Hammers Frustrated As Baggies Grab Point
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 12 Feb 2017 12:47:00
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West Ham United will head for their warm weather training camp in Dubai off the back of a 2-2 home draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon.

Aaron Cresswell and Cheikhou Kouyaté both made the starting line-up but manager Slaven Bilic was without Andy Carroll, who had suffered a re-occurrence of a groin strain, meaning that Manuel Lanzini came in and Michail Antonio was pushed upfront.

After falling behind early at Southampton last week, the Hammers were forced to deal with another early blow, as the Baggies struck first with only five minutes gone and it was the man who had opened the scoring when the two teams met at The Hawthorns back in September who got in on the act again.

James Morrison had taken advantage of a mistake from Kouyaté and played in Nacer Chadli, who had time and space to fire a shot past Darren Randolph.

The hosts had a chance to pull themselves level on twelve minutes, but a freekick from Robert Snodgrass forced goalkeeper Ben Foster to make a great save.

Three minutes later, the visitors could have made their advantage more comfortable however, Salomón Rondón's fierce volley from the edge of the box beat Randolph but, fortunately for the home faithful, rattled the crossbar.

Sofiane Feghouli thought he had levelled for his team just two minutes after, but referee Michael Oliver ruled the effort out after Craig Dawson had gone down injured in the area. The decision wasn't very popular with the majority inside the ground who felt that the effort was perfectly legitimate and should have stood.

The home side could have turned the game on its head on 31 minutes, when another set-peice from Snodgrass was fumbled by Foster and after Antonio failed to make contact with the ball, Matt Phillips was on hand to clear.

Referee Oliver was the centre of attention again when he turned down West Ham's appeals for a penalty after Jake Livermore appeared to foul Snodgrass in the area.

When he finally blew the whistle for half-time, the boos from the home crowd were more for the decisions not given their way, rather than their team's performance.

During the break, Bilic decided to make his first substitution, as Creswell made way for Jonathan Calleri.

The East Londoners made a much better start to the second-half as they looked to get back into the match. The pressure was all from the home side, as Albion were now on the back foot.

Chance after chance came and went before the home side were finally given something to cheer about on 63 minutes, after Lanzini had gained possession and fired a shot from the edge of the box which Foster tipped onto the bar, only for Feghouli to be in the right place at the right time and he finally got his name on the scoresheet.

The Hammers were definitely in the ascendancy by this point and once again, chances were missed as they looked to turn the game in their favour and with just four minutes of normal time to play, that is exactly what happened, as Lanzini helped himself to a goal which must have had the home fans believing that they had secured all three points.

In an effort to try and keep things tight, Bilic made his second change on 88 minutes, as Edimilson Fernandes entered the fray in place of Snodgrass and as five minutes of stoppage time were signalled, another followed, as James Collins was introduced for Feghouli.

Four of the extra five minutes had passed when all West Ham's hard work was undone.

The visitors won a corner and packed the box by bringing everyone forward.

The set-peice was delivered and it was substitute Jonny Evans who got his head to the ball and directed it expertly past Randolph.

The result means that the Hammers drop a place in the Premier League table to tenth ahead of the trip to Watford on 25 February.

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