Toffees steal it

West Ham United fell to a scarcely believable 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat to Everton on Sunday.

Despite dominating for almost the whole 90 minutes and scoring through a Tony Hibbert own-goal, the Hammers were hit by two sucker punches new world heavyweight champion David Haye would have been proud off from Louis Saha and Dan Gosling.

The 32,466-strong Remembrance Sunday crowd observed an immaculate minute's silence before kick-off, honouring the memory of all those who have lost their lives in conflict.

When the game began, West Ham started the better of the two sides, quickly finding their passing rhythm and nearly going ahead seven minutes in, only for Guille Franco to divert Julien Faubert's cross just the wrong side of the far post.

With the lively Zavon Hines showing willingness to run at the Everton defence, it was not long until the England Under-21 striker's persistence created an opening for Scott Parker, but the midfielder could only shoot straight at Tim Howard from an acute angle on 20 minutes.

Two minutes later, Parker almost returned the favour for Hines with a clever through-ball, only for the alert Joseph Yobo to snuff out the danger at the vital moment.

It appeared only a matter of time before the Hammers would break the deadlock, only for Saha to hit the home side with a goal out of nothing on 27 minutes.

Tim Cahill held the ball up inside the 'D' before laying off for the Frenchman to belt his fifth Everton goal in three matches against West Ham into the bottom left-hand corner.

Having fallen a goal behind, the Hammers continued to hold the upper hand in terms of possession and territory, with the ball and both sets of players spending the majority of the opening 40 minutes inside Everton's half.

The visitors did finish the opening stanza strongly, though, with Saha heading narrowly wide and Cahill slicing straight at Robert Green.

The Hammers began the second period as they had the first, and it was not long before both Hibbert and Marouane Fellaini had been booked by referee Alan Wiley as they attempted to stem the home tide.

Both Luis Jimenez and Franco had half-chances before Zola replaced the former with crowd favourite Alessandro Diamanti on 57 minutes. The Italian was quickly into the action, feeding a short corner to Parker that the England man stabbed narrowly wide.

Moments later, Stanislas fired inches wide of the same post after Parker's shot had been blocked.

Amazingly, despite offering next to nothing as an attacking force, Everton would again score completely against the run of play.

Having seen his initial right-foot shot blocked by Green's legs, Gosling smashed a left-foot finish into the net to put the Toffees two goals clear on 64 minutes.

A minute later, the Hammers finally had a reward for their efforts when Stanislas latched on to Diamanti's exquisite through ball before lofting the ball over the advancing Howard. The covering Hibbert looked favourite to clear the danger, only to hack the ball into the roof of the net with his left foot.

With the home crowd cheering them on, West Ham spent the remaining 25 minutes almost exclusively camped inside the Everton half,

Diamanti, in particular, continued his good work, curling a teasing effort just over.

Visiting substitute Yakubu stung Green's palms with a rising shot, but it was still the hosts who carried by far the greater threat, with Hines twice shooting wide when it looked odds-on that the forward would add to the first league goal he netted against Aston Villa in midweek.

Hines created chances too, winning a free-kick that led to Yobo being booked and Howard making an acrobatic save to keep out Diamanti's curling strike.

The Italian then poked a shot wide from 20 yards before Howard saved bravely from Franco as the American's goal miraculously remained intact.

Manager Zola and his players will find it hard to believe they did not take at least a point from the game. They will now return to the training pitch during the two-week international break before the trip to Hull City on Saturday 21 November.