Danny Ings packs double to open his tally as Hammers goal-fest fuels relegation battle

WHERE the hell has this been?

West Ham, the team with just 19 goals in 23 games this season, outscored a resurgent Nottingham Forest by four goals at a ground where they had won just one of their last five.

A Danny Ings brace helped West Ham defeat ForestCredit: Richard Pelham/The Sun
West Ham crushed four past Nottingham Forest – with Delan Rice among the goals
Match stats show West Ham were rampant

The London Stadium did not know whether to laugh or cry. The joy of escaping the bottom three, for now. The bewilderment and frustration at the apparent ease of this second-half blitz.

Four goals in 15 minutes. FOUR. Remarkable when you consider that they had scored nearly four in their last four outings.

In his first start for the club, with injuries marring his early impact since joining in a £15m move from Aston Villa on January 20, Danny Ings nabbed two in three minutes.

Declan Rice joined in on the fun with a whoop soon after, and Michail Antonio completed the most unlikely defeat in 85he minute.

The shackles appear to have been torn off. For the sake of these loyal West Ham fans, let’s hope it stays that way in a crucial game.

When it was suggested in the build-up that his recent approach had been too cautious, Moyes agreed, admitting that he had not enjoyed watching his own team at times.

That caution was certainly lost with this lineup. January signing Ings earned his first start with injury issues that affected his initial attacking impact.

Lucas Paquetá also returned from a recurring shoulder problem hoping to bring to life a well-subpar front line.


A promising 15-minute start from the hosts also lifted their spirits a bit. Ings gave away a chance from Felipe de Forest only for the Brazilian to bounce back with a vital spike strike.

Next, it was Paquetá’s turn, his rebellious effort from a clear corner that bounced off the knee of an unsuspecting Felipe and fell to the post.

Given West Ham’s lack of confidence and luck in front of goal this campaign, he felt he needed to make the most of his dominance with a goal. They do not.

As Forest tried and failed to pounce on the counterattack, Moyes continued to watch his team squander opportunity after opportunity as Ings somehow missed a free header from six yards out.

Despite all their pressure, West Ham’s first shot on goal in the 28th minute summed it all up: a meek effort from Said Benrahma straight at Keylor Navas after a fine brace with Paquetá.

Once again, Moyes would not have wanted to know anything about his half-time stats. It is clear where the problems are. Nine corners in the first half, none from head to goal.

Ings scores the first goal of the matchCredit: Pennsylvania
A brilliant goal from Declan Rice put the Hammers 3-0 upCredit: Reuters
Keylor Navas couldn’t prevent Rice’s goalCredit: Richard Pelham/The Sun

Of the 21 centers they produced, only two found a player in Claret and Blue.

No wonder they have only scored one headed goal this season. Last year, they managed an impressive 30 goals from crosses.

However, Moyes continues to insist that his side connect in the same way, hoping that one day things will return to normal. Maybe that’s why Aaron Cresswell came on for Vladimir Coufal at half-time.

Cresswell’s first act was to take a corner to the head of Tomas Soucek. As expected, the flick-on found the roof of the net.

The lack of cutting edge and lady luck in this team at present was epitomized when Bowen unleashed a right footed shot that hit the inside of Navas’s post and went wide.

Paquetá’s first setter then narrowly missed the crossbar. Another one of those days for West Ham and Moyes? Not if Ings had anything to say about it.

With 70 minutes on the clock, Ings controlled and sprayed a delicious ball past Bowen, whose dancing feet guided him into the box and gave him space to shoot across the goal.

And there were the ings. Finally, a West Ham striker in the right place at the right time with the right shot. Navas had no chance.

The stadium announcer could hardly believe it, yelling, “He started it! He finished it!”

The second wave of celebrations from the seemingly pointless VAR check for offside had just died down before he produced a similar result for his second at 73.rd minute.

Paquetá showed strength to win the ball. Benrahma showed cunning to slip into the box and, for once, a bit of luck as Ings pushed him over the line with his knee, the one that had limited him to bench appearances beforehand.

Michail Antonio put a shine on proceedings with the Hammers’ fourthCredit: Reuters

The reactions said it all. Moyes was dancing on the pitch just like she did during that run to the Europa League semi-finals. Crazed fans nearly ripped Rice’s shirt off.

For a team that hadn’t won a Prem game by a margin of three goals or more since last May, a third seemed unlikely. And then Rice curved one into the top corner in 78 minutes.

It was equalized then with five minutes remaining, the substitutions of Antonio and Pablo Fornals combined with a goal from the center of all things, the first header to the far post.


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