Jesse Lingard and Craig Dawson scored in a 2-0 win over Leeds on Monday to keep West Ham in contention for a top-four finish in the English Premier League.

Lingard scored the rebound from his own missed penalty in the 21st minute, and fellow January signing Dawson netted from a fine header seven minutes later to put the east London club in fifth place, two points behind Chelsea with a game in hand.

West Ham was just a goal difference away from relegation a year ago.

Since then, West Ham has amassed 60 points from 34 games, transforming itself from a team fighting to avoid relegation to one posing a legitimate threat for European qualification.

Leeds started at a breakneck pace, almost scoring when Helder Costa’s angled drive whistled past the crossbar. West Ham had to escape a frantic first half.

The visitors then had the ball in the net twice in two minutes, only to see both goals disallowed.

West Ham, on the other hand, took the lead in the 20th minute with its first strike.

Lingard slid into the area after a neat one-two with Said Benrahma and was brought down by Luke Ayling. Lingard had hoped to take the penalty kick he had won against Sheffield United last month, but captain Declan Rice refused.

Lingard was given the opportunity this time, but Rice could be back on penalties in the future after Leeds goalkeeper Ilan Meslier rescued the Manchester United loanee’s poor effort.

Lingard was delighted when the ball bounced right back to his feet, and he gratefully tucked in the rebound.

When Dawson arrived at the far post to head in Aaron Cresswell’s corner, West Ham doubled their advantage.


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