The bubbles fade and die. West Ham needs more than a fortune to make their Champions League dream come true now.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal gave the Hammers top four a crushing blow as Everton kept their European ambitions alive with this narrow win.
Five points behind fourth-seeded Leicester with three games to play means that qualifying for top European football isn’t impossible – but even West Ham’s staunchest supporter knows it’s a challenge.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin celebrates after scoring his team’s goal against West Ham on Sunday
Calvert-Lewin ended coolly after being played on goal by teammate Ben Godfrey
The Everton star watches as his shot passes goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski
Calvert-Lewin is congratulated by his teammates after breaking the deadlock in London
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 6; Coufal 6.5, Dawson 6, Diop 6.5, Cresswell 6 (Fredericks 59, 6); Soucek 6.5, Lanzini 6 (Bowen 43,6); Fornals 7, Lingard 6.5, Benrahma 6 (Yarmolenko 73); Antonio 6
Subs not used: Randolph, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Johnson, Odubeko, Coventry. Booked: Lingard
Booked: Soucek, Lingard
David Moyes: 6
Everton (4-4-2): Pickford 6; Godfrey 7.5, Mina 7.5 (Holgate 62, 6.5), Keane 8, Digne 7; Coleman 6.5, Davies 7, Allan 7, Sigurdsson 6.5 (Delph 85); Richarlison 7.5 (King 84); Calvert-Lewin 7
Subs not used: Olsen, Doucoure, Iwobi, Nkounkou, Bernard, Gomes
Target: Calvert-Lewin 24
Referee: Stuart Attwell: 6.5
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Competition 1
- A competition
- The competition
By the time their team travels to Brighton on Saturday, Liverpool could be fifth on points and Everton above them.
This loss was West Ham’s third in four games. David Moyes’ team runs out of steam at the wrong time. By the end here they ran out of ideas.
Defensively, Everton was exceptional and Michael Keane in particular proved a point for the English assistant coach Steve Holland with a towering display. But it was up to West Ham to force the issue – their dreams depended on it – and it’s hard to argue that they did so without firing shots at the target.
This was Carlo Ancelotti’s first win over Moyes – and his team deserved their win.
West Ham manager David Moyes shows his frustration during the Premier League game
However, it is West Ham who will feel this result the most. Finishing in the top four was always going to be a huge challenge, especially as they were tipped for relegation at the start of the season. Securing a spot in the Europa League would still be a thing of course, but when you’re so close to the unthinkable it’s hard to focus on anything else.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s vicious corner that happened to turn Tomas Soucek behind him in the 10th minute was a sign of what was to come, although there was little between the teams during a tight 20-minute opening.
Everton came into action in the 24th minute and provided the decisive moment. Defender Ben Godfrey created the opening, his slide rule passed the Calvert-Lewin path and cut the West Ham defenses in two.
Jesse Lingard is dejected to the ground after the referee’s full-time whistle
Thanks to the English attacker, his move to lose Craig Dawson’s attention was exceptional and once he escaped the clutches of the Hammers man he was beyond capture. His finish was also convincing, an oblique shot past Lukasz Fabianski to give his match the lead.
Were Everton worth their benefit? Ancelotti would say yes. But in reality, it was hard to justify both teams leading the way.
Not that the visitors were bothered by that. And Calvert-Lewin’s goal provoked a reaction from the home side.
Two minutes later, Said Benrahma saw his targeted shot wide of target, before Jesse Lingard’s archer flew just past Jordan Pickford’s far post.
The Everton players are celebrating after securing what could turn out to be a crucial away win
Still, the Hammers could easily have been two goals behind half-time – Fabianski came to the rescue 10 minutes before half-time to deny Richarlison, who was sent clear.
Benrahma missed another opportunity in the 39th minute by sending his header from Pablo Fornals’ cross inches over the bar. Things didn’t get much better for the Hammers as the first half drew to a close and Manuel Lanzini limped to be replaced by Jarrod Bowen.
With Declan Rice and Mark Noble both injured, the last thing Moyes needs is more players at the treatment table.
Left back and captain for the day Aaron Cresswell limped just before the hour to compound concerns. That’s the way it is now with West Ham.
Moyes pushes his way off the field after seeing his party’s top four take a massive blow
They controlled the second period, but you always felt that Everton’s rearguard was in control. Fornals’ shot, which would have caused Pickford a problem, was next repulsed by Tom Davies. And even when Everton’s goalkeeper was defeated, the post came to his rescue – Vladimir Coufal hit the upright position with little effort after Fornals’ pass.
Ancelotti breathed a sigh of relief, while Moyes stuck out his cheeks in exasperation.
His team knocked on the door, but Everton had everything locked. Lingard was booked for dissent when the game started the last 15 minutes, frustration etched on his face.
He knew what this defeat meant. But West Ham simply couldn’t find its way past Everton’s stingy defenses.
Substitute Josh King missed a golden opportunity to ease Everton’s tensions just seconds after hitting the post in the 84th minute and hitting the post with a header from close range. At this point West Ham had explored all avenues and failed. Their Champions League tilt seems destined to suffer the same fate.
Scroll down to see how it all went with Sportmail’s live runner.