WEST HAM failed to carry the momentum generated from Wednesday's win over Aston Villa as they were beaten for the third time time at home this season by Everton.

A Junior Stanislas goal briefly raised the fans' hopes but strikes either side of half-time from Louis Saha and Dan Gosling did the damage.

There was little to shout about for either set of fans in a forgettable first half.

Scott Parker was industrious in midfield, his array of passes finding their mark on the rare occasion a West Ham player managed to find space in the Everton half.

However, devoid of the services of Carlton Cole, the team looked out of ideas from the outset.

Indeed, for a time it seemed as if they thought Cole was playing, such was the extent to which they employed the long ball. But Zavon Hines, standing at no more than 5ft 7in, was rendered useless by the tactics, only receiving the ball when he pulled wide to compensate for the lack of width in Gianfranco Zola's formation.

Everton were no better, but it was a bolt from the blue on 27 minutes that separated the sides at the break.

Tim Cahill held off the challenges of two defenders and laid the ball off for Saha, whose snap shot fizzed past a static Robert Green into the bottom corner.

Zola threw on Junior Stanislas for Jack Collison in an attempt to add some much-needed pace and width to the mix.

When that failed to inspire a lift in the tempo, Zola turned to Diamanti, who had been itching to get on and strut his stuff.

And strut he did, but not before Everton doubled their lead.

Yakubu, on for Saha, shielded the ball cleverly, drawing defenders towards him before releasing Gosling on the right. His initial shot was saved but the rebound fell back to his feet and he made no mistake second time around.

That seemed to be the kick up the backside the Hammers needed, and the impetus was provided by the excellent Diamanti.

The response was immediate. The Italian frontman, dropping into the hole, dinked the ball over the top for Stanislas. The winger managed to flick the ball over Tim Howard, but his effort didn't seem to have the legs to make it to goal. Tony Hibbert raced back to clear the ball off the line but he succeeded only in smashing the ball into the roof of the net.

It was game on, and Diamanti was doing his utmost to lead the fightback.

His curling shot dipped just too late and it was his ball that found Hines scampering through on goal. The young attacker, fresh from his last-gasp winner against Aston Villa on Wednesday, looked a good bet to level things up, but he could only poke the ball wide.

Another penetrating Diamanti run from deep ended with a pass that deflected into the path of Hines, but again the killer instinct eluded him and he scuffed his left-footed shot wide.

David Moyes brought Lucas Neill on, who was greeted with predictable contempt from the West Ham faithful.

Parker galloped down the right as the game entered its final moments but Guillermo Franco and Hines couldn't connect.

But there was to be no more to cheer, as West Ham's recovery at Upton Park against Villa proved, on this occasion, to be a false dawn.