West Ham United put in a commanding display as they put six goals past Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon in their biggest win since January 1998.
Ricardo Vaz Te made it ten goals in ten starts for the club after grabbing a hat-trick and there were goals for Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole too with the sixth coming via an own goal. The result marked West Ham's first home win since beating Millwall at the beginning of February and was fully deserved as they controlled the game from start to finish.
The Hammers began the game in imperious form, scoring three times in the opening twelve minutes. Vaz Te powered a 30-yard swerving drive in the goal after only three minutes before scoring his second of the game five minutes later when he nodded in at the back post following Gary O'Neil's cross.
The game was virtually over after twelve minutes when James Tomkins headed a Matt Taylor free-kick back across goal to leave Nolan with the simple task of tapping into an empty net.
West Ham continued in the same vein after the break and Vaz Te completed his hat-trick just after the hour mark with a wonderfully taken acrobatic scissor kick volley that flew into the net. Just two minutes later it was five with Cole's shot taking a deflection off Henri Lansbury's heel and looping over Peter Brezovan in the Brighton goal.
The final nail in The Seagull's coffin came when midfielder Gary Dicker put a Mark Noble corner into his own goal as the Hammers maintained their discipline to secure their first home clean sheet since Crystal Palace's visit at the end of December.
"It was a tremendous victory for us today I think that since Millwall at home this is close to as good as we have played," Big Sam said. "The pressure we were under to deliver a result was huge and the quality of our football and final third of play was fantastic.
"We started the game so brightly and we scored the goals that we deserved to score from the amount of chances we created. Kevin Nolan drove the team on today and got a goal too. Carlton Cole played very well up top and got a goal too. Matt Taylor did well filling in at left back.
"There wasn't really a player that didn't do his job properly today. Vaz put in a scintillating performance today he took his goals very, very well."
The win also moves the home side to within three points of Southampton, who lost 3-1 to Reading on Friday night, while also massively boosting their goal difference. A win at Briston City on Tuesday is now essential if the Hammers are to maintain the pressure on the Saints, who travel to Peterborough on the same night.
"We got a clean sheet too so if we carry on like this, hopefully we can win all three games we have got left. The six goals also is a massive benefit to our goal difference, we are now only three goals behind them and in the end that could make a massive difference. All we can do now is win on Tuesday and hope somebody else slips up."