheless, they got the result they so badly need.

The Hammers visit Turf Moor to take on newly-promoted Burnley on 25 November following the international break and they will carry the momentum gained from this result into that game and fingers crossed they get another three points.