In those few moments, after the whistle had gone and the music began to play, the spring in Frank Lampard’s step told a very significant story. Everton’s manager has been working relentlessly to change the landscape at Goodison Park and the upshot has been the return of positive noises emitting from a camp that has been synonymous with division and disappointment.
Lampard, though, has spent his life in football and nobody knows better that positivity only remains if good results follow. Atmospheres change when rewards are not forthcoming, progress stalls when points are not put on the board.
So, at the seventh time of asking, it was clear to see what this 1-0 triumph over West Ham meant to Lampard, who marched proudly to the Gwladys Street and shook his fists in delight to the masses behind the goal in which Neal Maupay had fizzed in the decisive strike.
Neal Maupay’s second-half goal handed Everton a 1-0 win against West Ham at Goodison Park
The Frenchman fired the hosts ahead to earn Frank Lampard his first league win of the season
Like the batsman who settles his nerves by nudging a drive through the covers, Everton are up and running to leave Leicester as the only team in the top flight who are yet to win.
This was not a classic, by any means, but for Lampard, its impact was invigorating, relief and elation rolled into one.
‘It was everything, really,’ said Lampard. ‘It is a win we feel we have deserved in house. I was lucky last season, as we had a really good record at Goodison after I came in. So the reaction at the end was just natural — a good moment to win a game.’
Substitute Said Benrahma nearly rescued a point for West Ham but could only strike the post
It was more frustration as far as the Irons were concerned, who struggled in front of goal again
For David Moyes, however, the emotions could not have been more varied.
Back at the place that was once his home, he spoke with the honesty that was his trademark when in charge of Everton, unable to conceal the disappointment of a wretched performance.
Moyes must now reflect on a fifth defeat in seven Premier League fixtures, a sequence out of kilter with the metronomic way West Ham collected points last season and threatened, at one stage, to break into the Champions League places. They are a team in a state of flux.
If only they had started in the manner in which they finished the contest, hemming Everton back and causing Lampard to hop with nerves as his overworked defenders — headed by the outstanding James Tarkowski and Conor Coady — hurled themselves into challenges and refused to buckle.
‘I don’t think we played well,’ Moyes muttered and nobody needed to challenge that view.
Lampard heads into the international break with a six game unbeaten run in all competitions
Meanwhile, David Moyes’ side stay down in 18th as the Toffees climb to 13th in the division
Neither side played well in an opening 45 minutes that not even the most optimistic soul could make sound entertaining.
Unrelenting tedium is a phrase that first comes to mind but, even then, it does not feel wholly appropriate.
EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Begovic 6.5; Patterson 7, Coady 8, Tarkowski 8.5, Mykolenko 7; Gueye 7; Gray 7 (Doucoure 81min), Onana 7, Iwobi 6.5, Gordon 6 (McNeil 75, 6); Maupay 7 (Rondon 89).
Scorer: Maupay 53.
Booked: Coady, Gordon, McNeil.
Manager: Frank Lampard 7.
WEST HAM (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 6; Coufal 6, Zouma 5, Kehrer 5, Cresswell 5 (Emerson 90); Rice 5, Soucek 5; Fornals 5 (Benrahma 62, 6), Paqueta 5 (Cornet 62, 6), Bowen 5: Antonio 5 (Scamacca 69, 6).
Manager: David Moyes 5.
Referee: Michael Oliver 6.
To give you an idea of how impoverished it all was, the passage of play between minutes 38 and 42 captured it nicely when both sides took it in turns to surrender possession, treating the ball as if it was a hot potato and refusing to show any poise.
‘I don’t know how many wrong decisions we made,’ said Moyes, disbelief leaping from every word.
They were not alone. When Everton eventually won a free-kick, Lampard’s assistant Ashley Cole dashed out of the technical area and made a gesture for his forwards to attack the back post when Anthony Gordon fired it in. Gordon, instead, swung the set piece straight out of play.
It really was that joyless and what made it so surprising was the fact the game was there to be won — it needed one of these teams to be assertive, to have a little belief, and the likelihood was that opportunities would arrive.
So it proved. Everton took the initiative and it was no surprise that Demarai Gray lifted the tone.
The winger had been buzzing on the fringes but just needed the right service to cut loose and, in the 49th minute, he scurried into West Ham’s box and curled a shot that Lukasz Fabianski was able to gather.
West Ham’s goalkeeper was not overly tested to deal with it but there was a chain reaction and, suddenly, there was life in these famous old stands and the noise lifted considerably — so, too, did the tempo of Everton’s play.
And in the next attack, they plundered the goal that proved decisive.
Vitaliy Mykolenko rolled a pass into Alex Iwobi, who nudged it forward to Maupay. The Frenchman’s control saw the ball sit up and, instinctively, he fizzed his drive past Fabianski on the half-volley. If Lampard felt relieved about the win, Maupay was similarly calmed by the goal.
He had the chance to become an instant hero on his Everton debut but Alisson denied him in the Merseyside derby. At the same end of the stadium, redemption arrived from 18 yards.
Speaking after the game, Maupay said he was happy to help his team-mates by scoring
Maupay said he felt no pressure despite the fact the team ‘needed him to score that goal’
‘I have to be there to finish,’ said Maupay. ‘I’m just happy for the team. It’s been coming.
‘I wouldn’t say I feel under pressure to score. I know my job I have to score. That is why they brought me in. I needed that goal.’
As did Everton. They were tested late on, such as when Said Benrahma hit the inside of the post and Maxwell Cornet found the side- netting after going around Asmir Begovic, but they were indefatigable and their fans were bouncing by the end.
The opposite was true for West Ham. Moyes, tellingly, offered a view that some in claret-and-blue are letting him down.
For him to offer such an opinion in public tells you that behind closed doors the home truths will be even starker. They cannot play like this again.
Missed any of the action? Follow Sportsmail’s live blog, tracking all the updates from the Premier League clash between Everton and West Ham, written by BEN WILLCOCKS.