Maupay’s sublime strike gives Everton their first win of the season against West Ham | premier league


A first Premier League win of the season and his new striker’s first goal lifted Frank Lampard’s gloom as the international break approached. Everton’s performance to defeat West Ham was laborious, littered with brief moments of quality, including Neal Maupay’s sublime winner, but nothing more. Lampard won’t care how the result came about, but he will be desperate for him to kick things off at Everton this season.

The minute’s silence was repeatedly interrupted by boos from home fans. The quick response from the opposing end was a profane request to shut up, a sign of the lack of imagination in Everton and West Ham’s coming back and forth. Overall, the atmosphere at Goodison Park was largely subdued as fans watched a side without their No.9 Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has yet to feature this season, or Jordan Pickford, also injured . The fiery atmosphere that helped keep Everton in the league last season has been replaced by apprehension and fear. Fans arrived hoping rather than expecting and they were rewarded for their commitment.

There are nerves aplenty at Goodison Park; each misplaced pass early on was greeted with a mixture of sighs and groans. Supporters fear a repeat of last year’s battle for survival. Hearts were beating a little faster when Jarrod Bowen burst into the penalty area and sent a cross into the penalty area. Everton captain Conor Coady put a toe on it before colliding with Asmir Begovic as they watched the ball bounce inches away rather than into the back of the net.

Although he hasn’t scored more than once in a game this season, there is no shortage of attacking talent in Everton’s ranks. Demarai Gray caused problems on both flanks; he first fired a dangerous cross from the left which overcame everyone, soon followed by being knocked down the right after bamboozling the defender with mesmerizing footwork. He fired the next free kick but Amadou Onana could only direct it.

West Ham looked calmer, perhaps buoyed by the distraction of their domestic Europa League form, where they managed to pick up a couple of wins, against Romania’s FCSB and Silkeborg’s Denmark. They could at least claim they enjoyed the only two shots on target in the first half: two of the most tame headers imaginable, which Begovic could have saved with his eyes closed. Things could only get better.

West Ham’s Maxwel Cornet reacts in disbelief after missing an equalizer. Photograph: Isaac Parkin/PA

It would still be Gray who had the first shot on goal for Everton. It took him 49 minutes to go for the goal, and when he did he should have done better. Starting the second half on the left, he dribbled past and cut inside the full-back to then shoot straight at Lukasz Fabianski. The important thing was that he showed intent.

Maupay had spent the afternoon looking ineffective as Calvert-Lewin’s final replacement. He rarely made the right run for his teammates, but when it mattered he found the net. Alex Iwobi sent the ball to the Frenchman, he touched the edge of the box to control the ball, spun around and fired a right footed shot with his second. Goodison’s subdued nature was forgotten as each stand erupted in unison.

Will and intention were finally aligned for Everton, putting West Ham on the back foot. Gray was further boosted by his side having a rare lead, causing constant problems for Vladimir Coufal. The winger fired a cross into the penalty area but no one was able to greet him with the touch needed to double the lead.

After 20 minutes of carelessness after the goal, nerves returned to the stands with fans desperate for Everton to go through with it. Their fears weren’t allayed when substitute Saïd Benrahma picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal, kicked it out and aimed. A statue-like Begovic was defeated but he was relieved to hear a ping amid the silence as the ball hit the inside of a post and bounced clear.

Maxwel Cornet had two good chances to equalize but a mixture of Begovic and Nathan Patterson prevented him from scoring. Everton held their ground and few inside the pitch cared how.

theguardian Gt

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