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Monday, June 24, 2024

Luton all but relegated as West Ham win David Moyes’s home farewell

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David Moyes said farewell to the London Stadium while Luton were left almost certainly waving goodbye to the Premier League after a 3-1 defeat by West Ham.

Albert Sambi Lokonga looked set to spoil Moyes’ party and give Luton a chance of taking the survival fight to the final day when he fired the visitors into an early lead.

But second-half goals from James Ward-Prowse, Tomas Soucek and teenager George Earthy gave Moyes a winning send-off in his final home match in charge.

By contrast, Luton boss Rob Edwards and some of his players were in tears, seemingly resigned to an immediate return to the Championship, as they applauded the travelling support after the final whistle.

After months of speculation, and following just four wins from 21 matches since the turn of the year, West Ham finally announced Moyes was leaving on Monday after four-and-a-half years in charge.

Julen Lopetegui is set to usher in a new era in east London but Saturday gave West Ham fans, even those fed up with Moyes and his perceived defensive tactics, the chance to thank the Scot for his second spell in charge, the successive top-seven finishes, the three seasons in Europe and, of course, that night in Prague last summer.

David Moyes waved goodbye to the London Stadium (Action Images via Reuters)
Luton boss Rob Edwards was in tears after defeat all but relegated Luton (Action Images via Reuters)

However, in contrast to that Europa Conference League-winning outfit, the first half was 2024 West Ham in a nutshell – lethargic, sloppy, lacking ideas and defensively suspect.

Just five minutes had elapsed when Alfie Doughty lifted a cross into the area and Lokonga dived in ahead of Angelo Ogbonna to head home from six yards out.

Luton, still scrapping for their lives despite being beset by injuries all season, suddenly had a glimmer of hope in the battle to beat the drop. Meanwhile, a few boos accompanied Moyes and his players as they headed down the tunnel at half-time.

However, the fans’ mood changed eight minutes into the second half when Jarrod Bowen scurried down the right and his cross-shot was half-cleared by the boot of Thomas Kaminski. The ball fell to Ward-Prowse, who lashed it low and hard past the grounded Hatters goalkeeper from 14 yards out.

West Ham celebrated victory in David Moyes’ final home game in charge (PA Wire)

Bowen almost put the hosts ahead when he intercepted Gabriel Osho’s headed back-pass but could only flick the ball into Kaminski’s arms.

Kaminski then kept out two goalbound headers from Michail Antonio in quick succession, with Bowen firing the rebound from the second inches wide.

A West Ham goal was coming and Soucek pounced in the 65th minute after Lokonga had headed away Ward-Prowse’s cross.

Then came a sweet moment for Earthy, on as a substitute a month after his debut lasted just two minutes before he was knocked out cold and taken to hospital.

The 19-year-old will certainly remember his second appearance, scoring a first senior goal a minute after coming on to offer hope for the future as West Ham said a fond farewell to the past.

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