West Ham kept up their terrific away form with an outstanding victory at Oakwell as they took apart Barnsley by securing a 4-0 win.
This was a match in which Sam Alladyce’s side had to win. And they did, in style.
Skipper Kevin Nolan opened the scoring inside the first seven minutes after pouncing on a Matt Taylor corner for his 11th of the campaign.
Barnsley’s out-of-form hitman Craig Davies had a long range shot parried by Robert Green moments later and that was the closest that the Tykes came in the whole 90 minutes.
Nicky Maynard doubled the Hammers’ lead in the 23rd minute with a long range strike that beat Barnsley stopper David Button.
It was game over at this point, and the Londoners added insult to injury 10 minutes before the break with Mark Noble taking advantage of a Button error.
And former Oakwell star Ricardo Vaz Te was alert to sweep in a fourth and complete the rout on 55 as he slotted home following George McCartney spilled shot.
West Ham could have made it 5-0 late on but the woodwork came to the home side’s rescue as Maynard’s effort crashed back off the post.
It was a routine win, one secured with purpose, efficiency and conviction. One that West Ham needed to get three points from with home ties against fellow promotion hopefuls Birmingham and Brighton coming up.
For Barnsley, meanwhile, it was a disappointing display and despite having a clear gap on the bottom three in the league table, they must perform better in their next six outings if they are to completely guarantee survival.
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