Hammers Blow It Against Burnley
West Ham United had to settle for a point in a goalless draw at Turf Moor back in December and after progressing to the UEFA Europa League semi-final on Thursday night, they were held by the Clarets again on Sunday afternoon, as the game ended 1-1.
David Moyes made three changes from the encounter against Olympique Lyonnais, as Łukasz Fabiański returned in goal. Aaron Cresswell was also back from suspension in place of Vladimír Coufal, who dropped to the bench. Pablo Fornals was also amongst the substitutes, meaning there was a rare start for Nikola Vlašić.
West Ham have not been beaten at home since January and they wanted to try and keep that run going. After a cagey opening game, it was they who started to orchestrate matters as Jarrod Bowen was denied on two separate occasions. Firstly, Ashley Westwood blocked his attempt on goal and when the former Hull City winger tried again, goalkeeper Nick Pope made a crucial save. Cresswell also tried his luck but James Tarkowski was in the way.
Cresswell had the ball in the net soon after following a Hammers’ corner but to the disappointment of the home fans, referee Paul Tierney ruled that Craig Dawson had fouled Pope.
The game was later held up for nine minutes, following a serious leg injury to Westwood after an accidental collision with Vlašić. After lengthy treatment, he was then lifted onto a stretcher and escorted off of the pitch.
As you can imagine, Vlašić was clearly upset by the incident but there were applause from all sides of the stadium when Westwood was taken off and replaced by Josh Brownhill.
The action was interrupted again just minutes later for a crowd emergency and almost immediately after, an attempt from Jay Rodriguez came back off the bar, only for Wout Weghorst to then beat Tomáš Souček to the ball and head past Fabiański to give the visitors the lead.
West Ham had chances to get back level but neither Ben Johnson, nor Michail Antonio could take advantage.
They might have regretted passing those opportunities up as Maxwel Cornet then raced towards goal but was brought down by Fabiański and the Clarets were awarded a spot-kick.
The Pole saved his team last time he faced a penalty but he didn’t have to do so here, as the striker sent his shot well wide of the target.
The Irons hadn’t lost many games in Stratford and they wouldn’t have wanted that proud record to end against a team who currently preside in the relegation zone.
When the game was back underway, West Ham looked the more likely of the two teams to grab all three points but were just unable to break down the visitors’ defence.
Souček had a chance to equalise when he combined well with Manuel Lanzini but unfortunately for the Czech, he was unable to finish the chance.
Antonio then had two bites at the cherry but neither could beat Pope.
On sixty five minutes, Moyes made his first change replacing Vlašić with Saïd Benrahma.
The home side were guilty of missing chance after chance to level matters as Pope made a string of quite outstanding saves, before Souček finally beat him on seventry four minutes to send the home fans wild and still having fifteen minutes to try and find a winner.
Both teams made substitutions with eleven minutes of normal time still to play, as Fornals came on in Johnson’s place while Mike Jackson, who took charge of the team after Sean Dyche left his post on Friday, brought on Matěj Vydra to replace Dwight McNeil.
Pope continued to deny the Hammers as Issa Diop and Antonio went close and after three minutes of stoppage time were added, there was major disappointment as the home side had failed to capitalize on teams around them dropping points over the weekend.
Moyes now has a week on the training pitch with his team before they head to Chelsea next Sunday.