Tomas Soucek scored a late winner for West Ham against an uninspiring Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park.
Aaron Cresswell’s shot deflected off Everton defender Yerry Mina into the path of Soucek, who tapped home in the 85th minute of an uneventful game.
Victory ended a run of four successive defeats at his former club for West Ham manager David Moyes.
Everton, who had won their previous four league games, missed out on climbing to second in the table.
Soucek strikes after defences dominate
To say the first 85 minutes lacked creativity would be an understatement. Neither side were able to dominate going forward, with the first shot on target coming on the stroke of half-time.
Moyes and Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti have built their teams around defensive stability.
Soucek’s goal was only the second Everton have conceded in five league games, while West Ham have now kept two consecutive clean sheets.
The Hammers had the pick of the chances, Cresswell forcing Jordan Pickford into a smart save and Michail Antonio having a drilled effort kept out in the second half.
West Ham also proved difficult to break down and were playing the better football when midfielder Soucek, their leading scorer this season, netted his fifth goal of the campaign.
West Ham win despite absentees
Although West Ham picked up a third away victory in five games, there were areas of concern for Moyes.
First-choice right-back Ryan Fredericks dropped out of the squad for coronavirus-related reasons, while goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was injured during the warm-up.
Back-up keeper Randolph was rarely tested by Everton, who brought on Colombia forward James Rodriguez in the second half for his first appearance since 5 December.
Everton remain fourth in the table, while West Ham stay 10th.
‘We got the reward’ – what they said
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti told BBC Sport: “The game was in the balance. We didn’t have a lot of opportunities; they didn’t have a lot of opportunities.
“We have to accept the result. It will be important to keep our belief high.
“We are more comfortable defending and using the counter-attack. When we have the ball we have more difficulties and we have adjust this.
“We are in the position we would like to be and hopefully we can be there at the end of the season. That is our target.”
West Ham boss David Moyes told BT Sport: “To come to Goodison Park and get three points and to play as well as we did… we got the reward for it.
“It was important to get something from this. It was our third game in six days. We asked the players to do it and they did a brilliant job.
“We have been playing games while missing important players so we have been juggling around trying to find the right balance. Tonight we had a good balance and it gave us a good chance of winning.”