Not everyone likes fooball but there are a lot that do.Wayne Rooney scored a stunning goal from his own half to complete a hat-trick as Everton thrashed West Ham in front of incoming manager Sam Allardyce.
The Merseysiders moved up four places to 13th in the table as Rooney latched onto Joe Hart’s scrambled clearance and powered a half-volley beyond the stranded England goalkeeper and into the empty net.
“It was one of the best goals I’ve ever scored,” he said. “I hit it as well as I’ve ever hit a football. To make it my first Everton hat-trick was special. It was a perfect moment.”
Hammers manager David Moyes, who saw midfielder Manuel Lanzini’s penalty saved by Jordan Pickford when West Ham trailed 2-0, was left to rue a terrible first half from the Londoners at his former club.
Rooney headed in the rebound after Hart saved his penalty for the game’s opener, and swept in his second 10 minutes later after good build-up from youngsters Jonjoe Kenny and Tom Davies.
Defender Ashley Williams added the fourth late on, powering a header beyond Hart from a corner as West Ham remain in 18th position.
Everton had to withstand sustained pressure after the break when the introduction of Diafra Sakho helped West Ham rally.
But caretaker manager David Unsworth – who will return to coaching the club’s under-23s – signed off his eight-game spell since Ronald Koeman’s sacking in October with a deserved win. The Toffees also recorded their first league clean sheet since the opening game of the season against Stoke.
Big Sam can trust in Rooney
Allardyce watched a performance drastically at odds with Everton’s woeful form of late and will have learned he can still count on captain Rooney, who he selected in his only game as England manager in September 2016 when they beat Slovakia 1-0.
Unsworth, who left Rooney out for Sunday’s 4-1 capitulation at Southampton, has been deploying Rooney in midfield – a role to which he seems increasingly suited.
Playing largely in central midfield against the Hammers, he made an impression that will resonate even stronger in Allardyce’s mind as he seeks to build on this redemptive win and take Everton further up the table.
“Wayne played wherever he wanted to. He was brilliant and controlled midfield. I can’t stop Wayne playing there,” said Allardyce after that England game. He could just as well have been talking about this cold November night at Goodison.
No sentiment, no luck, no points
Beforehand Moyes said there was no room for sentiment on his return to Goodison Park, where he was manager from 2002 to 2013. It was the home team who showed no mercy.
The Scot could have been forgiven for thinking his chances of victory were strong against a team previously so bereft of belief or direction, having won only once in 12 games.
Instead it was the extent of the problems he has walked into at West Ham which will trouble him.
Without the injured Andy Carroll’s aerial threat, his side failed to muster a single shot before the break against a team that had allowed opponents to take 40 in their previous five halves of football.
There were improvements in the second half. Lanzini stung Pickford’s palms with a drive from outside the area, and Aaron Cresswell hit the bar with a left-foot shot.
Their big chance came when Everton centre-half Williams brought down Diafra Sakho and referee Michael Oliver awarded a penalty, but Pickford dived to his right to turn away Lanzini’s spot-kick.
Individual mistakes, typified by Hart felling Dominic Calvert-Lewin to concede the game’s first penalty, then his botched clearance for Rooney’s wonder-strike, are making life difficult for the Hammers.
Moyes will have to find a way to stop them; whether by getting his squad fitter or more time drilling them at their Rush Green training base.
Man of the match – Wayne Rooney
‘I spoke to Sam but I picked the team’ – what they said
Everton caretaker boss David Unsworth to BBC Sport: “It’s a great night, not for me but for the club. Every player was committed. I asked them to be men tonight. If you can stand up there and fight in times of trouble, that says a lot.
“Great hat-trick, great display from Wayne. He was captain for a reason. I’m delighted for the club. I took over when we were in the bottom three and we’ve got out of it in the six weeks.
“We expect more. The players have shown tonight that when they are confident, we can keep clean sheets and score goals. Goodison must be a fortress for the rest of the season if we are to finish in the top half.
“I spoke to Sam Allardyce for about 10 or 15 minutes about the season in general, but I picked the team.”
Wayne Rooney told BBC Sport: “It’s a new chapter. Sam is a very good manager. I’m sure he’ll bring some new ideas. We’re looking forward to our first session with him tomorrow.
“We had to win. We had to stand up and show what good players we are. It’s the first step of where we want to go – moving up the league.”
West Ham boss David Moyes told BBC Sport: “Not good in the first half but a massive improvement at half-time. We didn’t deserve that final score. Mistakes cost us.
“The missed penalty was the turning point. It looked too difficult a challenge once we didn’t score it. We never really got at it from the start. We allowed them to get a bit of confidence.
“I think we saw some positive signs in the second half. It didn’t go for us when we needed it. There were a lot of small things we needed to go for us.”
Rooney is Hammers’ chief tormentor – the stats
- Wayne Rooney has now scored 14 Premier League goals against West Ham United; more than any other player.
- David Moyes has lost all five of his Premier League games against Everton since leaving the club, with an aggregate score of 12-0.
- Wayne Rooney’s hat-trick tonight came 2,272 days since his last (10 September 2011) – the longest gap between two hat-tricks by a player in Premier League history.
- Rooney’s hat-trick goal was from 58 yards out – the furthest out that a Premier League goal has been scored from since 4 April 2015 (Charlie Adam for Stoke at Chelsea).
- Rooney has scored more goals in his 12 Premier League games for Everton this season (seven) than he did in his 25 league appearances for Manchester United last season.
- Rooney has now missed nine penalties in the Premier League; only Teddy Sheringham (10) & Alan Shearer (11) have missed more.
- West Ham didn’t attempt a single shot in this game until the 52nd minute of the match – the third longest wait by a team in a Premier League game this season.
Everton face Huddersfield Town at Goodison on Saturday (15:00 GMT), while West Ham travel to Premier League leaders Manchester City (16:00 GMT).