Seagulls Cause Hammers To Nosedive
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 04 Feb 2018 12:40:00
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The momentum that West Ham United gained during their unbeaten run in January unfortunately didn't carry into February, as they were beaten 3-1 by newly-promoted Brighton and Hove Albion at The American Express Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon, meaning they remain twelth in the Premier League table.

David Moyes decided to stick with the same team that drew with Crystal Palace on Tuesday night, while Winston Reid, Michail Antonio and deadline day signing Jordan Hugill were included on the bench.

The Hammers were desperate to avenge the 3-0 defeat by the Seagulls in the reverse fixture back in October but they didn't make the best of starts to the game as Glenn Murray received possession following a great pass from Pascal Groß and the striker calmly slotted the ball past Adrián.

Murray could have doubled the advantage for Chris Hughton's men later in the half, but Sam Byram was in the way. Then minutes later, the former Leeds United defender had a chance to equalise, only for his header to be blocked on the line by Shane Duffy.

The Irons then seemed to get a firm grip of the game and levelled on 30 minutes. A great team move involving Javier Hernández, captain Mark Noble and João Mário ended with the player who started the move finishing it off, as Hernández sent a powerful shot past goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

West Ham had chances to turn the game on its head but they weren't able to capitalize. Firstly, Mário saw an effort go wide, following a great cross from Aaron Cresswell, before another ball in from the defender set up Byram but unfortunately he couldn't direct his header on target.

Either side could have gone into the break ahead and the hosts went the closest but fortunately, Murray's close range effort flashed wide.

The Hammers were briefly in the top half following their 1-1 draw with the Eagles on Tuesday and they had their minds set on getting back there by attempting to turn one point into three after the break.

The Seagulls also wanted to build on their draw at Southampton in midweek and despite both sides starting the second-half well and the visitors dealing with the danger from a corner, when the ball fell to José Izquierdo, Adrián was powerless to prevent the shot from beating him as the home fans were cheering again on 59 minutes.

With Brighton in the ascendancy seven minutes later, Moyes decided it was time for a change, so Antonio was given his first taste of action this year in place of Declan Rice.

Before the game had even kicked off, the travelling support which is usually pretty vocal and humorous clearly wanted to focus on criticising the way the hierarchy had been running the club instead of supporting the players.

This disgraceful behaviour continued throughout the match and was to worsen after Groß had put his side further ahead with another stunning effort.

The introduction of Hugill on 80 minutes didn't seem to have an effect, as the crowd continued to make their point to the Board and this was clearly influencing matters on the pitch, as the reshuffled team looked despirited having given their all in difficult circumstances.

Referee Roger East's final whistle brought an end to a disappointing afternoon for the Hammers and even when the players went over to thank the fans for their support, it wasn't very well received.

Hopefully Moyes can rejuvenate the team for the crucial fixture with Watford in Stratford next weekend.

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