Chances were at a premium at Villa Park, with quality a rare commodity, as much both sides struggled to make any sort of impact in forward areas.
But with 15 minutes remaining, Fornals tried his luck from distance and with the help of a massive deflection off Ezri Konsa he found what proved to be the winner, a timely one two with matches against Tottenham and Chelsea next up for West Ham.
Gianluca Scamacca was given a first Premier League start while Emerson Palmieri made his Hammers debut, as David Moyes looked to find an answer to his side’s woes.
It was a truly woeful first-half at Villa Park. Ezri Konsa turned in a corner at the back post, but that was disallowed as the delivery swung out of play first, and that was as good as it got. The only positive was that the half-time whistle eventually came.
Things did improve after the break, albeit from the lowest of low bars. Jarrod Bowen had a huge chance to open the scoring as West Ham quickly charged forward on the break, but he took too long trying to work the ball onto his left foot.
After 344 goalless minutes to start the season, that unwanted run finally came to an end for the Hammers. Fornals’ strike had a huge helping hand on its way to looping over Emi Martinez, but that did little to dampen the celebrations in the away end as West Ham moved off the foot of the table.