Jesse Lingard’s again was the spark that inspired West Ham to another win that places them in pole position in the race for the Champions League.

The forward’s stunning solo goal inspired the nervy Hammers as they survived a Wolves fightback to win 3-2 and move up to fourth in the Premier League.

Lingard also had a key role in first-half strikes for Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen – to put the Hammers 3-0 up – and now has six goals in eight games since joining on loan from Manchester United.

Leander Dendoncker and Fabio Silva made the Hammers work, though, as they clung on for their first league double over Wolves in almost 100 years, having blown a 3-0 lead against Arsenal last time out.

West Ham – missing Declan Rice with a knee injury – had not beaten Wolves home and away in the league since 1922-23 but after Willian Jose dragged wide they took complete control of the first half.

Rui Patricio had already tipped Michail Antonio’s stinging 30-yard drive onto the post before Lingard lit up Molineux after six minutes.

Vladimir Coufal set the Hammers away and Lingard collected the ball 10 yards inside his own half before bursting towards goal. He breezed past the tame challenges of Dendoncker and Romain Saiss before firing past Patricio from 12 yards.

The on-loan Manchester United forward continued to terrorise the hosts and was crucial in the Hammers’ second after 14 minutes.

A brilliant piece of skill kept the ball in on the byline and Arthur Masuaku crossed for the arriving Fornals to steer in.

Wolves looked lost.

Daniel Podence’s hanging header did bounce off the top of the bar after 22 minutes but there was no consistent response from Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

The Hammers made it 3-0 seven minutes before the break. Again Lingard stared with The England international latched on to Tomas Soucek’s header to leave four Wolves defenders trailing and slip in Bowen.

The substitute – only on the pitch for 154 seconds having replaced the injured Antonio – then rifled a drive past Patricio at his near post.

Wolves tried to recover but Pedro Neto underlined their woes when he stabbed wide from six yards with Lukasz Fabianski grounded after he parried Jose’s effort.

However, Wolves game themselves a life line before the break with Adama Traore – previously without a goal or an assist all season – bursting down the left and delivering a wicked cross for Dendoncker to power in a downward header.

The second half was a different story. With West Ham feeling the loss of the impressive Antonio in the first half they lacked a natureal outlfet and Wolves were able to capitalise.

Silva made it 3-2 with 22 minutes left, latching on to Neto’s ball and drilling in low across Fabianski. Dendoncker and Neto had good chances too but were only able to fire over as Wolves chased a leveller.

West Ham clung on and grabbed the win that keeps their Champions League dreams alive but with Declan Rice potentially joined by Michael Antonio on the treatment table how long for, is another question.

About the author

Jim Salveson

Jim Salveson

Sport Social Editor
aka "The Gaffer" - Editor/Head of Sport Social. Sports Journalist, presenter and audio nut with a passion for telling a story. A Long-suffering West Ham fan who is more than happy to watch THAT Paulo Di Canio goal against Wimbledon over and over again.
Follow @Mr_Jimbob on Twitter
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