Soucek Strike Gives West Ham A Happy New Year

Tomas Soucek, West Ham. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Tomas Soucek, West Ham. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images) /

Tomas Soucek’s late strike was enough to give West Ham a Happy New Year as they beat an inform Everton side at Goodison Park.

West Ham were looking for revenge on Everton who had dumped them out of the League Cup earlier in the season. Tomas Soucek‘s goal in the last five minutes of the game was enough to give the Hammers the victory in a game of few chances.


David Moyes named a few changes to the side that draw against Southampton. Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen and Vladimir Coufal returned to the starting line-up. The side had a much more exciting look to it with plenty of pace from kick-off.

The changes did mean that Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini dropped to the bench. The other omission from the team was Ryan Fredericks. The right-back played well against Southampton but was not even on the bench against Everton. Fredericks has been linked with an exit, and this could be a sign a move is getting closer.

Moyes, however, did say before the match the Englishman was absent for COVID related reasons. This reason suggests that the player has come into contact with someone who has tested positive and will be self-isolating for the next week.

There was one emergency change to the team as goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski picked-up a knock in the warm-up. The injury to the Pole meant that Darren Randolph was called into the starting line-up. David Martin moved on the bench to fill Randolph’s vacant spot.


West Ham started the better of the two sides and created the first chance of the game. Liverpool-born Aaron Cresswell linked-up well with Pablo Fornals on the left-wing. The cross came in and avoided Sebastien Haller but not Bowen. The Englishman’s header did not make the best connection and was collected by Jordan Pickford.

Everton got themselves back into the game as it quickly started to even out. The Toffees have had an extended rest after their game against Manchester City was postponed. Their extra energy levels did start to show.

After Fabianski’s injury before the game, David Moyes had another injury scare to deal with, this time only sixteen minutes into the game. Craig Dawson went down after attempting a clearance and had to go off the pitch for treatment. The Englishman returned to the pitch much to the relief of the manager.

Craig Dawson, West Ham.
Craig Dawson, West Ham. (Photo by ALEX PANTLING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Both teams were struggling to break down the defence of the other. Everton controlled the majority of possession, but the Hammers backline and midfield were making it very difficult for the Toffees to get into their flow. West Ham did look more dangerous going forward, though their best avenue was from set-pieces.

Despite set-pieces being West Ham’s speciality, Everton had the chance to take the lead from a corner before half-time. The Toffees first earned a corner from a free-kick. From the following corner, Bernard has a great effort on goal from 25-yards. Randolph did well enough to keep it out and keep the scores level at half-time.


West Ham and Everton were both unchanged for the second half. Though Issa Diop did take part in an intensive warm-up during the break, in case Dawson needed to come off. Moyes was keeping Michail Antonio up his sleeve.

The Toffees dominated the early proceedings but like in the first-half the Hammers defence were frustrating them. Carlo Ancelotti would have been frustrated seeing his team being forced to pass the ball backwards so often.

David Moyes and Carlo Ancelotti.
David Moyes and Carlo Ancelotti. (Photo by Peter Byrne – Pool/Getty Images) /

The Hammers did grow back into the game and almost opened the scoring from a clever set-piece. Cresswell fizzed a pass to Declan Rice who had made a run in behind the Everton defence. The Englishman’s cross flashed past the goal-mouth just needing a touch. Haller was the closest but couldn’t make contact.

That was that for Haller’s evening as Antonio replaced him on the 58th-minute mark. The striker was immediately into the action as the Hammers won a free-kick in a good position for a cross. Cresswell instead went for goal and forced a decent save from Pickford to keep the scores level.

Everton responded to the Hammers pressure by making a double substitution. Dangerman James Rodriguez and Andre Gomez replaced Bernard and Gilfi Sigurdsson. The duo did help improve the Toffees passing speed.

Moyes however, did not want to shut-up shop and settle for a draw. The Scot threw on attackers Andriy Yarmolenko and Manuel Lanzini to add a spark the team’s attack. The two players that went off were Fornals and Bowen.

Everton continued to control possession but were still finding it difficult to break down a stubborn Hammers defence. West Ham, however, did start to look dangerous on the counter-attack but like the home-side were being wasteful in the final third.

Tomas Soucek, Wes Ham.
Tomas Soucek, Wes Ham. (Photo by PETER BYRNE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

With five minutes left of normal time, the game was on a knife-edge and both teams could grab an important winning goal. West Ham were the team to strike. Tomas Soucek had a volley at goal well saved by Pickford. The save rolled out to Cresswell who fired a powerful shot back at goal. the shot deflected back to Soucek who reacted well to give the Hammers the lead.

Three minutes were added on for injury time as Everton pushed forward for a winner. The hammers were the side that almost grabbed the next goal. Antonio was played through on goal but could not get a shot away before the ball was fired over by Lanzini.

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The victory meant that West Ham stayed in tenth position but are now only behind the next six sides on goal difference. The Hammers will play their next match against Stockport in the FA Cup in ten days time.