David Moyes praised his players enduring spirit after West Ham earned a battling 1-0 victory at high-flying Everton.
It was the Scot's first victory at Goodison Park since leaving Everton in 2013 to take the reins at Manchester United, and moved the Hammers level with fifth-placed Aston Villa, who play later.
Moyes, who had spent nine years in charge, had endured four straight defeats for three clubs, including a 4-1 reverse in the EFL Cup earlier in the campaign.
Another defeat never looked likely as a toothless Toffees toiled, but it took until four minutes from time to get the goal that the Hammers' play deserved.
Tomas Soucek cut inside the box and drilled a powerful shot that Jordan Pickford could only parry into the path of Aaron Cresswell. The defender flashed an effort across the goal, taking a deflection off Yerry Mina into the path of Soucek who diverted home from six yards for his fifth goal of the campaign.
"It was important to get something from this," said Moyes. "It was our third game in six days. We asked the players to do it and they did a brilliant job.
"We have been playing games while missing important players so we have been juggling around trying to find the right balance.
"Tonight we had a good balance and it gave us a good chance of winning."
The Toffees knew that a win would take them to within a point of city rivals Liverpool at the top of the table but this was their poorest showing of the season so far.
They barely tested stand-in keeper Darren Randolph, who replaced Lukasz Fabianksi after the Pole was injured in the warm-up, with a diving save to deny a dipping Bernard volley his only real concern. In fact, top-scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored a hat-trick in the EFL Cup meeting, was so ineffective he was substituted.
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti said: "The game was in the balance. We didn't have a lot of opportunities, they didn't have a lot of opportunities."
By Nick Royle