Everton 4 West Ham 0: Wayne Rooney has waited 15 long years to score his first Everton hat-trick. He could hardly have dreamed of completing it in a more outrageous fashion.
An extraordinary day at Goodison Park had an extraordinary finish. The arrival of an unpopular new manager was forgotten, temporarily. Sam Allardyce watched from the directors’ box. He was witness to one of the most incredible goals that Goodison Park has ever seen.
Rooney had two first-half goals to his name as Dominic Calvert-Lewin chased a through ball. West Ham keeper Joe Hart raced out and cleared straight to Rooney who, from inside his own half, sent the ball sailing back into the net.
Caretaker David Unsworth made five changes last night, with Rooney restored to the starting line-up as captain, academy graduate Tom Davies recalled in midfield, and three alterations to an injury-hit back four.
Rooney made his first impact on 17 minutes. Dominic Calvert-Lewin was brought down by Hart, having been played clear by West Ham midfielder Pedro Obiang’s loose touch. Rooney’s penalty was saved, but he stooped to head in the rebound.
It soon got even better for Everton, with a second goal fashioned by three of the club’s academy graduates. Jonjoe Kenny fed a pass down the right for Tom Davies to run on to, then miskicked the midfielder’s low cross, but the ball fell to the unmarked Rooney to finish at the far post.
David Moyes, Everton’s manager for 11 years, could only watch on helpless from the West Ham technical area, shaking his head.
West Ham, looking short on confidence, had one chance to get back into the game before half-time, as Manuel Lanzini’s corner flicked through to Winston Reid at the far post, but the defender could not adjust his body to score, as Rooney booted clear.
Everton were applauded off at half-time; a rarity these days. Unaccustomed to the luxury of a two-goal lead, they resorted to panic mode in the early minutes of the second half and West Ham left-back Aaron Cresswell was unlucky to see his angled shot glance off the crossbar.
When Ashley Williams brought down sub Diafra Sakho just before the hour mark, it seemed as if the home side would crumble, but Pickford, who saved a penalty in Everton’s last home match against Atalanta, repeated the trick against Lanzini.
Rooney’s moment of magic followed, with Unsworth going for the full-on celebrations, before Williams looped in a header from a corner to make it 4-0.
“Sack the board,” chanted the West Ham fans.
Pickford 7; Kenny 7, Holgate 7, Williams 7, Martina 7; Gueye 7, Rooney 9 (Baningime 85); Lennon 7 (Lookman 89), Davies 8, Sigurdsson 7; Calvert-Lewin 8 (Vlasic 90).
Robles, Besic, Schneiderlin, Sandro.
West Ham (4-2-3-1):
Hart 6; Zabaleta 6, Reid 6 (Rice 77), Ogbonna 6, Cresswell 6; Kouyate 5, Obiang 6 (Sakho 46, 6); Arnautovic 4 (Antonio 61, 6), Lanzini 6, Masuaku 6; Ayew 5.
Adrian, Noble, Martinez, Fernandes.
Michael Oliver (Northumberland) 8 Attendance: 38,242
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