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Dominic Calvert-Lewin's first-half strike proves decisive
Vladimir Coufal and Joshua King both hit woodwork in second half
Everton close gap between sides to three points, with game in hand
David Moyes did not want to go quite as far as giving up on West Ham United’s Champions League qualification hopes, but this felt like the day when their top-four dream started to slip away.
Not only did Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s goal stop West Ham from moving two points behind fourth-placed Leicester City, but manager Moyes also saw Manuel Lanzini and Aaron Cresswell forced off with injuries against his former club.
Just when the Hammers needed a slice of luck, Vladimir Coufal’s shot hit the inside of the post instead of the inside of the net and Moyes may now have to hope Leicester’s wobble turns into a full-on collapse if they are to do better than qualify for next season’s Europa League.
The defeat meant another of Moyes' old clubs, Manchester United, qualified for the Champions League, raising question marks over the strength of the teams Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will field against two of West Ham’s rivals for a top-four finish, Leicester and Liverpool.
Carlo Ancelotti still hopes his Everton side can have a say in the race for European places, following an 11th Premier League victory on the road that could have been more comfortable if substitute Josh King had scored with a late header that hit the post.
Everton certainly started the game like a team that knew this was their last chance to keep the season alive and they are now three points behind fifth-placed West Ham with a game in hand.
It took headers from Craig Dawson and Tomas Soucek to stop Michael Keane getting on the end of Gylfi Sigurdsson’s early corner, before the visitors opened the scoring in the 23rd minute.
Moyes will be angry that a straight pass out of defence from defender Ben Godfrey set Calvert-Lewin through on goal and he held off Dawson before beating West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski with a low shot.
It was Calvert-Lewin’s 16th Premier League goal of the season and it capped an excellent performance in front of England assistant-manager Steve Holland.
Calvert-Lewin was involved again, when Richarlison almost doubled Everton’s lead. The England international produced a perfect headed flick that sent the Brazilian scampering away at goal, but Fabianski was out quickly to save at his feet.
West Ham created barely anything in the first half, but they should have gone in at the half-time break level as Said Benrahma missed a great late chance.
Pablo Fornals produced a perfect cross from the right that found Benrahma unmarked at the back post, but he headed over the bar when it looked easier to find the net.
And West Ham’s frustration was compounded on the stroke of half-time, when Lanzini was forced off with an injury and had to be replaced by Jarrod Bowen.
Already without midfielders Declan Rice and Mark Noble, the injury to Lanzini was a bitter blow to Moyes, who lost another player in the second half.
Cresswell went down under a challenge from Godfrey seven minutes after the restart but tried to carry on after receiving treatment. Less than 10 minutes later, however, West Ham’s left-back had to go off to be replaced by Ryan Fredericks.
The home side had still not managed a shot on target as the game reached the hour mark, but Coufal was inches from finding an equaliser.
The right-back beat Jordan Pickford with a low angled drive, but his shot rebounded back off the inside of the post and Bowen could only divert the loose ball back into the Everton goalkeeper’s grateful arms.
Everton had defended well in the second half without carrying much attacking threat until Calvert-Lewin almost set up a second goal for Ancelotti’s men with 15 minutes remaining.
Calvert-Lewin had Richarlison racing towards goal on his right, but instead opted to delay his pass to find Seamus Coleman by which time Jesse Lingard had managed to get back to produce a goal-saving block.
Richarlison was clearly unhappy at being replaced by King and his demeanour did not improve when the substitute failed to score what would have been his first Everton goal since joining from Bournemouth.
It was the post that saved West Ham from conceding a second goal with five minutes remaining. Calvert-Lewin got away again and was forced wide by Fabianski, but he produced a perfect cross for King, whose header hit the upright and the ball was scrambled clear. Fortunately for Everton, it was not costly.
Full time, West Ham 0 Everton 1
The Hammers suddenly look a whole lot more vulnerable in fifth.
Both sides hit the woodwork in the second half and, after a turgid start, it ended up being a fairly entertaining game. Everton defended well and deserve their win, which takes them to within three points of their opponents.
That might have been the chance.
A loose ball falls for Coufal just outside the box and he lashes it, but his effort is wild and flies over the crossbar.
Bowen gets a good early ball into the box and almost finds Antonio, but Digne gets in the way.
It's Everton's turn to hit the post!
With his first touch of the game, Joshua King leaps above Coufal to head Calvert-Lewin's high ball onto the upright. Had it been an inch to the left, the game would be over as a contest.
Richarlison off, King on
... and Richarlison doesn't look too happy about it, even if there are only seven minutes left to play.
Andriy Yarmolenko wins a corner, which is cleared with ease.
There have been endless dead-ball deliveries in this game, but neither side has made the most of their set pieces.
Davies loses the ball in midfield, Coufal gets a cross into the box and Soucek heads over.
The Hammers need someone to come up with a decisive finish.
Allan gets a caution after flying in on Bowen. It's getting a little bit spicy at the London Stadium.
Moments earlier, Calvert-Lewin had played in Coleman only for Lingard to get back and make an all-important block.
West Ham are starting to show their frustration, Lingard earning himself a booking for dissent after a foul on Davies.
Moyes makes a third substitution
Soucek gets the first booking of the game for a crunching tackle on Richarlison.
Allan gives away a free kick after sliding in on Fornals.
Lingard gets a good ball into the writhing mass of players in the box, but Everton defend well.
Lingard and Antonio play a one-two on the edge of the area, but Lingard overruns the return ball and gives away a foul as he tries to win it back.
Bowen gets a cross into the box with Everton in disarray, but it's behind Antonio and the danger passes.
Ancelotti makes his first change
Mina appears to have picked up a knock and Holgate gets the nod to replace him.
West Ham hit the post!
Fornals plays in Coufal charging in from the right and he grazes the inside of the goalframe with a shot. The rebound falls awkwardly for Bowen and Everton just about manage to scramble it away.
Cresswell won't be able to continue after all, with Ryan Fredericks coming on in his place.
West Ham are applying serious pressure now.
A flowing passing move ends with Fornals smashing a shot on target, only to see it deflected wide.
Fornals, Soucek and Benrahma pass the ball between them on the edge of Pickford's area, but can't find a way through.
There's another break in play after Aaron Cresswell slips and hurts himself, but he seems fine to continue.
Lucas Digne gets down the left and flicks a first-time cross to Calvert-Lewin, but he can't get on the end of it.
Teams are back out
... and the second half is about to kick off.
Can Everton preserve, or even extend, their lead? Or will West Ham battle their way back into it?
Half time, West Ham 0 Everton 1
Bowen fails to find Lingard on the overlap in the box, much to his teammate's frustration.
The half-time whistle goes and the two sides trudge down the tunnel. After a slow start to the game, Calvert-Lewin's opener brought a sense of urgency to proceedings and both sides had chances to score. It's finely poised, this.
There's a break in play as Manuel Lanzini goes down injured.
Moyes has no choice but to make his first substitution, bringing on Jarrod Bowen.
What a chance for West Ham!
Vladimir Coufal and Pablo Fornals combine on the edge of the area before the latter whips a cross to the back post. Benrahma meets the ball with a diving header, but it's just off target.
Calvert-Lewin knocks a ball down for Richarlison, who turns Diop and forces Fabianski to make a low save.
The Brazilian wants a penalty for a tangle in the aftermath, but there's nothing doing.
Everton win another corner and it falls for Mina, but he gets in a mix up with Calvert-Lewin and the ball dribbles out for a goal kick.
Tomas Soucek wins a corner from Mina, which is cleared.
West Ham recycle the ball to Lingard, who looks to curl one into the top corner but slightly overhits it.
Everton win a free kick in a dangerous position and Sigurdsson steps up.
He forces Fabianski into a diving, two-handed save. The ensuing corner comes to nothing.
The goal has breathed new life into the game, Lingard teeing up Benrahma at the far post only for Seamus Coleman to deflect his shot out for a corner.
The ball falls for Lingard, who has a pop himself. Coleman is there again to make the block.
GOAL! West Ham 0 Everton 1
It's come out of nowhere, but that's a lovely goal from Everton.
Ben Godfrey ferries the ball forwards and then picks out Calvert-Lewin with a killer pass. Calvert-Lewin does the rest, slotting past Fabianski and into the far corner.
Antonio tries to find Lingard with a through ball, but instead hooks one straight to Jordan Pickford.
Just past the 20-minute mark, Lingard takes the first proper shot of the game.
It's blocked. As you were.
Allan chips a nice ball over the top to Richarlison, who wins a corner from Issa Diop.
Lukasz Fabianski plucks Sigurdsson's delivery out of the air. There's not much quality on show at the moment.
Michail Antonio gets down the left and gets a cross into the area, but it's thumped clear.
Neither side has taken a shot so far. It's been a cagey start.
Everton get a free kick and Gylfi Sigurdsson drifts an angled delivery into the box which is headed out for a corner.
Sigurdsson presides over three more set pieces in quick succession, with the sequence only coming to an end when Dominic Calvert-Lewin floats a header out of play.
West Ham move the ball around nicely and Jesse Lingard eventually gets a cross into the box, but it's cleared.
Teams are in the tunnel
... and we're mere moments away from West Ham's bubble machines going off on the sidelines.
Toffees arrive at the London Stadium
Change of formation for Everton
After Everton's chaotic defensive performance against Villa last Saturday, Ancelotti has switched to three at the back.
Mason Holgate had a particularly difficult game against Villa and makes way, with Yerry Mina and Michael Keane coming into the side. Alex Iwobi and Andre Gomes also drop to the bench, with Tom Davies swapping into midfield.
Everton team news
West Ham team news
Moyes knows what's at stake against Everton
Of West Ham's remaining four games this season, this is the biggest.
While the Hammers will probably have to win them all to have a hope of overtaking Leicester in fourth and qualifying for the Champions League, Everton are one of the teams looking to overhaul them in fifth. Currently six points behind their rivals with a game in hand, Carlo Ancelotti and co are well aware that this is their best chance to usurp them and qualify for the Europa League.
This is the Hammers' last meeting with a top-half side. They have a relatively straightforward run-in, with games against Brighton, West Brom and Southampton to come.
Everton have a tougher run of fixtures, with Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Wolves and Manchester City standing between them and European football next season. They have little margin for error here after their demoralising defeat to Aston Villa last weekend.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, David Moyes admitted that this game could have far-reaching implications. "I've got great respect for Carlo Ancelotti and I've got great respect for Everton as a football club, so all of those things make it a big day," he said.
"We both know that we're fighting for a spot in Europe and I'm hoping that here at West Ham we can make it. We'll continue to try and play well and give the performances to give us that chance.
"We'll see two sides who know the importance of winning the game. Everton will realise that if they can beat us they're back in with a chance of getting above us and then qualifying for Europe.
"We know if we win then we'll keep some distance on them, but we're looking above and trying to see if we can catch the teams above us. For us to get three points would be really, really big for us."
Ancelotti, who will be without James Rodriguez at the London Stadium, gave much the same assessment when asked about the significance of the match. "We don't have a lot of possibilities [to reach Europe] but we still have [a chance]," he said.
"We want to put all our energy in this game that we can consider vital for the end of the season."