By George Overhill

21st Jan, 2023 | 3:46pm

Paul Merson reacts to lucky Angelo Ogbonna escape for West Ham United vs Everton live on Sky Sports

Angelo Ogbonna was “very fortunate” not to concede a penalty or a goal for West Ham when he struggled to deal with a cross against Everton.

In the 16th minute of a must-win game for both sides Alex Iwobi lifted a ball into the Hammers box which the centre-back headed onto his arm after slipping.

Handball appeals were waved away and Yerry Mina’s subsequent shot was blasted over the bar to mark a double-escape for West Ham in the eyes of Merson.

Speaking live on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday (21 January, 3.19pm) Merson said: “Everton are by far the better team at the moment. Ball gets put in by Iwobi and Ogbonna loses his feet, and as he falls he heads the ball but he heads it onto his arm.

“If it doesn’t hit his head it’s a handball. Then it comes to Yerry Mina and he turns and puts it over, he should have done better.

“Very fortunate, still 0-0.”

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Speaking on the world feed commentary (3.20pm), Tony Gale said: “Looks awkward, very awkward… It’s look like maybe a head onto the arm and he gets away with it.

“West Ham have got away with one a little bit there.”

Close shave

Even by West Ham standards it was a pedestrian start to the game from both sides, likely demonstrating the huge pressure that both are operating under currently.

Had the visitors taken the lead, especially from the spot, at the point where Ogbonna got caught up then it would surely have made the atmosphere take a turn.

As it was Jarrod Bowen put the Irons ahead midway through the half, when he got the benefit of the doubt from VAR to stab a finish past Jordan Pickford after Kurt Zouma had headed onto James Tarkowski’s head, before adding the finishing touches to an excellent second before the half.

Everton had probably been the better side until the first so the goal changed things, and if West Ham can keep hold of the lead it would be a crucial three points for David Moyes.

Fantastic work from Michail Antonio created the second with the Irons clearly growing in confidence and now looking in a strong position to record a huge win the relegation battle.

It will also heap the pressure on Frank Lampard, but there is a long way still to go to hold onto this one.