West Ham’s first Premier League win in two months was enough to take them out of the relegation zone as £20m Jarrod Bowen marked his full debut with a goal against Southampton.
Sebastian Haller and Michail Antonio were also on target at the London Stadium after teenage forward Michael Obafemi had levelled Bowen’s opener for the Saints.
The excellent Antonio might have had another for the hosts after he had been sent free by an audacious rabona from Haller but goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made the save.
Unlike their last home game against Brighton, when they squandered a 3-1 lead, this time the Hammers eased home, moving above Aston Villa with a much-needed victory after a run of two points from their last seven games.
The result was also positive for co-chairman David Sullivan and David Gold given the protest against them that took place before the game by thousands of Hammers fans, angry at the way the club is being run.
A lot of haggling took place before Bowen’s January transfer deadline-day move from Hull finally went through. The striker even had his medical in Yorkshire just in case the deal was not completed and he was required for duty in the Championship the following day.
It has taken a bit of time for Bowen to get his chance but, finally given a start by manager David Moyes, the 23-year-old showed why he has scored 39 goals in the last season-and-a-half.
Even from a wide position on the right, Bowen was a threat and had a good chance blocked before opening his Hammers account after 15 minutes, running on to an excellent pass from Pablo Fornals before supplying the neat finish.
Such is the general feeling of discontent around the London Stadium at the moment that Southampton’s equaliser could easily have been a body blow from which the hosts could not recover.
To that end, their were indebted to McCarthy, who gifted the hosts their second by getting his positioning all wrong to challenge for a routine up and under by Antonio.
Haller out-jumped McCarthy to get his head on the ball and then reacted quickly to squeeze the ball home from a tight angle.
A lofted Fornals pass sent Antonio through for the Hammers’ third and while they have given away 22 points from winning positions this season, most recently at Liverpool on Monday, this time they completed the job.
That was particularly welcome for Bowen, who had lost all nine previous Premier League games he had been involved in.
More to follow.