Hammers Lose Unbeaten Home Run
Matches between West Ham United and Crystal Palace down the years have often gone in favour of the visitors and on Sunday afternoon, Patrick Viera’s side picked up their first away win of the season by beating the Irons 2-1 in Stratford.
Tomáš Souček and Saïd Benrahma both made their 100th appearances for the club, as David Moyes changed his whole starting line-up from Thursday night’s victory over FCSB in the UEFA Europa Conference League.
Looking to build on their 1-0 home victory against Southampton eight days earlier, the visitors started brightly and won a free-kick. Eberechi Eze took the set-piece but fortunately for the majority inside the stadium, goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański prevented his team from suffering an early setback.
To be fair to the Hammers though, it didn’t take long for them to create a chance of their own. Benrahma set up Aaron Cresswell who in turn played in Jarrod Bowen and he sent a volley towards goal but it went wide.
Soon after, the former Brentford winger who scored the winner from the penalty spot in the recent match against newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth marked his landmark appearance with a stunning goal.
Lucas Paquetá was back in action after sustaining a shoulder injury in the 1-1 draw at Southampton last month and the Brazilian midfielder was able to play the ball back to the Algerian who sent an effort flying past visiting stopper Vicente Guaita to give him no chance and have the home support cheering.
Benrahma might have been in for a second goal, following great combination play from both Paquetá and Gianluca Scamacca but the Italian striker couldn’t find his teammate on this occasion.
The hosts were soon made to pay for those missed opportunities as minutes before the break, the Eagles came up with an equaliser. A defensive mixup between Craig Dawson and Thilo Kehrer saw the German international defender give the ball straight to Eze, who then set Wilfried Zaha away and he made no mistake, putting the ball past Fabiański.
The home side must have been disappointed with the way the first-half went because during the break, Moyes decided to make his first change, as Scamacca was replaced by Michail Antonio.
However, the change didn’t spark an immediate reaction from the East Londoners, as the visitors continued from where they had left off before referee Paul Tierney blew the whistle.
Viera’s men were then close to turning the game on its head but Dawson made a great block, before Eze sent an effort wide. Michael Olise saw a similar chance pass him by minutes later and the danger was then finally averted, thanks to another timely intervention from the former Rochdale, West Bromwich Albion and Watford defender.
The Irons’ boss made a double substitution on sixty four minutes. Flynn Downes and Manuel Lanzini replaced both Benrahma and Souček. The Scotsman almost reaped the rewards for that decision when Kehrer tried his luck but unfortunately failed to test Guaita. Moments Later, Captain Declan Rice fired over when he was seemingly in a good position.
The visitors were dominant on an afternoon where the hosts were strangely out of sorts. However, they were given hope when Tierney initially awarded them a penalty after Antonio had evaded the attentions of Joachim Andersen after being set up by Lanzini. The Jamaican international drove into the area and was subsequently pulled back by Marc Guéhi.
Tierney’s decision was checked by VAR and after a lengthy period of time, the referee was advised to consult the pitchside monitor. He then atoned for his error and the spot kick wasn’t given.
West Ham did fashion one more opportunity when Antonio went close but his attempt was easy for Guaita to hold onto.
Minutes later, Dawson was thankful to his goalkeeper as the encounter entered its closing stages. The ball took a wicked deflection off him however, thanks to the quick reactions of the Pole, the Hammers survived that particular scare.
The game then passed the ninety minute mark and four minutes of stoppage time were added. Deep into the allotted period, Moyes made a fourth and final change, as Paquetá was withdrawn in favour of Pablo Fornals.
Just as the encounter looked like it would end in a draw, Olise raced down the pitch and sent a shot towards goal. A huge deflection off Cresswell then helped the ball past Fabianski, meaning that West Ham’s recent run of going unbeaten at home is momentarily over.
Having suffered back-to-back top-flight defeats, they will now hope to get back on track and begin their 2022/23 Carabao Cup campaign in style on Wednesday night, when they are back in front of their own fans to face a third round tie against Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn Rovers.