Hammers Give Real Sting To Bees

In my preview to Monday night’s home game with Brentford, I mentioned that earlier this season, David Moyes managed to engineer West Ham United’s first ever Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion and now, he has done the same against the Bees after a 4-2 success in Stratford.

The Hammers’ boss stated in his pre-match news conference ahead of the game on Friday that Lucas Paquetá had been back in training but he wasn’t sure whether the Brazilian would be ready to be involved in the starting line-up. However, he was named as a starter in place of Michail Antonio. Kalvin Phillips was sent off for the first time in his career during the 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest last time out, meaning he was replaced by Tomáš Souček, while Konstantinos Mavropanos was preferred to Nayef Aguerd in defence.

Youngsters Divin Mubama, Oliver Scarles and George Earthy were included in the matchday squad.

The atmosphere was electric before the London derby against Arsenal here back on February 11 however, it wasn’t the case by the end of that match. Those in attendance for this game were certainly up for the occasion and were delighted with the team’s start to the encounter.

The hosts could have been ahead as early as the third minute when Souček sent a shot over the bar from close-range after getting on the end of a flick-on from James Ward-Prowse.

It would have been great if the Czech international had buried that chance but it didn’t matter, as just two minutes later, Jarrod Bowen had put the home side ahead as he fired into the back of the net past visiting goalkeeper Mark Flekken after Emmerson Palmieri had played him in, following a great team move.

Bowen hadn’t scored since the original FA Cup third- round tie against Bristol City but two minutes later he increased the advantage for the Irons. After linking up to good effect with Mohammed Kudus and Vladimír Coufal.

In a crazy thirteen-minute period another six minutes had passed before there was another goal. Unfortunately, on this occasion, it was for Thomas Frank’s side!!! Neal Maupay scored in the reverse fixture between these two and he was on hand to beat home stopper Alphonse Areola and halve the deficit.

The travelling support wanted a penalty after a challenge from Kudus on Tottenham Hotspur loanee Sergio Reguilón but thankfully for the majority inside the stadium, referee Simon Hooper gave nothing.

Brentford then got involved in the action, as there were chances at both ends but it was Paquetá who missed what was probably the best of the bunch when he sent an effort well over the bar.

The returning midfielder makes a real difference for the East Londoners and the home fans were certainly enjoying seeing him back in action as he continually showed them what they had been missing when he tried his luck again but he failed to trouble Flekken with a volleyed attempt.

Kudus had a go minutes later but he unfortunately followed his teammate’s lead and saw the ball go wide.

This was similar to the reverse fixture back on November 4 in that it was an open game and there could have been more goals before half-time with the Hammers carrying the greater threat. Kudus was still applying pressure but couldn’t get his name on the scoresheet. Up the other end, a culmination of Areola and Mavropanos kept Brentford at bay.

Souček passed up another chance to put his side further in front as his header missed the target, before he again latched onto a Ward-Prowse free-kick but couldn’t beat Flekken. However his blushes were spared, as the linesman’s flag was raised.

In complete contrast to the last two games, the home fans were happy with their side’s performance and were just waiting to see what would happen in the second-half.

The combative nature of the encounter continued in the second half with both teams still having chances but the scoreline stayed as it was.

Frank’s Bees had a couple of attempts but in truth, neither of them were a worry for Areola.

Despite the number of games that Bowen has played during his career, it may surprise people that he has never scored a hat-trick. Well, now he has!!! On sixty three minutes he changed that particular statistic, as he was on the end of a cross from Kudus and unchallenged, he sent a header flying past a helpless Flekken.

The home support only had to wait another five minutes to see their team score again and when Palmieri’s shot hit the net, three sides of the stadium erupted!!! Frank Onyeka failed to properly clear the ball and it dropped invitingly for the former Chelsea defender who smashed it past Flekken.

Both managers made changes with just over ten minutes to play, as Brentford’s Danish boss introduced Mikkel Damsgaard to take the place of Mathias Jensen, while Moyes sent on Antonio for Paquetá.

Yoane Wissa had entered the fray for Maupay and less than ten minutes after his introduction, the Democratic Republic of the Congo international made it a nervy finish for the Irons, as the visitors reduced the arrears once again.

There were even more nerves amongst the home faithful when seven minutes of added time were signalled at the end of the ninety. With all that time remaining Moyes decided to make his second change, bringing on Ben Johnson for Kudus.

You have to say that was a good move from the Scotsman, as no more goals were scored, meaning West Ham had finally ended that long wait for a victory in 2024. They will want to follow it up when they go to Goodison Park to face Everton on Saturday afternoon.