Brentford striker Ivan Toney scored one goal and made another as his side won 2-0 to hand West Ham United a fifth straight Premier League defeat on Friday and leave the Londoners hovering just above the relegation zone as 2022 draws to a close.
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice shaved the outside of the far post with an early shot and was left to rue that miss when Toney reacted quickest to stab the ball home from close range following a long Brentford throw-in after 18 minutes.
Toney turned provider from another throw-in just before the break as he teed up Josh Dasilva to score and the home fans expressed their frustration by booing loudly as the players left the field at halftime.
Jarrod Bowen thought he had won a penalty for West Ham early in the second half but, in a decision that summed up their night, a VAR review found that the contact with Ben Mee started just outside the box and a free kick was awarded instead.
West Ham manager David Moyes threw on Michail Antonio up front in the 64th and, though he brought physicality and energy, the Hammers still lacked quality in attack with defender Craig Dawson coming closest to scoring with an 82nd-minute header.
In the meantime Lukasz Fabianski had to pull off a superb reflex save to deny Brentford’s Saman Ghoddos, who fired a rocket towards the bottom right corner after Toney’s free kick was blocked only for the Pole to turn it behind for a corner.
West Ham had a couple of late set pieces but Brentford’s only cause for concern came in stoppage time when Toney was taken off on a stretcher with a suspected knee injury that makes him a doubt for their next game at home to Liverpool on Jan 2.
“Everyone can see what Ivan brings to the team. We’re not sure what happened so I will have to go in and see what’s what, hopefully it’s not too bad,” scorer Dasilva said.
The defeat leaves West Ham in 17th place just a point above the drop zone, while Brentford move up to ninth on 23 points, and the only reason there were not more boos for the hosts at the end was that most of the home fans had long since left.
“Where we are in the table isn’t good enough, we need to be doing better. We are letting ourselves down, our manager down and our fans down,” Rice said.
“People will say it’s a relegation battle, but if you have that mindset it makes everything frantic. It’s not like that at all, everything is so positive, we’ve got to stay positive.”