Moyes 'gamble' starts to pay off for Everton

West Ham 1 Everton 3
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Over in the red half of Merseyside they have the monopoly on most of the important things in football – league titles, European Cups, that sort of thing – but Everton are now showing a quality that has recently become associated much more with their city neighbours and rivals Liverpool.

In their last three games David Moyes' men have scored a winner in the last minute against Bolton, found victory three minutes from the end against Fulham and then here, late on, turned what looked like certain defeat at Upton Park into their biggest win of the season. That they did it without the injured Yakubu Aiyegbeni and the suspended Marouane Fellaini proves that Moyes' squad, which looked so scrawny back in August, has a bit more flesh on the bones these days.

It was the Belgian Fellaini who scored against Bolton, but Louis Saha notched the winner against his old club Fulham and on Saturday scored twice having set up the equaliser. After his four-and-a-half year stint with Manchester United, which was lucrative but injury-strewn, he appears to have regained fitness and sharpness.

The Frenchman has not lost the ability to disappear from games for long stretches, as Moyes noted, but whereas under Sir Alex Ferguson he would usually be the first player hauled off, at his new club there is not quite the embarrassment of riches in the striking department.

So, the 30-year-old stayed on, even though Everton were behind to Jack Collison's first goal for his club – well-taken it was too – and were heading for defeat. Then the game changed with eight minutes left. Saha found some space on the right, crossed for Joleon Lescott and the defender headed past Rob Green.

From there on in it was the Saha show. Victor Anichebe crossed, again from the right and Saha's first-time shot took a deflection past Green.

Two minutes later Tim Cahill intercepted a loose ball out of defence, found Saha and although he's left-footed, beat Green from 25 yards with his other foot.

Moyes called getting Saha on a free transfer in the summer, "a bit of a gamble", because of his record of only 52 league starts in his time with United. But he also called it, "a no-brainer," which in a couple of short, sharp phrases summed up most people's attitude to the centre-forward.

Moyes added: "It's early days still with Louis but he's got real quality and I hope the goals today will give him confidence. He took a pay cut to come here so good on him. He wants to play and we're getting to know him. He's getting to know us too. He would say he doesn't feel he's playing as well as he can do.

"But goals are what get goalscorers going and then the performances come. It was like Yakubu last year – there were moments when he wasn't involved but he scored goals that were really important to us."

Moyes' counterpart Gianfranco Zola needs support wherever he can get it right, especially from his back four. This was the 24th league game in a row they have failed to keep a clean sheet. This defensive implosion led to the Hammers' fifth defeat in six games but Moyes wants people to have patience with the Italian, who admitted he was "disappointed" and "sorry".

Moyes said: "Young players mature and managers do too. They need to be given time to make mistakes, have a board that supports you and you need the crowd with you and I think they are here with Zola. People will give him time to turn it around. But results are the things that give you a little bit of time."

Goals: Collison (63) 1-0; Lescott (82) 1-1; Saha (85) 1-2; Saha (87) 1-3.

West Ham (4-4-2): Green; Neill, Collins, Upson (Collison, 18), Ilunga; Faubert, Bowyer, Parker (Di Michele, 87), Boa Morte (Etherington, 58); Bellamy, Sears. Substitutes not used: Lastuvka (gk), Lopez, Mullilns, Reid.

Everton (4-3-1-2): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott; Osman, Rodwell (Vaughan, 66), Arteta; Cahill; Anichebe (Baines, 86), Saha (Hibbert, 90). Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Castillo, Jutkiewicz, Gosling.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

Booked: West Ham Etherington; Everton Lescott.

Man of the match: Saha.

Attendance: 33, 961.