Angelo Ogbonna header enough as West Ham end Everton boss Rafa Benitez’s perfect home record

The pair had previously met 15 times – 14 of those as managers on opposing sides of Stanley Park with the Spaniard then Liverpool boss.

Carl Markham
Sunday 17 October 2021 17:32
<p>The Italian’s header gave West Ham all three points on Merseyside </p>

The Italian’s header gave West Ham all three points on Merseyside

West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna’s header ended Everton manager Rafael Benitez’s 100 per cent winning home record as David Moyes got the better of his old Merseyside adversary in a 1-0 Premier League victory at Goodison Park.

The pair had previously met 15 times – 14 of those as managers on opposing sides of Stanley Park with the Spaniard then Liverpool boss – and Moyes had won just twice.

So this was a satisfying return to his old stomping ground for the Scot with Ogbonna’s 74th-minute goal denying Benitez the chance to record Everton’s best start to a season since 1978-79.

The nature of the goal was somewhat familiar to all inside the ground as, much like during his 11 years with the Toffees from 2002 to 2013, it came from a set-piece.

Since his first game back in charge at West Ham, his side have earned a reputation as dead-ball specialists – and they have scored more (29), excluding penalties – than any other Premier League side.

There was a whiff of controversy as referee Stuart Attwell ruled Michail Antonio’s awkward challenge on goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had earned a corner despite protests from the home team.

Having wasted a good start to the game, Moyes would have been relieved to have left with three points, which temporarily lifted West Ham back into the top six.

Everton, still without their two biggest attacking threats in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison due to injury, barely had a kick for 20 minutes.

They were pinned back by the visitors’ flying start, propelled forward by Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma with England midfielder Declan Rice knitting things together from deep.

But, bizarrely, it was Benitez’s side who squandered the best opportunity of the half when Demarai Gray beat Ogbonna by the corner flag and crossed the ball to the near post.

The proximity of Salomon Rondon may have put off teammate Alex Iwobi at the near post, but his swing and a miss from six yards was inexcusable.

Abdoulaye Doucoure headed another good chance wide, this time from an Andros Townsend cross, while a Tomas Soucek goal at the other end was chalked out for offside after he converted a rebound from Jarrod Bowen’s shot.

Moyes would have gone in at half-time wondering how his side were not ahead, Benitez would have been grateful they were not.

The Spaniard’s tactical switching of Gray to the left and Iwobi centrally – late in the first half – had the two-fold effect of giving the former more freedom to attack 21-year-old right-back Ben Johnson, standing in for the injured Vladimir Coufal, while also reducing Rice’s influence in the centre.

Everton enjoyed more control after the break with Iwobi’s shot on the turn deflected behind and Rondon glancing a header just wide from Townsend’s inswinging cross as West Ham started to lose their way.

However, the match turned on Antonio’s challenge on England’s No 1: Ogbonna glanced home Rice’s cross and with it went Benitez’s unbeaten home record.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in