Hammers and Seagulls Draw Again
It was another frustrating night for both David Moyes and West Ham United, as they were both looking for their first ever top-flight win over Brighton and Hove Albion to start December. It was looking so good up until the last minute when Graham Potter’s men equalised. The result meant that the two teams had to settle for a sixth draw in succession as the match ended 1-1.
The Hammers’ boss made two changes to the team that featured in the weekend’s defeat at Manchester City. Vladimír Coufal took the place of Aaron Cresswell, who hadn’t recovered from his back injury in time to make the starting line-up, while Arthur Masuaku dropped back to the bench, as Jarrod Bowen came in. After making his debut for the club as a substitute against SK Rapid Vienna six days earlier, Sonny Perkins was again included in the matchday squad.
The Irons were looking to claim a first victory since they were last in front of their own fans against Liverpool on 7 November and they could not have hoped for a better start as they were in front after just five minutes.
They were awarded a corner and Pablo Fornals sent the delivery into the box for Tomáš Souček to then head into the net and past visiting goalkeeper Robert Sánchez to the delight of the home faithful. That goal marked a significant milestone, as it was the club’s 1200th in their Premier League history.
Fellow Czech international Coufal almost claimed his first goal for the club five minutes later but his shot was beaten away by Sánchez. Bowen and Michail Antonio tried to finish the job but neither player could get a telling touch.
The hosts were really piling the pressure on by this point and Antonio was involved again as he played Coufal’s cross into the path of Fornals and he was next to try his luck but unfortunately, the Spaniard was denied by the crossbar.
Albion would have levelled had it not been for a great save from Łukasz Fabiański to prevent Jakub Moder from doing so, as his effort took a slight deflection which helped the ball wide.
When referee Christopher Kavanagh blew the half-time whistle, the Hammers were hoping that their hoodoo against Potter’s men was about to be broken.
The East Londoners had settled into the game pretty quickly in the first-half and thought they had done so in the second too.
Craig Dawson sent over a corner and Antonio beat Sánchez from close-range but elation very quickly turned to disappointment, as a lengthy VAR check somehow spotted that Antonio was offside when putting the ball into the net and the effort was ruled out. It was suggested however that Seagulls’ defender Shane Duffy actually got the final touch but rather than their advantage being increased, West Ham’s lead remained a slender one.
On sixty five minutes, Bowen looked to have finally got a second goal but unfortunately, his effort went narrowly wide of the post.
Moyes decided to make a double change on seventy six minutes, as both Fornals and Saïd Benrahma were replaced by Masuaku and Manuel Lanzini.
The visitors had a similar chance just four minutes later when Adam Lallana went close but thankfully his attempt failed to trouble Fabiański.
The home side then had two more goes at trying to find that elusive second goal but neither an Antonio header, or a venomous shot from Declan Rice got the better of Sánchez.
The former Nottingham Forrest winger was doing all he could to get his name on the scoresheet but he was once again denied by the Spanish stopper on eighty four minutes.
Just as West Ham thought they were about to clinch a rare success against the Seagulls, Potter’s men came up with something rather special. Neal Maupay produced a spectacular overhead kick which gave Fabiański no chance.
The East Londoners still had time to win the contest with six minutes of injury time having been signalled but try as they might, they were unable to claim a precious three points.
Having been denied at the death in this encounter, they face a much tougher test in Saturday’s early kick-off, as Premier League leaders Chelsea visit Stratford for a London derby.