West Ham United 4 – 0 Nottingham Forest
Danny Ings’ first goals for West Ham proved the launching pad for a huge 4-0 win as David Moyes’ side pulled themselves out of the Premier League relegation zone.
Ings, a £15m signing from Aston Villa in January, proved the difference with two identical goals in three second-half minutes as the Hammers capped a much-improved display with a potentially significant three points.
The former Liverpool and Burnley striker was quiet for large periods but his clinical finishes settled the nerves around London Stadium and ensured that the hosts could kick on to an eventual thumping victory.
Further goals from captain Declan Rice and substitute Michail Antonio sent the home fans away smiling on a rare goal-filled afternoon.
Forest, who have only managed three goals away from home all campaign, were lifeless throughout in a disappointing display.
Ings makes the difference
Moyes, twice parachuted in to steer West Ham away from danger in the past, faced fresh speculation this week that his job would have been under threat with a defeat.
A dire run of one win in 11 Premier League games had cast doubt over his immediate future but his side responded with an energetic display that eventually swept a limited Forest showing aside.
The Hammers had only scored 19 goals all season and were made to wait for a breakthrough as Lucas Paqueta and Jarrod Bowen both struck the base of the post with long-range shots.
But constant second-half pressure told when Ings did what he needed to do. The striker found Bowen with a raking pass and sprinted into the area to slide in and connect with the winger’s ball across the face of goal.
Minutes later he was again in the right place to bundle in Said Benrahma’s ball and all but secure a win that was rubberstamped when Rice bent in a beautiful strike from the edge of the area.
Antonio, without a league goal since October, then popped up with a thumping header as Forest capitulated, allowing Moyes to rightly celebrate becoming only the third manager to win 250 Premier League games.
“It’s great to have 250 wins but it would have been better if I’d only had 275 games,” Moyes told Match of the Day.
“But 250 good Saturday nights out of a thousand isn’t too bad.
“I want to look at the teams above us. I have been here before but I have not enjoyed the position we have been in. Hopefully we’ll end up in a good position.”
‘Unacceptable’ Forest beaten again
Forest’s woeful record on the road – the worst attack away from home in all four divisions – was badly exposed again.
Morgan Gibbs-White did thump a shot on target but the visitors never looked likely to score before West Ham’s flurry of late goals confirmed defeat that leaves them four points from the drop zone.
“We conceded a goal but then what happened is not acceptable,” manager Steve Cooper said.
“The game was taken away from us, it’s our own fault and we have to face it.
“Conceding goals quickly was happening to us at the start of the season and we made poor decisions again. It was a mentality thing and we were punished. There are no excuses.”