Much like against FCSB last week, David Moyes had to watch his side start slowly. While caveats must be applied in terms of players returning from injury and a plastic surface beneath them, the ease with which Kasper Kust ghosted into the area in the sixth minute will be of major concern.
Luckily, however, the Silkeborg forward’s cultured finish with his instep woke West Ham up. From there, their pressing became more intense, and the tempo raised. Maxwel Cornet, a nuisance to the home defenders, won a penalty coolly dispatched by Manuel Lanzini to restore parity, six minutes after West Ham had fallen behind.
With the away side raising their game for the next ten minutes, Cornet won the ball back high after some lax Silkeborg passing, finding Gianluca Scamacca in the process, and the Italian hit a powerful strike from just outside the box to give West Ham the lead.
Having turned the game around, Craig Dawson looked to have completed the comeback with a header on the stroke of half-time.
After the break, it was supposed to be all about game management for Moyes. There were signs of some of the free-flowing football the club’s new signings have hinted they are working towards, with Lanzini and Paqueta working well together, though there would be a late twist.
Both Lanzini and Jarrod Bowen were guilty of lunging in and leaving vast spaces behind them during a period in which West Ham were dominating, with Soren Tengstedt able to hit a late reply on the counter.
As a result, the closing stages were far more nervy than they needed to be, with Alponse Areola having to clear lines to save the blushes of his team but West Ham managed to hold on.