Hammers Miss Out on Win at Brighton
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 18 Aug 2019 16:02:00
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West Ham United went unbeaten in the last two matches of last season on the road and they have carried that form into the new campaign, as they were made to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion at The American Express Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

With Sébastien Haller and Felipe Anderson having not recovered from minor injuries suffered in the opening day defeat by Manchester City, Manuel Pellegrini made five changes to the team that were soundly beaten by the current Champions, as Pablo Fornals made his first start in midfield since his summer move from Villarreal, while Javier Hernández filled in for Haller. 

Arthur Masuaku and Angelo Ogbonna came into the defence and Robert Snodgrass took the place of Michail Antonio. Fabián Balbuena was also amongst the substitutes.

After winning 3-0 at Watford last weekend, Graham Potter's side were on the front foot here and could have gone ahead inside the first minute but fortunately for the ever loyal travelling contingent of West Ham supporters, Dan Burn could only direct his header from a free-kick over the bar.

Although West Ham had good periods of possession in the opening twenty minutes, it was clear to see that the Seagulls had been working on their fitness levels throughout the summer, allowing them to deny the visitors any space to create clear chances.

Lukasz Fabianski was once again showing why he is such a key player for the Hammers. As the hosts came on strong, he was able to make good saves from both Dale Stephens and Solly March.

Albion's set play routines were really causing problems for the Irons and this was evident again on twenty seven minutes. A freekick from Pascal Groß found new signing Leandro Trossard who smashed a powerful volley past Fabianski.

Burn was the unfortunate man again as an extremely loud cheer came from the away end when VAR went in favour of the Hammers. It spotted Burn offside as Pascal Groß sent a free-kick into the box.

The hosts were guilty of wasting good chances, meaning when referee Anthony Taylor blew the half-time whistle, West Ham could count themselves fortunate to still be level.

Pellegrini made his first change during the break as he brought on Antonio to take the place of Jack Wilshire.

Unlike the first-half, West Ham started the second on the front foot and Antonio's introduction made a huge difference. The home side were not out of the contest by a long way but were made to pay just after the hour. Hernández latched onto Manuel Lanzini's pass and squeezed the ball past Albion goalkeeper Mathew Ryan to bring even bigger celebrations from those in the away section.

Unfortunately though, the Seagulls found a quick response, as four minutes later, parity was restored when Trossard finally got his goal after Glenn Murray had helped set him up by evading the challenge of Issa Diop.

After a spell of pressure from the East Londoners, Albion were soon back in control. Having said that, they couldn't edge ahead, as West Ham's defence stood firm.

Lanzini was the star performer for Pellegrini's team and with time running out he produced a mesmeric run and played in Snodgrass. The West Ham supporters behind that goal were waiting for the ball to cross the line but Ryan was in the way.

On 77 minutes, Pellegrini made a second change as Fornals made way for Andriy Yarmolenko to make his first competitive appearance since October.

Six minutes later, West Ham made their final change, as Carlos Sánchez was introduced for Hernández.

Four minutes of stoppage time were signalled but after a pulsating game, neither team was able to grab the decisive goal.

The Hammers have another chance to add to their recent run of good form on the road when they head to Watford on Saturday afternoon in the first of their London derbies.

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