West Ham Utd 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 2nd December 2021

Brighton's hex over West Ham continues after the Seagulls extended their unbeaten run against the Hammers to NINE games.

You have to go back nearly a decade to find West Ham's last win against Brighton (a 6-0 win in the 2011/12 promotion season), since when the Hammers have lost three and drawn six encounters following the Seagulls' return to the top flight.

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And the Hammers blew their chance to finally secure a win over Graham Potter's side when conceding an equaliser in the 89th minute at the London Olympic Stadium, after taking the lead with just five minutes on the clock.

Yet the game started so well for West Ham, even though they had to survive and early scare when Maupay dragged a shot narrowly wide of Lukas Fabianski's right-hand post within 90 seconds of the start.

With Aaron Cresswell missing through injury Pablo Fornals was given corner duties and it was the Spaniard's near-post centre that led to the opening goal when Tomas Soucek converted at the near post - an almost identical goal to that which saw Angelo Ogbonna score against Liverpool recently.

Fornals was inches away from doubling West Ham's advantage in the 28th minute when a fine move involving Vladimir Coufal and Michail Antonio resulted in a volley crashing off the underside of the crossbar, with 'keeper Sanchez a spectator.

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Yet the visitors, who dominated possession throughout had their chances too; Maupay sent another effort narrowly wide of its intended target while Moder should've done better with only Fabianski to beat - the Pole producing a great stop to deny Albion an equaliser six minutes ahead of the break.

There was controversy within seven minutes of the restart when West Ham had the ball in the net from another corner, only to see the effort ruled out - following no less than THREE minutes' deliberation by the VAR team - for offside.

The evidence for the prosecution appeared flimsy at best, with the ball merely brushing Antonio's shin as it made its way into the net; it was one of those that, prior to VAR, would never have been disallowed - and the decision was to prove instrumental to the outcome of the game in the end.

The two teams exchanged efforts as the game wore on; Jarrod Bowen missed the target having been set up by Said Benrahma before an unmarked Adam Lallana inexplicably - and most fortuitously for West Ham - missed the target from 12 yards out with the goal at his mercy.

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Following a flurry of substitutions West Ham perhaps enjoyed their best spell of the game having weathered a mini-Brighton storm, sparked by the introduction of the lively Lamptey on the right.

And Albion stopper Sanchez, who had looked entirely ill-at-ease prior to that point produced three fantastic saves within a matter of minutes to keep his side in the game, from Declan Rice (a powerful drive), Antonio (a header) and Bowen (tipping a low effort wide).

And so it was, with time ticking away the Hammers found themselves desperately hanging on to their slender one goal advantage - and paying for their profligacy (and a very dodgy VAR decision) when the previously goal-shy Maupay pinched a point for the visitors with an overhead kick, after Lamptey escaped the attentions of substitute Arthur Masuaku on the right flank to cross.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for David Moyes and his team, especially on the back of two defeats. And with derbies against league leaders Chelsea and a much-improved Arsenal to follow, the Hammers must rally quick if they are to avoid a desperately disappointing December.

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West Ham Utd: Fabianski, Coufal, Zouma, Dawson, Johnson, Rice, Soucek, Bowen, Fornals (Masuaku 76), Benrahma (Lanzini 76), Antonio

Subs not used: Areola, Diop, Noble, Kral, Yarmolenko, Vlasic, Perkins

Goals: Soucek (5)

Booked: Antonio (90+6)

Brighton & Hove Albion: Sanchez, Veltman (Lamptey 70), Webster (Duffy 36), Dunk, Cucurella, Moder, Bissouma, Lallana, Sarmiento (March 13), Trossard, Maupay

Subs not used: Steele, Burn, Mwepu, Gross, Mac Allister, Locadia

Goals: Maupay (89)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Attendance: 59,626

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