By Simon Leyland
On afternoons like these, seasons turn. Fifteen frantic second-half minutes and suddenly a weight lifts, the mood of a whole club changes.
Danny Ings at the three-minute double. Dreamland…., our not so ashen faced Supremo was still punching the air joyously when his captain, Declan Rice, added a sumptuous third.
Just like that a must win game was won. The Hammers move outside the Premier League’s bottom three. Thirty years since Bobby Moore’s passing was celebrated with a clean sheet.
But it was not a walk in the park. For nearly 70 minutes it felt like yet another afternoon of frustration. As the Forest goalie clawed away corner after corner, Irons fans exchanged worried glances.
Lucas Paquetá tried his utmost. Moyes tried harder still, shifting between the holy triptych of hand positions; arms-folded; eagle-wings; wild-clapping. When the interval came there was a ripple of boos. But most barely bothered. It took Bowen to hit the post for the ground to stir. It flattened again when Lukasz Fabianski and Felipe collided. It was nothing vicious but the former was dazed and Areola took his place.
Had Forest ridden the wave? Categorically, no. Ings started the move for the first with a raking pass to Bowen. And while his teammate weaved into the area, Ings galloped forward. Soon after poking home, Ings bundled in Saïd Benrahma’s centre. “Those are the goals we want to see from centre forwards sometimes,” Our Supremo added of Ings. “We needed somebody who knows the art.”
Already crestfallen, Forest could barely believe it when first Rice and then Antonio added gloss.
It was just what we needed to lift morale. But it raises yet again more questions about Moyes than answers.
Why play so cautiously in so many previous games?
Why not put this team out against Spurs? Does he see that we are better when we go out to win rather than when we go out for a point?
Will he take the team forward or will he force them back into the shell when we are up against so-called better opposition?
Did Dec’s comments on the tactics vs Spurs influence today’s line-up and approach?
One swallow does not make a summer.