West Ham hero Jarrod Bowen says last-minute winner ‘best moment of my career’

Jarrod Bowen admitted scoring the winning goal in a European final was beyond his wildest dreams.

Bowen’s last-minute strike secured a dramatic 2-1 victory for West Ham over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final and ended their 43-year wait for a trophy.

The 26-year-old winger raced on to Lucas Paqueta’s through-ball and slotted home to spark wild celebrations on the pitch, the touchline and in the stands.

West Ham United v Fiorentina – UEFA Europa Conference League Final – Fortuna Arena
Jarrod Bowen celebrated after West Ham’s victory over Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final in Prague (Tim Goode/PA)

“I can’t sum it up, it’s the best feeling I’ve had in my career,” said Bowen.

“When I went through I had a lot of time and it was just about making sure you put it in.

“The keeper came out and I think I fell over, I looked up and the ball was going in and I thought ‘no, this isn’t happening’.

“I spoke to my family before and said ‘imagine scoring a goal in the last minute’. To bring a trophy to this club is the best moment of my career.

“The fans as well, seeing them after the game I was a bit lost for words. It’s the best feeling of my life, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d win a European trophy.

West Ham United v Fiorentina – UEFA Europa Conference League Final – Fortuna Arena
Declan Rice (left) and manager David Moyes celebrated with the Europa Conference League trophy at the Fortuna Arena (Tim Goode/PA)

“I’m so buzzing, all of us are just going to go mad I think. You have to celebrate.

“When the final whistle went I just thought’ this party is going to be crazy. I’m just a little boy from Leominster who never thought I’d be talking like this. My family are crying and it just shows me how far I’ve come.”

West Ham led through a Said Benrahma penalty on the hour but were immediately pegged back by Giacomo Bonaventura’s strike.

But when Bowen raced through with a minute to go, boss David Moyes almost found himself going full Jose Mourinho.

“The moment he went through I was edging down the touchline,” he said. “If it was going to be anyone, I thought ‘this is the moment’.

“But I couldn’t do a full Mourinho knee slide as the grass was a bit dry and I’d have ended up on my belly.”

The victorious team return home on Thursday for a parade through East London, starting at 7pm on Barking Road and ending in front of Stratford Town Hall.