English Premier League

West Ham United 3-1 Luton Town

West Ham United 3-1 Luton Town. Luton are on the brink of relegation from the Premier League after West Ham came from behind to mark David Moyes’ final home game with a win at London Stadium.

Albert Sambi Lokonga’s first-half opener threatened to turn the penultimate game of Moyes’ tenure into a damp squib while breathing new life into the Hatters’ survival fight.

But Moyes rallied his troops at half-time and Luton were unable to repel the hosts after the break.

James Ward-Prowse drove home the 54th-minute equaliser after Thomas Kaminski had turned Jarrod Bowen’s cross-shot into his path.

Tomas Soucek fired the Hammers in front with a brilliant first-time volley from 25 yards when Luton cleared a corner straight to him 11 minutes later.

Mohammed Kudus should have added a third as the hosts dominated the second period, but the midfielder only managed to hit the post from 10 yards out when unmarked.

But that miss did not matter as 19-year-old George Earthy, on as a substitute for his second league appearance, turned in Kudus’ cut-back from close range.

The result leaves Luton three points behind fourth-bottom Nottingham Forest with only one game left to play and a significantly worse goal difference.

The Hatters’ relegation will be confirmed if Forest get a point against Chelsea in Saturday’s late kick-off at the City Ground (17:30 BST).

One of the major criticisms of Moyes from West Ham fans – who have been demanding a change of manager since before he ended their 43-year trophy drought in the Europa Conference League last June – was his seeming refusal to give younger players a chance.

Given that, it is ironic a youth-team product scored the last home goal under the Scot.

Earthy’s first top-flight appearance, at Fulham last month, only lasted seven minutes as he sustained a horrible head injury that required hospital treatment.

Little wonder there was so much joy on the teenager’s face after he darted across the Luton defence to steer Kudus’ pass into the net with his first touch after replacing Michail Antonio.

It was the kind of moment that can make a career and, while Moyes will not be the beneficiary, Earthy looks capable of having a significant impact under Julen Lopetegui – when the former Spain and Real Madrid manager’s appointment is eventually confirmed.

By that point, West Ham had made a clear edge in class tell.

After a disappointing opening, Kudus and Lucas Paqueta’s invention was too much for Luton, who found themselves chasing shadows as the home side exploited growing gaps in the visitors’ midfield.

Bowen had opportunities to get the goal he needs to take the outright lead for most goals in a single Premier League season for West Ham.

He will have another opportunity at Manchester City on the final day but for now he remains level with Paolo di Canio on 16 after Kaminski kept out his best effort with his legs in stoppage time.

With the sun beating down from a perfect blue sky, it was the ideal backdrop for what should have been a fond farewell for Moyes.

However, the brutal reality of top-flight football soon ruined it.

West Ham’s porous defence had conceded 12 goals in the past three league games before this one. In 10 out of the past 14, it had leaked at least two.

Their defensive failings have led to an unwanted Premier League club record for goals conceded (71) – undermining Moyes’ philosophy of building a successful team by being tight at the back.

And when Luton took a sixth-minute lead, their fans would have been dreaming that another top-flight season was possible.

Sadly for the Hatters, another key statistic ahead of the game was that they had both scored and conceded in 29 of their previous 36 league matches this season – a joint competition record. They are now out on their own in that metric.

Rob Edwards’ side bravely scrambled to defend their advantage until half-time, but there was an air of inevitability about what was likely to come after the break.

Moyes spoke to Edwards at the final whistle, doubtlessly trying to raise his spirits.

However, the applause from Luton fans to their players at the final whistle was done with the knowledge their defiant contribution to this Premier League season is almost at an end.

source – BBC

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