West Ham fans invaded the pitch at London Stadium after three second-half Burnley goals condemned the hosts to a third consecutive defeat.
Hammers captain Mark Noble tried to send one pitch invader away and another sprinted on holding a corner flag shortly after Chris Wood added to Ashley Barnes’ opener for the visitors.
Substitute Wood made it three for Sean Dyche’s men, who narrowed the gap on sixth-placed Arsenal to two points and won their first away game since November.
West Ham’s owners David Sullivan and David Gold were forced to leave the directors’ box near the end as anger boiled over and supporters chanted ‘sack the board’.
David Moyes’ West Ham are in 16th place, three points from the bottom three.
The home side’s collapse was at odds with an impressive first half when they started well, going close through striker Marko Arnautovic and playmaker Manuel Lanzini, who were denied by the legs of Burnley keeper Nick Pope.
They might have had a first-half penalty too when Aaron Cresswell’s cross struck Burnley winger Aaron Lennon’s arm, but the second-half introduction of New Zealand international Wood for the visitors turned the game as it did during the Clarets’ last win against Everton, when he scored the winner.
Troubles deepen on and off the pitch
West Ham have planned to fly to Miami for warm-weather training after this game.
You might not blame the players and manager David Moyes if they want to be far from home after this defeat signalled deepening problems on and off the pitch.
Moyes had called their last defeat, the 4-1 reverse at Swansea, “embarrassing” but against Burnley he could not fault the overall efforts of his players for 45 minutes at least.
They pressed superbly in the first half, should have scored twice, and had their visitors on the back foot.
Argentine midfielder Lanzini was pulling the strings and, with the fans behind them, West Ham looked most likely to take something from the match.
Then it all changed. Ashley Barnes’ emphatic opener prompted anger to boil over in the stands and a fan ran on to the pitch. There had been a small protest by some home supporters before the game too, but the Burnley goal triggered chaos.
The repeated pitch invasions cannot have helped the focus of the home players, who wilted as Burnley scored another two.
West Ham have now won only one of their last seven league games, claiming just five points from a possible 21 during this run.
With just eight games remaining, and a two-week break because of FA Cup matches (which they are not involved in) and international football, Moyes must find a way to rebuild his players’ confidence.
‘I understand fans’ feelings, but this isn’t the answer’ – Lampard
Former West Ham midfielder Frank Lampard, speaking on Match of the Day:
“It was very toxic today in the second half in particular with fans coming onto the pitch.
“Mark (Noble) is Mr West Ham and he cares – that’s why he reacts this way. This isn’t right whatever way you look at it.
“I understand the fans’ feelings. They’ve moved to a new stadium and wanted to fight for Europe but the club has gone backwards and the fans are asking questions. The net spend is not enough.
“But a demonstration mid game isn’t the answer.”
Wood makes big difference again
Winning can become a habit and after claiming their first victory in 12 league games against Everton last week, Burnley have another.
This triumph over West Ham, their first back-to-back wins since December, was testament to a vastly improved second half.
They did not have a shot on target and rode their luck before the break, but it all changed – again – when Dyche brought Wood off the bench.
The towering Kiwi suddenly leading the line with Barnes made a big difference.
Wood, who created Barnes’ opener, is the first player to be involved in three Premier League goals as a substitute since Everton’s Steven Naismith in 2015, and he has a knack for making things happen.
Being able to leave him out after he made such a big impact last week suggests Dyche has genuine strength in depth.
Burney will need it as they pursue sixth place and Europa League qualification.
But the Clarets manager can point to his team’s impressive mentality as evidence they can keep going, having stuck to their task amid the second-half drama and plundered three goals.
Man of the match – Chris Wood (Burnley)
‘You can’t cross the line’ – what they said
West Ham manager David Moyes told BBC Match of the Day: “Up until the goal you wouldn’t have thought that it would have been such a bad day. We had played well enough to be in front but the first goal quickly altered things.
“We want the supporters behind us, since I’ve been here they’ve been really good. But you can’t cross the line and come on the pitch.
“A lot of my players did well with the way they acted.
“We still have plenty of games, we are good enough and we will be out of the bottom three come the end of the season. I’m confident we have the players here.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche told Match of the Day: “They were the better side in the first half, we had to do the ugly stuff to stay in it.
“We have to focus on ourselves.
“You can’t play like we did in the first half and expect to get things out of the game.
“The first marker was to be better than last season. We have played better and now we have 43 points, the highest in the Premier League era. That’s pleasing with eight games to go.”
West Ham can’t stop conceding – the stats
- West Ham United have lost three league games in a row by a margin of three or more goals for the first time since March 2008.
- Burnley have now recorded their highest points tally in a single Premier League season (43), with eight games still to spare.
- Ashley Barnes has scored in three successive appearances for Burnley – the last time he scored in three successive games was in May 2011 for Brighton (four games).
- Burnley did not manage a single shot on target until the 66th minute of this match, which Ashley Barnes scored with. The Clarets then scored with their second shot on target three minutes later.
- Overall, Burnley scored three goals despite posting just four shots on target in this match.
- Of goalkeepers to have appeared in at least four matches this season, Joe Hart has the worst goals-conceded-per-game average (2.2 per game).
- David Moyes has faced Sean Dyche five times as manager in all competitions, failing to win a single meeting (D2 L3).
West Ham host Southampton on Saturday, 31 March (15:00 GMT), while Burnley travel to the Hawthorns to face West Brom on the same day (15:00 GMT).