Late Penalty Costs Hammers Point
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 14 Apr 2019 13:35:00
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 West Ham United looked on course for a valuable point against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Saturday's late kick-off but the match in the end swung the way of the hosts, meaning the visitors' dismal record on the road in 2019 continues, as they lost 2-1.

Manuel Pellegrini made three changes to the side that lost at Chelsea six days ago. Pablo Zabaleta replaced Ryan Fredericks, who dropped to the bench; Aaron Cresswell sustained a knee injury after the game at Stamford Bridge on Monday, so Arthur Masuaku came in, while Javier Hernández retained his place as the lone striker. Marko Arnautovic didn't even make the matchday eighteen due to falling ill in the week, so Robert Snodgrass was recalled.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side clearly had half a mind on Tuesday's second leg of their UEFA Champions League tie in Barcelona, as they failed to get any rhythm to their play in the opening stages and West Ham certainly took advantage.

The travelling contingent thought their team had taken the lead inside ten minutes when Felipe Anderson had the ball in the back of the net but unfortunately, the linesman flagged for offside. Replays proved inconclusive but the general consensus amongst television pundits was that it was incorrectly ruled out.

Those who had made the long journey from East London where even more aggrieved when referee Graham Scott pointed to the penalty spot after Snodgrass was adjudged to have fouled Juan Mata in the area.

Despite the home team starting the match slowly, Paul Pogba managed to beat goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski from the spot, as he smashed the ball into the net and beyond the reach of the Pole.

It was an indifferent performance from Anderson but he did come up with some flashes of brilliance. He met a corner from Snodgrass but couldn't quite direct his header on target, as it went wide.

The hosts were looking to benefit from any missed chances but great defensive work from Angelo Ogbonna prevented both Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku from going for goal.

There was a definite improvement from recent weeks and you felt that West Ham were a bit unlucky to be behind as referee Graham Scott blew his whistle for half-time.

The second-half on Monday saw West Ham step up their game but unfortunately, they had nothing to show for their efforts, as they were defeated 2-0. It wasn't going to be the same story here however, as just four minutes after the restart, the Hammers were back on level terms. Manuel Lanzini and Snodgrass had combined to create the space and Anderson guided the ball past home stopper David De Gea to put the smiles back on the faces of the travelling support.

The hosts were looking to make an impact and after Solskjær had introduced Marcus Rashford from the bench, he came everso close to providing it. However, his right-footed effort was well saved by Fabianski. If there was no intervention from the Pole, then it would have been 2-1 to Solskjær's men.

Rashford seemed determined to get his name on the scoresheet, as he had another chance minutes later but he headed over after Phil Jones had played the ball across goal.

Just after the hour, a first West Ham change was made as Grady Diangana replaced Lanzini, as he appeared to pull up with a groin injury but it was their second substitute who certainly made an impact. 

Michail Antonio replaced Hernández and had two good chances within minutes of being introduced. Firstly, he smashed a powerful left-footed shot against the crossbar and then his downward header brought an extraordinary save out of De Gea.

However, the game changed minutes after the introduction of Ryan Fredericks for Zabaleta. The former Fulham defender was unfortunate to concede a second penalty after halting Anthony Martial's run into the area with a miss-timed tackle.

It was left to Pogba to restore the advantage which he duly did, beating Fabianski again.

West Ham return to Stratford on Saturday afternoon as Leicester City are the visitors.

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