Swansea 1 West Ham United 1
Saturday, 10th January 2015
by Callum Brown
For the second time in a week, West Ham failed to hold on to a one goal lead due to a rampant second half performance from their opponents. With Sam Allardyce suffering with a chest infection and not making the journey to South Wales, it was left to Neil McDonald to take charge of matters at the Liberty Stadium.The game started slowly as both teams felt their way in to the game for the opening minutes. Swansea began the match enjoying the larger share of possession but failing to trouble the Irons back line and goalkeeper, Adrian.
After a cagey ten minutes, it was West Ham who began to threaten, with an effort just wide from Carl Jenkinson and Nolan almost finding himself in behind the Swansea defence. The team from South Wales had chances of their own with Bafetimbi Gomis finding himself in behind the West Ham defence on the half hour mark but he dwelt on the ball allowing James Tomkins the opportunity to make an important intervention.
With half time approaching, Andy Carroll produced a moment of individual brilliance winning the ball in an aerial dual in the Swansea box, and battling for the second ball before steadying himself and unleashing a superb left footed strike into the top right hand corner of the Swansea goal.
The half didn?EUR(TM)t end there however, with Swansea coming straight back at West Ham and the Irons back line were forced into action again when Gomis?EUR(TM) header was cleared off the line.
Neither team made any substitutions at the half time interval and Swansea carried on where they left off in the second half dominating possession and threatening to break down a resolute West Ham defence entertaining three centre backs - James Tomkins, James Collins and Winston Reid ?EUR" for only the second time this season.
Whilst Swansea dominated possession West Ham continued to carry a large threat on the counter attack with impressive performances from wing backs Aaron Cresswell and, in particular, Carl Jenkinson. It was Jenkinson who provided West Ham with the chance to double West Ham?EUR(TM)s lead on 55 minutes as his low cross was met by Carroll who failed to steer his effort on target.
Pressure continued to build on the West Ham backline as the clock ticked by, but a combination of poor finishing from Swansea and dogged defending from the Irons kept them in front. Bafetimbi Gomis fired high from 12 yards on the 60 minute mark when finding himself in space in the West Ham area.
The pressure that Swansea were building forced the first action of the day from stand-in manager Neil Mcdonald, who replaced a tireless Enner Valencia with Morgan Amalfitano.
Despite the change, Swansea continued to press and on 73 minutes a stubborn Irons defence was finally breached. With James Collins off receiving treatment, a corner from the left was met by an onrushing Gomis whose header rebounded off the post and struck a stationary Mark Noble who could do nothing but watch the ball creep over the line.
This sparked further action from Neil Mcdonald who replaced Kevin Nolan with Diego Poyet on the 80 minute mark allowing Morgan Amalfitano to press further forward. The change revived the men in claret and blue and it was West Ham who looked the most likely to go on and win the match in the final ten minutes.
Lucasz Fabianski was in inspired form in the Swansea goal making a flurry of good saves from Stewart Downing and Carl Jenkinson from distance. However, when he spilt a Aaron Cresswell free kick, with five minutes left on the clock, it looked like Andy Carroll was going to pounce on the rebound and give the Irons three invaluable points, but he was unable to hit the target.
James Tomkins then saw his header cleared off the line before Swansea put the Irons under some pressure of their own for the final minutes of injury time but Adrian?EUR(TM)s services were not required.
An entertaining match, between two teams hoping to achieve a place in Europe next season, ended 1-1 with West Ham failing to hold on to a lead for the third game in a row.
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Player RatingsAdrian San Miguel del Castillo
Not a great deal to do today bar one fingertip save in the first half from Sigurdsson. Little he could do about the goal.
Sound defensively and stretched Swansea with a number of lung-bursting runs on the right wing. Denied his first Hammers goal by a great save from Fabianski at the death. Man of the Match.
Provided plenty of impetus going forward but managed to get himself caught a little too far advanced once or twice.
Another very strong perforamnce from the wantaway Kiwi in a hastily-rearranged five man defence.
As always, put his head in where it hurts. Unfortunately, a minor injury sustained during one such challenge rendered him a bystander as Swansea scored.
The pick of the three centre halfs on the field today. Made one outstanding tackle in his own penalty box before forcing Neil Taylor to clear a header off the line.
Wroked hard in the centre of the park but little of note to recall.
Fit again after a bout of flu last weekend rendered him less than 100 per cent, the under-fire captain had a solid first half beofre flagging in the second - not unexpectedly given his recent illness.
Always looked the most likely to make something happen. Almost grabbed his fifth of the season with another far-post curler but Fabianski was equal to it, this time.
Still failing to make an impression, perhaps the long nights new dads are used to is taking its toll.
Didn't really provide a great deal apart from scoring a wonder goal. But that is his job.
(replaced Valencia) Put himself about as usual, although nothing of note to recall.
(replaced Nolan) His mind appeared to be elsewhere - which it probably is, as he became a father the week before last.
Did not play.
Joey O Brien
Did not play.
Did not play.
Ricardo Vaz Te
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Adrian San Miguel del Castillo, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell, Winston Reid, James Collins, James Tomkins, Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan, Stewart Downing, Enner Valencia, Andy Carroll.
Goals: Andy Carroll 43 .
Booked: Diego Poyet 90 .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Swansea: Lukasz Fabianski, Angel Rangel, Federico Fernandez, Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Tom Carroll, Leon Britton, Nathan Dyer, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Routledge, Bafetimbi Gomis.
Subs not used: Gerhard Tremmel, Kyle Bartley, Dwight Tiendalli, Jay Fulton .
Goals: Mark Noble og (74).
Sent off: None.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Man of the Match: Carl Jenkinson.