By Andy Sims, PA
Gianluca Scamacca scored a cracker but West Ham made hard work of a 3-2 victory at Danish side Silkeborg in the Europa Conference League.
The Italy striker, a £30million summer signing from Sassuolo, scored with a stunning strike in between a penalty from Manuel Lanzini and Craig Dawson’s header.
But it was not all plain sailing for David Moyes’ side as, just as they had against Romanian side FCSB a week ago, they conceded the first goal.
And they were hanging on for the final 15 minutes after Soren Tengstedt pulled one back before eventually making it two wins from two in Europe this season.
Silkeborg, fourth in the Danish Superliga and managed by former Aston Villa defender Kent Nielsen, stunned the Premier League team by taking the lead after just five minutes.
The ball was pulled back for Kasper Kusk to sidefoot past wrongfooted Hammers keeper Alphonse Areola from the edge of the area.
With West Ham struggling to get to grips with the artificial pitch at Silkeborg’s modern JYSK Park stadium, Lukas Engel almost doubled the advantage with a shot which flew across goal and wide.
However, the lead lasted only six minutes before Maxwel Cornet was pushed to the ground by Tobias Salquist and Lanzini hauled the Hammers level from the penalty spot.
After 25 minutes the visitors had the lead through a Scamacca special. Cornet intercepted a loose pass and played in the Italian, who let fly from 20 yards with a scorcher which flew high into the net.
Silkeborg should have equalised when Nicklas Helenius headed home from a corner but it was ruled out for a foul, with no VAR in operation to overturn what looked to be the wrong decision.
Then Dawson, who has been out injured since West Ham’s first pre-season friendly, marked his return to the side with the third goal, a trademark header from Aaron Cresswell’s corner, eight minutes before half-time.
With a trip to his former club Everton on Sunday in mind, Moyes gave Declan Rice, Lucas Paqueta and Scamacca a breather, with Tomas Soucek, Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen sent on.
But when Bowen gave the ball away and Lanzini mistimed a challenge, Silkeborg broke clear and halved the deficit through Tengstedt.
And the Hammers were almost pegged back when the ball landed at the feet of Tonni Adamsen, but Areola denied him an equaliser with a fine save.