The heavens opened over the London Stadium before proceedings began with a moment of mourning for Bill Kenwright. Poignantly, the sun was shining by full-time, Everton having delivered the exact result that their dearly departed chairman would have wanted from this trip to Stratford.
This was the Merseyside club’s first outing since Kenwright’s passing at the age of 78. Unlike this impresario’s West End productions, this was not a performance dripping in drama.
It was slow and safe until Dominic Calvert-Lewin became the protagonist, scoring the game’s only goal in the second half.
It was a terrific touch, turn, and finish from Calvert-Lewin, who dedicated this victory to Kenwright afterwards, saying: ‘That one was for Bill. He would have been proud of us and proud of how we won – to get the lead, dig in and work so hard.’
Sean Dyche echoed that sentiment, saying: ‘It’s befitting to win after the week we’ve had. That one goes out to his family. I cancelled training. We regrouped. I didn’t want to make it too emotional for the players. But they know. A lot of them had relationships with the chairman.’
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his 50th Premier League goal to secure the victory for Everton
The big striker turned beautifully on the edge of the box before tucking home into the bottom corner
Bill Kenwright and Sir Bobby Charlton were remembered with wreaths and applause before the game
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Every win matters for Everton, especially at a time when there is talk of a 12-point deduction if found guilty of breaking financial rules.
While the away section partied, the home supporters booed, having not liked what they witnessed from West Ham here.
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Areola 6; Coufal 5.5, Zouma 5.5, Aguerd 5, Cresswell 5.5 (Ings 85); Ward-Prowse 5.5 (Soucek 73, 6), Alvarez 5.5; Bowen 6.5, Paqueta 5.5, Kudus 5.5; Antonio 5 (Benrahma 57, 6)
Subs not used: Fabianski, Fornals, Mavropanos, Cornet, Ogbonna, Kehrer
Booked: Kudus, Paqueta, Benrahma, Alvarez
Manager: David Moyes 5
Everton (4-4-1-1): Pickford 7; Patterson 7.5, Tarkowski 7.5, Branthwaite 8, Mykolenko 7.5; Harrison 7.5, Garner 7, Onana 7, McNeil 7; Doucoure 7; Calvert-Lewin 8.5 (Chermiti 89)
Subs not used: Virginia, Lonergan, Danjuma, Beto, Godfrey, Gueye, Hunt, Dobbin
Scorers: Calvert-Lewin (51)
Manager: Sean Dyche 7
Referee: Stuart Attwell 6
‘We’ve scored in every other game this season but we couldn’t get through,’ manager David Moyes said.
‘That’s what you get with Sean Dyche’s teams – they defend well and make it difficult for you to get through.’
Moyes was hired by Kenwright at Everton in 2002 and they were as close as a manager and chairman can be, forever fighting in each others’ corners. He walked out of the tunnel with a floral wreath and was joined by Dyche and Sir Geoff Hurst as we also remembered Sir Bobby Charlton.
Moyes and Dyche will have felt the squelch of the turf as they made their way to the centre circle. There was no need for the London Stadium groundsmen to water the field for this kickabout. Mother Nature took care of that herself.
Not that these teams are the slickest of passers. They are more liable to lump it long to Michail Antonio or Calvert-Lewin than play it short.
Some West Ham supporters have found themselves wondering what incriminating evidence Antonio must have on Moyes to keep starting matches – whether embarrassing pictures of him wearing Rangers pyjamas or video of him singing You’ll Never Walk Alone on karaoke.
The true answer is that Danny Ings is Moyes’ only senior alternative, while Divin Mubama – the teenaged academy talent – did not make the substitutes’ bench here.
The January transfer window beckons, because Antonio’s performances have been nowhere near the required level of late.
Jarrod Bowen can be used as a striker, although he is best when operating off the right-hand side. In the 23rd minute, the skilful Lucas Paqueta looped the ball over Nathan Patterson before passing to Bowen.
Of all the players on the pitch, the 26-year-old Englishman is the one you would have backed to bury this. But he scuffed his shot uncharacteristically.
Abdoulaye Doucoure saw his powerful strike saved by Alphonse Areola in the second half
Jarrod Bowen was a thorn in the side of Everton but could not find the goal West Ham needed
In the 25th minute, Paqueta lost possession to Jack Harrison. As wonderful a player as the 26-year-old Brazilian is, this recklessness is a bugbear for Moyes, who watched as Everton launched a three-on-one counter-attack. It was Harrison, Calvert-Lewin and Abdoulaye Doucoure versus West Ham defender Nayef Aguerd. Harrison went for it himself, leaving his team-mates furious as the ball trickled into the arms of a grateful Alphonse Areola. Everton should have been ahead.
When five minutes of stoppage time were announced, there were groans from some West Ham fans inside the London Stadium. It had not been a pretty performance from Moyes’ men. It was a good job that the supporters had gained an extra hour overnight because it felt like they had lost one here, seeing their team struggle to trouble the visitors.
It was in the 51st minute when Calvert-Lewin scored to make it 1-0 to Everton.
Antonio lost a contested ball with Jarrad Branthwaite, the impressive central defender leaving the West Ham striker on the floor. Harrison and Calvert-Lewin exchanged a one-two, ending with the latter burying the ball into the bottom left corner beyond Areola.
Lucas Paqueta was impactful with his passing and shots but was booked in the second half and is now suspended after five yellow cards this season
The touch and turn by Calvert-Lewin smacked of a striker confident in his skillset as he became the fourth player to score 50 Premier League goals for Everton, after Romelu Lukaku (68), Duncan Ferguson (60) and Tim Cahill (56). While he celebrated his half-century, Antonio picked himself up off the ground, but Moyes had seen enough.
Antonio was removed for Said Benrahma, some supporters cheering that change.
In the 60th minute, Calvert-Lewin’s headed knock-on left Doucoure with only Areola to beat. The West Ham goalkeeper got down low to make a superb save, sending it wide with a strong hand.
In the 69th minute came Paqueta’s fifth yellow card of the Premier League season, this time for protesting when he did not receive a free-kick after being overpowered by Patterson. Edson Alvarez likewise received his fifth caution of the campaign. Not good news for them to be suspended with a trip to Brentford to follow next Saturday.
With that, West Ham’s third consecutive loss in all competitions was confirmed. This was a day that belonged to Everton and, as Calvert-Lewin and Dyche said, it was ‘for Bill’.