Another Frustrating Brighton Draw
West Ham United won their last away game at Burnley and they were hoping to build on that result when they faced Brighton and Hove Albion at The American Express Community Stadium in Saturday’s late kick-off but, as the Seagulls have done over recent years, they held the Hammers to another draw with the game ending 1-1.
Angelo Ogbonna and Declan Rice made welcome returns to the side after recovering from their respective injuries as Issa Diop and Saïd Benrahma dropped to the bench. Jarrod Bowen also came in for the injured Manuel Lanzini, while Aaron Cresswell had sufficiently recovered from a dead leg sustained in the home defeat by Everton last time out.
Rice again took the captaincy with Mark Noble taking his place on the bench having recovered from a calf injury himself. Łukasz Fabiański retained his place in goal to make his 100th appearance for the club.
Wins over Albion have been pretty elusive for the Irons in recent years and they were searching for their first success against them since April 2012. With Graham Potter’s men having secured their Premier League status earlier this week and West Ham still in the hunt for a place in the top four, the Hammers showed their intent from the start with both Pablo Fornals and Bowen going close early on.
The hosts nearly broke the deadlock through Danny Welbeck but a great block from Craig Dawson kept the scores level.
David Moyes has obviously been working on his side’s ability to convert chances from set pieces this season and it nearly paid off again when Dawson almost found the back of the net having met Jesse Lingard’s cross with a firm header.
The Manchester United loanee was involved in the next promising move for the visitors as he played in Michail Antonio. Antonio headed across goal only for Brighton to then clear the danger but it didn’t matter as a flag was raised for offside.
Fornals was the catalyst for a bright ending to the first half from the visitors. His first touch caused problems for defender Adam Webster but as he was bearing down on goal, he unfortunately slipped and the chance had gone.
That didn’t deter the Spaniard as he tried his luck again seconds later. Cresswell picked him out but his effort took a deflection on its way through.
Referee Andre Marriner ignored appeals for a West Ham penalty after Vladimír Coufal’s cross hit Webster’s hand. The pressure wasn’t yet off for the home side, as Tomáš Souček then saw his long-range effort beaten away by goalkeeper Robert Sánchez.
With the game still goalless at the break, the Hammers were still hopeful of ending their hoodoo against the Seagulls.
Having ended the first-half strongly, Moyes must have been pretty content with the way his side started after the interval as Bowen ran into the box and almost opened the scoring but for interventions from Webster and Sánchez.
Potter’s side then had a great chance to go ahead but fortunately, Fabiański made a great save with his legs from Alireza Jahanbakhsh. However, replays showed that had the Pole been beaten, it wouldn’t have counted as he was offside.
The outcome of the game could have gone either way as Souček was next to try his luck but he could only head over from another Cresswell cross.
Jahanbakhsk was becoming a real threat and he went close again but thankfully, Fabiański was equal to the effort once more after Ogbonna performed heroics to block an attempt from Leandro Trossard.
The Iranian then had another chance shortly after and although the former Swansea City and Arsenal man was beaten, the shot went wide.
Just after the hour mark, Moyes made his first change and introduced Benrahma in place of Bowen.
Fornals was set up by Cresswell minutes later but unfortunately, the Spaniard wasn’t able to beat his compatriot Sánchez.
The midfielder was out of luck again when he miscued another attempt after latching onto Coufal’s cross. Had the Spaniard kept his composure, he probably would have put the Hammers in front.
Benrahma’s introduction had certainly given the visitors energy and he set up a golden chance for Dawson when he sent a cross in. Unfortunately for the Irons though, the defender was unable to direct his header on target.
Earlier in the match, Potter had brought on Percy Tau to replace Jahanbakhsk and his clever pass sent Welbeck through to give the home side the advantage, as the former Watford striker beat Fabiański.
Just as West Ham looked as if they were about to suffer another defeat in Sussex, Benrahma scored his first goal to equalise when he pounced on a loose ball to send a powerful shot past Sánchez.
Having picked up a solitary point from a fixture they were hoping to win, West Ham will be keen to claim maximum points when they are back on the road again on Wednesday night with a trip to The Hawthorns to take on already-relegated West Bromwich Albion.