West Ham leapfrogged Everton in the Premier League as Angelo Ogbonna's 74th-minute header was enough to secure a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Goodison Park on Super Sunday.
In a game low on quality in the final third, Ogbonna rose to meet Jarrod Bowen's set-piece as Everton suffered their first home defeat of the season after three consecutive victories.
Alex Iwobi and Salomon Rondon both missed good chances either side of half-time to put the hosts in front but West Ham recorded successive league wins at Goodison Park for the first time since March 1930 on David Moyes' return to his former club.
The result moved West Ham up to seventh in the table on goal difference as Everton slipped to eighth following Tottenham's 3-2 win at Newcastle later on Sunday, missing out on the chance to move into the top four.
Everton: Pickford (6), Digne (6), Coleman (6), Keane (7), Godfrey (5), Allan (7), Doucoure (6), Iwobi (5), Gray (7), Townsend (6), Rondon (5).
Subs: Gordon (5).
West Ham: Fabianski (6), Cresswell (7), Johnson (6), Zouma (7), Ogbonna (8), Soucek (6), Rice (8), Fornals (6), Benrahma (7), Bowen (7), Antonio (6).
Subs: Yarmolenko (n/a), Lanzini (n/a), Dawson (n/a).
Man of the match: Angelo Ogbonna.
Moyes enjoys happy return to Goodison
Everton were seeking to win their first four at Goodison Park in a league campaign for the first time since the 1978/79 season under Gordon Lee, but they looked anxious from the very first whistle.
Declan Rice was controlling the contest from the base of the West Ham midfield as an inviting low cross from Aaron Cresswell inside the opening three minutes that missed Michail Antonio by a yard set the tone for a period of early dominance from the visitors.
It wasn't until the 15th minute that the hosts flickered into life as moments after Alex Iwobi came close to meeting Andros Townsend's cross, Abdoulaye Doucoure rifled a shot from the edge of the box over, without ever troubling Lukasz Fabianski.
For all their impressive passing, of which there was 76 per cent possession inside the opening 26 minutes, West Ham had only posted two shots on goal, and they very nearly fell behind when Demarai Gray skipped past Ogbonna down the right and his low cross was missed altogether by Iwobi with the goal at his mercy.
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Get Sky Sports | Stream the big moments on NOW
- Premier League table | Premier League fixtures
Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp said: "It is actually a hard skill to do, to miss it completely like that."
Iwobi very nearly atoned for his miss when he looked to turn provider for Gray down the left but Cresswell made a vital late intervention before Doucoure tamely headed wide from another Townsend cross.
West Ham thought they found the breakthrough when Tomas Soucek was on hand to steer his close-range shot into the roof of the net following a fine save low down by Jordan Pickford to deny Bowen but the Czech Republic midfielder was correctly flagged for offside.
The game had swung back West Ham's way, and as Everton struggled to clear their lines following a block by Ben Godfrey to deny Pablo Fornals, the Spaniard was afforded far too much time to curl a right-footed shot inches wide of the post.
In truth, this was a bit of a slow burner lacking in genuine quality. Benitez made a tactical tweak as Gray moved to the left flank and immediately evaded Ben Johnson with ease to cross but yet again there was no outstretched leg in the six-yard box.
Everton continued to probe down the same channel as Lucas Digne was next to venture forward and after Iwobi this time collected his cross to swivel and shoot, Ogbonna made a vital block to divert his effort narrowly wide.
Alex Iwobi was back in the Everton team having missed the trip to Old Trafford last time out as he replaced Anthony Gordon. Yerry Mina had to settle for a place on the bench having only returned from international duty with Colombia on Friday. He was replaced by Seamus Coleman, meaning Ben Godfrey moved to centre-back.
Vladimir Coufal failed his fitness test meaning Ben Johnson deputised at right-back in the one change from the West Ham side that were beaten late on by Brentford before the international break. Former Everton midfielder Nikola Vlasic was named on the bench.
Everton sensed the opener was coming as Rondon moved in front of Kurt Zouma and saw his glanced header from Townsend's cross veer inches wide with Fabianski stranded. West Ham continued to offer their opponents problems from set-pieces as Pickford managed to divert Bowen's deep corner off the head of Soucek at the far post.
Michael Keane made a fine block to thwart Antonio as he stepped inside Godfrey to fire low right-footed midway through the second period as Everton began to tire but a period of treatment for Antonio enabled Benitez a chance to get a message across to his players.
It would not stem the tide, however, as within moments West Ham found the breakthrough. Everton contested the awarding of the corner as Pickford rose to meet Antonio from Godfrey's sliced clearance, but Ogbonna subsequently leapt above Godfrey to flick home Bowen's near-post delivery.
Moyes admitted he had not seen the incident which led to the disputed corner but felt referees' general interpretation of allowing play to flow more was a good thing.
"I genuinely don't know the answer but I think there is a bit more contact in the game," he said. "We are enjoying it more and the game is a better watch than it was over the last two seasons.
"Overall, the referees are doing a much better job than they have been doing over the last couple of seasons."
Everton searched in vain for an equaliser in the closing 10 minutes as Godfrey volleyed over from a corner but it was West Ham who did the late pressing as Ogbonna stabbed a deflected effort wide before Pickford brilliantly denied Bowen in the closing stages with the home side consigned to their fate.
In stoppage time, Zouma hurled himself in the way of Gray's shot as West Ham earned another impressive away victory with a clean sheet to go with it.
Analysis: West Ham continue to thrive on the road
Sky Sports' Ben Grounds at Goodison Park:
"This was certainly an off-day for Everton, in much the same way it was in the corresponding fixture when Tomas Soucek's late goal pinched all three points for West Ham.
"That decided a filthy contest on New Year's Day but it acted as a catalyst for the remainder of last season under David Moyes.
"It sparked a six-match winning run in all competitions as West Ham refused to relinquish their position among the European contenders, but this was a far more controlled victory despite the identical scoreline.
"Inside the opening 20 minutes, Everton hadn't mustered a single touch inside the opposition box and while the hosts did grow into the contest to see chances created and squandered, a third away league victory of the season always felt within West Ham's grasp.
"Rafael Benitez will have been disappointed at the manner his team faded, but the Hammers remain unbeaten on their travels, stretching their best away start in their last six campaigns. Indeed, it is the first time they have gone seven top-flight away matches without defeat since January 2009.
"Moyes would often tell his players at Everton about the importance of avoiding straight defeats in the Premier League, and having lost in such painful circumstances last time out at home to Brentford, he retains a proud record of having not suffered this feat since September 2020.
"It is the sort of consistency Benitez is striving to instil back on Merseyside, on a day the absence of key personnel caught up with Everton."
Man of the match: Angelo Ogbonna
All eight of West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna's Premier League goals have come from set-pieces, including seven from corners (one free-kick). All eight have also been scored against a different opponent.
Both he and Rice were superb, the England midfielder completing 71 of his 78 passes, but Ogbonna made the crucial contribution in both boxes, making a goal-saving block from Iwobi's strike before beating Rice to Bowen's cross.
What the managers said
Everton boss Rafa Benitez: "I was disappointed to concede, set-piece or open play it doesn't matter. We spoke about how dangerous this team could be in the air. The way the corner was given, we were more disappointed.
"I have a problem as I'm from Spain and in Europe, it is always a case of a free-kick when a player goes into the 'keeper [in the build-up to West Ham's winning goal]. Then, after that, we can discuss if it's a corner. But we have to react and improve at defending these situations.
"The six-yard box is there to protect the goalkeeper. That's the point of the six-yard box as he can otherwise not see what's either side of him when he goes up to claim a ball."
"The fact that we were winning before without Richarlison or Dominic [Calvert-Lewin] meant perhaps we could do the same but we have to take our chances. Also, missing these players means you have less fresh legs to change. It's more obvious now that it's a problem but we have to carry on all the same."
"Richarlison is closer to being back than Dominic. I can see [Anthony] Gordon improving and I can see [Alex] Iwobi giving us more. We can talk about chances but we have to use the squad and have to ensure we give the players confidence and that we support them."
West Ham boss David Moyes: "I was annoyed as I felt our earlier play had warranted more goals or clearer chances but credit to Everton as they defended their box well and we didn't perhaps show enough in the final third. I always felt it would be a tough, tight game throughout.
"Nowadays, as a modern trend everyone has got a set-piece coach and we've got players who want to head the ball which makes a difference. [Angelo] Ogbonna, Issa Diop, Craig Dawson and Kurt Zouma all like to get their heads on the ball and then you need someone who can provide the delivery and Jarrod [Bowen] certainly did that today.
"I want the team to challenge and I want them to play and try to get us a victory wherever we go. We've got a good team and we've been playing well. Before today in the last few games, we've not done enough in the final third but we managed to get the win today.
"It would be hard to say just how good Declan Rice was today. For me, he was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. He did the dirty bits in the game when he had to do so but had a great air of control on the ball and poise."
West Ham's set-piece strength - Opta stats
- West Ham have won consecutive away league visits to Everton for only the second time, and the first since March 1930.
- Everton suffered their eighth home Premier League defeat of 2021; only in 1993 (10) and 2005 (9) have they lost more times in a single calendar year in the competition at Goodison Park.
- West Ham are unbeaten in seven away league games (W5 D2), their longest run without defeat on the road in the Premier League since January 2009 (also seven).
- West Ham have earned 10 points from four away league games this season (W3 D1 L0); adjusting to three points for a win all-time, this is their joint-most from their opening four away matches to a Football League/Premier League campaign (also 10 in 1956-57, 2011-12 and 2015-16).
Live Renault Super Sunday
Everton host Watford in the Premier League next Saturday at 3pm while West Ham host Tottenham next Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event; coverage starts at 1pm with kick-off at 2pm.