West Ham’s dismal season marked new depths after they were booed after a 2-0 defeat at home to Brentford.
Goals from Ivan Toney and Josh Dasilva inflicted another damaging defeat on David Moyes, whose side have lost five straight Premier League games.
Boss Moyes last week insisted the Hammers were not in a relegation battle but now he will surely have to revise that opinion: if results elsewhere go against them over the weekend, they could be bottom of the table on New Year’s.
Brentford, meanwhile, moved up to ninth, although their night was soured when Toney left on a stretcher in stoppage time after landing awkwardly.
Moyes reacted to his team’s painful run with a lineup change in five-man defense and Brazilian playmaker Lucas Paqueta partnered Declan Rice in a deep midfield role.
It could have been a very different night had Rice opened the scoring in the fifth minute after former Bees winger Said Benrahma cleared the ball.
The England midfielder took aim from 20 yards out and his curling shot clipped David Raya’s left post.
Moments later Craig Dawson headed in a corner and Jarrod Bowen’s close-range strike was blocked by Ethan Pinnock.
It was a brilliant start for the beleaguered hosts, but they quickly fell behind in Brentford’s first attack of the match.
From a long flick-in by Mathias Jensen, Pinnock headed in and Christian Norgaard’s volley was saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
But the rebound fell perfectly for Toney who brought home his 13th goal of the season.
West Ham came forward again and Gianluca Scamacca headed Raya, who also saved Emerson Palmieri at the near post.
But, again, against the run of play, the cup punch came and Brentford doubled their lead when Toney bowled a throw-in for the chasing Dasilva.
The midfielder passed Aaron Cresswell, who had a three-yard lead, before burying his shot past Fabianski.
There was still time for Paqueta to boo a shot on target and wide before the whistles blew at half time.
The Hammers thought they had been handed a lifeline early in the second half when referee Darren England awarded a penalty after Bowen was tripped by Ben Mee.
But a VAR check showed the contact was outside the box and a free kick was awarded, duly wasted by Bowen.
At the other end, Fabianski saved Saman Ghoddos and Toney clipped in from a corner as Brentford threatened to rack up pennies.
Subsequently, substitute Michail Antonio took an aerial shot and went down which quite sums up a bad disastrous night for Moyes and West Ham.