Hammers are the Foxes' Victims
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 16 Aug 2015 17:23:00
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Slaven Bilic's first Premier League home game in charge of West Ham United didn't quite go to plan. After the euphoria of the win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last weekend, they were unable to follow that up as Leicester City won 2-1.

Carl Jenkinson made the starting line-up after being ineligible for last weekend's game and he replaced James Tomkins, who dropped to the bench, in the only change to the side. New signing Pedro Obiang was also named amongst the substitutes.

The home side were immediately on the front foot and could have gone ahead as early as the second minute when they were awarded a freekick. Dimitri Payet sent it over and Reece Oxford's close range header hit the top of the bar.

On 11 minutes, there was trouble for Adrian, as he hurried out of his goal and was caught by a high boot from Jamie Vardy. Referee Anthony Taylor immediately pulled a yellow card from his pocket. After a spell of treatment, the Spaniard was able to carry on.

Leicester were showing signs that they could be difficult to cope with this season and on 26 minutes, Adrian was in the thick of the action again, as he denied Robert Huth but Taylor gave a goal kick.

The Foxes went in front just a minute later, as Shinji Okazaki's first effort was superbly parried by Adrian but the Japanese international headed in the rebound.

On 31 minutes, Okazaki went close again but this time he was denied, thanks to a superb block from Winston Reid.

Claudio Ranieri's side increased their advantage on 38 minutes when Marc Albrighton found plenty of room in the box and cut the ball back for Riyad Mahrez to cooly finish past Adrian.

Frustrations amongst the home players started to boil over and Jenkinson was booked for a late challenge on Okazaki soon after.

If the home side were going to get anything out of the game, they needed to either try and find a goal before half-time, or score early in the second period. They had a great chance on 43 minutes when Mauro Zarate found Aaron Cresswell in space and he delivered a cross and found Cheikou Kouyate. However, the midfielder saw his effort go just wide of the post.

A minute later, Creswell returned the favour, but this time the Argentine wasn't on the same wavelength and his attempted back-heel went well over.

Just after three additional first-half minutes had been signalled, the Irons' players and fans were incensed when Diafra Sakho went down after clashing with Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel but, once again, the referee gave nothing.

When Taylor blew his whistle, you could tell by the atmosphere in the home crowd who their disapproval was directed at.

Not happy with the way the game was going, Bilic made a change during the break as he replaced Oxford with Obiang.

The Hammers looked lively in the second-half and it took them just ten minutes to reduce the deficit, as Payet linked up well with Kouyate and finished past Schmeichel and Upton Park was rocking again. There was plenty of time to find an equaliser!

Three minutes later Payet nearly found another, but this time the Denmark international won the race and was able to claim the ball.

The hosts were trying everything they could to level the scores but when Zarate's corner found the head of Sakho, he could only present Schmeichel with an easy catch.

After West Ham had dominated the early stages of the second-half the visitors began to reapply the pressure but wasted a great chance on 75 minutes, when Danny Drinkwater blazed his effort over and the hosts survived.

Bilic decided to make his second change a minute later as Manuel Lanzini took the place of Kouyate.

Lanzini was involved just five minutes later, when he played in Sakho but again he found Schmeichel in the way.

Ranieri wanted to combat the threat of the Hammers, so on 83 minutes, he brought on Christian Fuchs in place of Marhez. Bilic then followed suit by making his final change, as Modibo Maiga replaced Zarate.

As in the first-half, three minutes were added at the end of normal time. Shortly after, the home side had one final chance to equalise when a corner was awarded. Adrian dashed into the box to try and get his head to it but in so doing, raised his boot to Vardy. Referee Taylor took a dim view of the incident and gave the goalkeeper a straight red card.

With that, the final whistle blew and it was greeted with more boos for the referee from the home crowd.

The Hammers still haven't won at home since May 2 and will hope to put that right next weekend when newly- promoted AFC Bournemouth are the visitors to Upton Park.

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