West Ham have to settle for a draw against Everton
PUBLISHED: 17:07 18 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:07 18 January 2020
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers grabbed the lead through Diop but were quickly pegged back
West Ham United 1 Everton 1
It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for David Moyes at the London Stadium, where the new West Ham United boss was left flummoxed and frustrated against his former club.
After seeing his side deservedly battle themselves into a 40th-minute lead through to the recalled Issa Diop's first goal of the season, Toffees top-scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin then nodded the visitors level on the stroke of half-time with his 11th strike of the campaign.
Following his midweek transfer from Middlesbrough, Darren Randolph had immediately picked up the gloves upon his return to the capital in place of the injured Lukasz Fabianski and the new 'keeper was one of four changes to the side that had lost at Sheffield United last Friday as Diop and Robert Snodgrass came in for substitutes Fabián Balbuena and Arthur Masuaku, while Pablo Fornals replaced injured Felipe Anderson.
In a scrappy, soulless opening filled with misplaced passes and mistimed tackles, Snodgrass was the only one to muster a shot but Jordan Pickford easily held the Scot's 18-yarder.
But on 19 minutes, Sebastién Haller climbed above Mason Holgate to nod Mark Noble's left-wing cross just a whisker beyond the base of the right-hand upright, while the advanced Pablo Zabaleta saw his angled shot deflected into the side-netting.
Snodgrass also broke clear and slotted home but having been denied a last-gasp equaliser by the Video Assistant Referee at Bramall Lane eight days earlier, an offside flag quickly - and correctly - wiped out the protesting West Ham wide boy's effort without any need for a referral.
Last weekend's victory over Brighton & Hove Albion had seen Everton kick-off in 11th spot - six points and six places above the Hammers - and the visitors also made a quartet of changes with Moise Kean, Fabian Delph, Séamus Coleman and Yerry Mina coming in for missing Toffees trio Richarlison (knee), Gylfi Sigurdsson and Michael Keane plus substitute Djibril Sidibé.
The reshuffled Merseysiders were struggling to create anything and, as the Hammers got stronger and stronger, Haller forced Pickford to save with his feet as the breaking Noble patiently unpicked the Toffees' defence, once again.
On the half-hour,Delph played in the supporting Lucas Digne, whose deep cross was scuffed into the clutches of relieved Randolph, while at the other end Haller was equally wasteful in heading over Aaron Cresswell's pinpoint centre.
Skipper Noble also curled a 25-yarder beyond Pickford's left post as the Hammers continued to look most likely to break the deadlock.
Sure enough, with just five minutes of the opening period remaining, Delph shoved Manuel Lanzini on the right touchline and, when Snodgrass whipped in the consequent free-kick towards the edge of the six-yard box, Diop ghosted between Tom Davies and Kean to send a glancing header across the face of Pickford and into the far corner.
But just as the Hammers looked set to depart at interval with a deserved lead, they nodded off when Digne floated in Everton's first corner of the afternoon and, with Mason Holgate nodding on, Calvert-Lewin got in front of Zabaleta to head home a close-range leveller.
Still, West Ham could gone off at the break with their noses in front but when Zabaleta drilled in his vicious byline cutback, Pickford somehow clawed out Fornals point-blank effort in stoppage time to compound a frustrating first-half finale.
Anthony Gordon replaced Bernard for the restart and Everton certainly emerged for the second period looking sharper and stronger with Digne firing over before Davies sent another effort inches wide, ahead of Diop denying Calvert-Lewin in the act of shooting.
Carlo Ancelotti then pitched on Sidibé for Walcott, while Moyes sent on Masuaku for Fornals and with the Hammers substitute still finding his feet on the Stratford turf, Haller's innovative header was held underneath the crossbar by Pickford, who then fell onto his goal-line to keep the ball out.
With 20 minutes remaining, Snodgrass saw his deflected, curling effort loop and spin towards the far post where Pickford palmed aside to safety and with the encounter now largely being played out as a scrappy midfield contest, Moyes introduced Albian Ajeti as Lanzini retired.
But the Swiss international had little time to make any real impression in a niggly finish and the Hammers - restricted to a solitary point - were left to rue that momentary, costly lapse of concentration just before the break.
HAMMERS: Randolph, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Ogbonna, Diop, Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Fornals (Masuaku 60), Lanzini (Ajeti 83), Haller. Unused subs: Martin, Reid, Balbuena, Cardoso, Ngakia.
TOFFEES: Pickford, Coleman, Digne, Mina, Holgate, Bernard (Gordon h/t), Davies, Delph, Walcott (Sidibé 57), Calvert-Lewin, Kean (Niasse 74). Unused subs: Stekelenburg, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gibson.
Booked: Zabaleta (90+2).
Referee: Andre Marriner