West Ham 3-1 Luton: Player ratings as Hatters near relegation

  • Albert Sambi Lokonga opened the scoring for Luton after just six minutes
  • West Ham hit back in second half through midfielder James Ward-Prowse
  • Tomas Soucek and George Earthy saw Hammers through to victory
West Ham fought back to down Luton at London Stadium
West Ham fought back to down Luton at London Stadium / Alex Davidson/GettyImages

FROM LONDON STADIUM - Luton Town are on the verge of an immediate return to the Championship after they lost 3-1 to West Ham United in David Moyes' last home game in charge.

The Hatters came into the game knowing a defeat would leave them needing an extremely unlikely swing of goal difference to overhaul Nottingham Forest, who would have to lose their final two games against Chelsea and Burnley. Even then, Burnley could have overtaken Luton with victory at Tottenham Hotspur.

Things got off to a great start for Rob Edwards' side, as Albert Sambi Lokonga headed home after just six minutes, but they were unable to stave off a strong West Ham fightback in the second half.

James Ward-Prowse levelled the scores for West Ham with a precise finish into the bottom corner, before Tomas Soucek smashed home with a left foot volley 11 minutes later. Substitute George Earthy, stretchered off on his debut against Fulham, put the gloss on the scoreline, turning home from close range after a superb run from Mohammed Kudus.

How the game unfolded

Luton started the game far better than last season's Conference League winners, who were playing for the first time since Moyes' departure at the end of the season was confirmed.

A lofted ball over the top just six minutes in found Elijah Adebayo in a chasm of space between Vladimir Coufal and Kurt Zouma, and although his scuffed effort on goal was blocked, he was able to lay the ball off to the advancing Alfie Doughty.

The left-back delighted floated a cross into the area at the first time of asking, where an advancing Sambi Lokonga ran into another London bus sized gap to steer a stooping header past the helpless Alphonse Areola.

West Ham responded somewhat, forcing errors from Ross Barkley and Gabriel Osho deep in Luton territory, but Kudus skewed an effort wide of Thomas Kaminski's post and Ward-Prowse's long wait for another goal from a free-kick continued.

Luton were pretty comfortable for the remainder of the half, defending well without ever really being put under too much pressure, but that quickly changed in the second half.

Jarrod Bowen scampered down the right as West Ham broke away at pace, and his deflected cross ricocheted off three pairs of legs, including Kaminski's, before Ward-Prowse arrived on the scene to lash the ball into the bottom corner.

With the atmosphere suddenly lifted, West Ham had immediate chances to take the lead - first through Bowen and then through Michail Antonio and Emerson Palmieri. It wasn't long until they did.

Ward-Prowse's cross into the penalty area was headed away, only for Soucek to guide a first-time volley into the corner with his weak foot. Earthy, a graduate of West Ham's academy, then turned home at the near post moments after coming on following a superb run from Kudus - the goal providing the perfect home ending for Moyes' reign.

West Ham player ratings (4-3-3)

Tomas Soucek challenges Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski
Tomas Soucek challenges Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

GK: Alphonse Areola - 6/10 - Could do nothing with Sambi Lokonga's header and had little else to do.

RB: Vladimir Coufal - 6/10 - Showed his usual grit and determination down the right, helping West Ham eventually break Luton's resistance.

CB: Kurt Zouma (c) - 6/10 - Mobility is severely limited but did well in the physical battle with Adebayo.

CB: Angelo Ogbonna - 6/10 - The veteran centre-back has looked all at sea in recent outings, but was far more composed here. Got a lovely ovation after being substituted.

LB: Emerson Palmieri - 6/10 - Still doesn't look completely comfortable playing in a back four but wasn't overly troubled by Onyedinma. Booked.

CM: Tomas Soucek - 8/10 - The man who never stops playing and smiling scored a cracker of a winning goal.

CM: James Ward-Prowse - 8/10 - Incredible free-kick technique seems to have deserted him but he found his technical best to sweep West Ham level with a rocket into the bottom corner. Really stepped up his level after the break.

CM: Lucas Paqueta - 6/10 - A little quiet than you'd hope given his quality. A couple of nice passes here and there.

RF: Jarrod Bowen - 7/10 - Upped his level after the interval, playing a key role in getting to Luton's byline for the equaliser.

CF: Mohammed Kudus - 7/10 - Can be guilty of running with his head down too often, stumbling into trouble. That said, when Kudus turns it on, he's brilliant - check West Ham's third goal for evidence of that.

LF: Michail Antonio - 6/10 - Seemed to relish the battle with Teden Mengi, eventually getting the upper hand in the second half.


SUB: George Earthy (75' for Antonio) - 7/10 - An incredible moment for Earthy, scoring immediately after coming on with some stealthy movement to the front post.

SUB: Aaron Cresswell (84' for Emerson) - N/A

SUB: Danny Ings (84' for Paqueta) - N/A

SUB: Kaelen Casey (90+2' for Ogbonna) - N/A

Subs not used: Lukasz Fabianski (GK), Ben Johnson, Edson Alvarez, Maxwel Cornet, Divin Mubama


David Moyes - 7/10 - Looked frustrated with his players ineptitude in the first half, but as we've often seen from West Ham under Moyes, they can turn it on. Made tactical tweaks and they worked.

Luton player ratings (4-4-2)

Albert Sambi Lokonga
Albert Sambi Lokonga celebrates his goal / Alex Davidson/GettyImages

GK: Thomas Kaminski - 6/10 - Made a wonderful tipped save from an Antonio header, but really couldn't do anything to keep West Ham's three goals out.

RB: Reece Burke - 6/10 - Started off solidly but tired as West Ham got the upper hand.

CB: Teden Mengi - 6/10 - Got into a real shirt-swapping wrestling match with Antonio at times, standing up to the challenge well.

CB: Gabriel Osho - 6/10 - A courageous enough display but West Ham's attacking intent won out.

LB: Alfie Doughty - 7/10 - Always carried a threat down the left, providing a perfectly weighted cross for Sambi Lokonga to power home.

RM: Fred Onyedinma - 6/10 - On the periphery far too much for Luton's liking.

CM: Ross Barkley - 6/10 - Sloppy in possession on the edge of his own penalty area but generally assured before picking up a calf injury. Booked.

CM: Albert Sambi Lokonga - 7/10 - Really composed in the first 45 minutes as Luton managed the game well. Overrun thereafter as West Ham changed things up.

LM: Tahith Chong - 7/10 - Showed boundless energy, putting a real shift in despite being turned around in the second half.

CF: Carlton Morris (c) - 6/10 - Faded out of the game as Luton struggled to keep hold of the ball against an improving Hammers.

CF: Elijah Adebayo - 6/10 - Lacked the technical quality to take advantage of some of the situations he put himself in. Manoeuvered Zouma around well in the first half particularly.


SUB: Jordan Clark (39' for Barkley) - 5/10 - Not able to influence the game positively as Luton lost all momentum.

SUB: Chiedozie Ogbene (74' for Onyedinma) - N/A

SUB: Luke Berry (87' for Doughty) - N/A

SUB: Cauley Woodrow (87' for Burke)

Subs not used: Tim Krul (GK), Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Daiki Hashioka, Joe Johnson, Andros Townsend


Rob Edwards - 6/10 - Will have been really pleased with Luton's first half display, where they didn't look like a team in relegation trouble. But the tide turned as West Ham's quality shone through.

Player of the Match: James Ward-Prowse (West Ham)