Hammers thrown Lifeline by Terriers
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 17 Mar 2019 16:31:00
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Until Saturday afternoon, West Ham United hadn't won three consecutive games in Stratford since making the move there in August 2016. They finally achieved that feat to move back up to ninth in the table after coming from 3-1 behind to claim all three points, as they beat Huddersfield Town 4-3.

Manuel Pellegrini made three changes from last weekend's trip to Cardiff City, as Pablo Zabaleta replaced Ryan Fredericks in defence. Michail Antonio came in for Robert Snodgrass who dropped to the bench, while Marko Arnautovic took the place of Javier Hernández. The Austrian was making his first start since January with the Mexican also amongst the substitutes.

Looking to bounce back after the defeat to the Bluebirds in Wales last time out, the hosts had a great chance to go ahead in the eighth minute when Felipe Anderson delivered a corner which Declan Rice then sent back into the box and unfortunately for the home support, Antonio saw his header hit the bar.

Seven minutes later, Arnautovic was fouled enabling Aaron Cresswell to send the resulting free-kick over and from that, referee Jonathan Moss awarded the hosts a penalty after Manuel Lanzini was tripped by Huddersfield debutant Aaron Rowe.

It was then left to captain Mark Noble to do what he does best and he hammered the ball into the net past a helpless Jonas Lössl.

On several occasions this season, it's a well-known fact that West Ham have tended to struggle against the sides in the lower half of the Premier League table and it only took Jan Siewert's side a matter of minutes to find their way back into the game.

They were presented with the chance to do just that when a lapse in concentration meant Juninho Bacuna was able to plant a header past Lukasz Fabianski from Aaron Mooy's corner and see the Terriers level.

In recent weeks, Pellegrini has bemoaned the fact that his side have been unable to deal with set-pieces and it happened again as Huddersfield's newest signing Karlan Grant put his side into a deserved lead after Chris Löwe crossed, following Alex Prichard's free-kick.

At half-time the Irons were booed off and in danger of losing their unbeaten home record in 2019.

Pellegrini made his first change during the break, as he withdrew Antonio and changed formation to bring Hernández on to make his 50th appearance for the club.

The Hammers had a great chance to level matters through Arnautovic as he was on the end of Anderson's cross but Lössl made an easy save.

Two further minutes had passed and Fabianski was once again picking the ball out of his net after he was beaten by a wonder strike from Grant.

It seemed as though the visitors had wrapped up the points as the match approached the hour mark. With things not going in his favour at this moment, Pellegrini decided to make another alteration by bringing on Samir Nasri in place of the skipper.

His fortunes weren't improving by the 68th minute either. With that on his mind, he threw caution to the wind and introduced Lucas Pérez for Arnautovic.

Little did Pellegrini know what was going to conspire in the time that was left!!! The East Londoners somehow found a way through, as Angelo Ogbonna met Cresswell's corner with one of his trademark bullet headers to reduce the deficit.

Shortly after, the noise level from the home end had gone up another couple of notches as the game was unbelievably all square. A second Cresswell corner found its way to Nasri, the Frenchman stood the ball up at the back post and Hernández buried a header past Lössl.

In the dying embers of the encounter, it was now the turn of Siewert's team to try and find a winner. Fortunately for the home faithful, Jason Puncheon blasted over before Fabianski made a superb save seconds later.

The crazy nature of this match had the home fans thinking that they could conceivably take all three points from the contest and hope was further boosted when it was announced that there would be five minutes of stoppage time added. This gave the team some renewed belief too and within the first of those, the roof came off the stadium, as Hernández scored the winner bringing the loudest cheer of the afternoon.

The final act for referee Moss was to blow for full-time and those half-time jeers had by now turned to cheers, as an often frustrating, but nevertheless exciting game for the ever loyal West Ham fan base was brought to an end.

Premier League action now takes a break for the international matches after which, the Hammers are back in Stratford when Everton visit for the late kick-off on 30 March.

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