Wolves 2-3 West Hammers: Hammers hold off fightback to finish fourth with three goal blitz in first half

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Jesse Lingard can claim to be West Ham’s signing of the century after inspiring his team to a feat they hadn’t achieved in nearly 100 years.

The loaned Manchester United star’s electrical performance in the first half provided a league double against Wolves for the first time since the 1922-23 season when David Moyes’ team shot past Chelsea to the top four.

Lingard now has six goals and three assists since his winter resistance at Old Trafford. Many more such gigs will take West Ham to the Champions League and Lingard to England’s starting XI for the Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.

Jesse Lingard inspired West Ham to a thrilling 3-2 win over Wolves to finish fourth in the table

Jesse Lingard inspired West Ham to a thrilling 3-2 win over Wolves to finish fourth in the table

The England midfielder scored the first before having a hand in two in a stunning first half

The England midfielder scored the first before having a hand in two in a stunning first half

The England midfielder scored the first before having a hand in two in a stunning first half

Lingard got the ball in half before jumping past defenders and heading home early

Lingard got the ball in half before jumping past defenders and heading home early

Lingard got the ball in half before jumping past defenders and heading home early

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER REVIEWS

Wolves (4-2-3-1): Rui Patricio 5.5; Semedo 5.5, Coady 5, Saiss 4.5, Ait-Nouri 5.5; Neves 5, Dendoncker 6; Neto 6.5, Podence 6 (Silva 46, 6), Traore 6.5; Willian Jose 5.5 (Vitinha 72, 6). Subs not used: Ruddy, Hoever, Gibbs-White, Richards, Kilman, Otasowie, Marques.

Scorers: Dendoncker 44, Silva 68

Booked: Neves

Trainer: Nuno Espirito Santo 5.5

West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 7; Coufal 6.5, Diop 6.5, Dawson 6, Cresswell 6; Noble 6, Soucek 7; Fornals 7 (Benrahma 78,6), Lingard 8.5, Masuaku 6.5 (Johnson 67,6); Antonio 7 (Bowen 36, 7.5). Subs not used: Martin, Trott, Balbuena, Alves, Fredericks, Odubeko.

Scorers: Lingard 6, Fornals 14, Bowen 38

Booked: Dawson, Diop, Soucek, Lingard

Manager: David Moyes 7

Referee: Michael Oliver 6

Goals from Lingard, Pablo Fornals and substitute Jarrod Bowen in the first half gave the visitors, without Declan Rice due to a knee injury, control of an exciting encounter.

Leander Dendoncker withdrew one just before half-time and substitute Fabio Silva took care of a nerve-racking finish with Wolves’ second in the 68th minute.

Wolves winger Pedro Neto made the right to Lingard shortly after the final whistle as players raced from both sides to separate them.

Moyes admitted that West Ham, who lost to Michail Antonio to a hamstring injury before half time, feared a repeat of the recent game against Arsenal when they were leading 3-0 but still tied.

“For a manager it is torture and it felt like déjà vu,” he said. ‘We didn’t manage that well, but part of our game in the first half was sparkling.

‘I hear experts talk about West Ham, who has a chance to win the Champions League.

‘Nobody had foreseen or mentioned that last season. Can we continue? We are going to try to compete with the big teams until the end. ‘

“I haven’t played much in the past two years, so playing week after week is good,” Lingard added.

‘I thought it would be another Arsenal, which had to give in just before half time. But the boys kept their focus. ‘

The night started off badly for Wolves when the club announced that fullback Jonny Otto had suffered his second serious knee injury in eight months.

Willy Boly was also absent after a positive test for Covid-19, while Joao Moutinho sustained a groin injury while playing for Portugal.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo switched to a back four and Wolves looked vulnerable. Rui Patricio pushed Antonio’s shot to the post before West Ham took the lead in the sixth minute.

From his own half, Lingard drove away from Dendoncker and flew past Romain Saiss before going beyond Patricio.

Lingard's amazing skill enabled Arthur Masuaku to set up Pablo Fornals for the second goal

Lingard's amazing skill enabled Arthur Masuaku to set up Pablo Fornals for the second goal

Lingard’s amazing skill enabled Arthur Masuaku to set up Pablo Fornals for the second goal

His through pass then enabled Jarrod Bowen to shoot in the third team in the first half

His through pass then enabled Jarrod Bowen to shoot in the third team in the first half

His through pass then enabled Jarrod Bowen to shoot in the third team in the first half

The home team was almost flat when Rayan Ait-Nouri’s attempt flew a whisker wide. Wolves, however, played a dangerous open game and were punished again in the 14th minute.

Lingard turned past Nelson Semedo and rolled over to Arthur Masuaku, whose dismissal was perfect for the unmarked Fornals to lead into the far corner.

Despite their terrible defense, Wolves kept on having chances. Ruben Neves headed a free header wide and a header from Daniel Podence cut the top of the bar.

West Ham seemed to have suffered a setback when Antonio, who had run Saiss and Conor Coady, was switched just after half an hour.

Patrick Cutrone withdrew one for Wolves in the first half after a brilliant assist from Adama Traore

Patrick Cutrone withdrew one for Wolves in the first half after a brilliant assist from Adama Traore

Patrick Cutrone withdrew one for Wolves in the first half after a brilliant assist from Adama Traore

Fabio Silva put in a nerve-racking finish after confidently finishing past Lukas Fabianski

Fabio Silva put in a nerve-racking finish after confidently finishing past Lukas Fabianski

Fabio Silva put in a nerve-racking finish after confidently finishing past Lukas Fabianski

Still, Lingard led another lightning-fast counterattack, drove three tackles and Antonio’s replacement Bowen slipped through. Patricio defeated the finish on his first post.

Only Neto will know how he failed to narrow the gap in the 41st minute. Lukasz Fabianski saved well from Willian Jose, but Neto jabbed the rebound wide of an open goal.

Wolves finally got on the score sheet when Traore charged 75 yards, dodged three opponents, and crossed over to Dendoncker to head home.

Early in the second half, Tomas Soucek tapped in after Patricio saved Bowen but was ruled out for handball.

But David Moyes's men held to this time and celebrated rising to fourth place at the table

But David Moyes's men held to this time and celebrated rising to fourth place at the table

But David Moyes’s men held to this time and celebrated rising to fourth place at the table

Then in the 68th minute Silva, who replaced Podence at half time, took Neto’s lovely pass and fired into the bottom corner.

Dendoncker then missed the goal from 20 meters away and Neto also skipped if a calmer finish was required.

“We were good in possession, but very bad in defense,” admitted Nuno.

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