Hammers Show Fight but Lose out to Wolves
By Tom Dowsett
Thursday 05 Dec 2019 12:20:00
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There wasn't a lot wrong in terms of West Ham United's performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Wednesday night but unfortunately, they were unable to follow up Saturday's triumph at Chelsea, starting December with a 2-0 defeat.

Manuel Pellegrini would have named an unchanged side but Michail Antonio had aggravated a problem in his groin so, Sébastien Haller took his place. Promising youngster Nathan Holland travelled with the squad and was named on the bench.

The Hammers were determined to build on the success over the Blues five days earlier and although both teams were sizing each other up, neither side could find a way through.

Nuno Espírito Santo's men came off the pitch disappointed with their home draw against newly-promoted Sheffield United on Sunday and were keen to get in front here. They did so with twenty three minutes gone when a corner kick was cleared, only for the Irons to concede another in quick succession.

David Martin was still getting his every touch cheered by the Hammers faithful after his impressive debut at Stamford Bridge but he could do nothing about Leander Dendonker's opener. João Moutinho received possession from the corner and played him through to put Wolves in front.

Pablo Fornals then had a great chance to equalise just after the half-hour mark when he played a one-two with Felipe Anderson before his right-footed effort nearly found the top corner. Unfortunately though, goalkeeper Rui Patrício somehow kept it out.

The hosts had another chance to extend their advantage on thirty six minutes but Martin was untroubled by Diogo Jota's effort.

West Ham went down the tunnel and into the dressing rooms unphased by the fact that they were a goal down, knowing they still had the whole of the second-half to turn the game around.

The home side kept the pressure on as the action restarted and had a big chance to double their lead just before the hour when Raúl Jiménez raced down the right wing and found Johnny Otto in space. Although the Spaniard evaded the attentions of Ryan Fredericks, he was unable to beat Martin, as the goalkeeper got in the way of his effort.

West Ham wasted a golden opportunity just three minutes later when Robert Snodgrass picked up a great pass from Fornals. The first touch to bring the ball under control was superb but the chance had gone after a poor second made it easy for Patrício to gather.

After he had spurned the chance, the Scotsman was replaced minutes later by Andriy Yarmolenko just after the hour, following lengthy treatment to what looked to be a nasty injury.

Aaron Cresswell was given the captain's armband when Holland replaced Mark Noble in order for the youngster to make his Premier League debut eleven minutes later. 

Just after that had happened, Martin reacted brilliantly to prevent Jiménez from finding a way past him.

With ten minutes of normal time to play, Pellegrini decided to replace the ineffectual Haller with Albian Ajeti.

Wolves were relentless going forward but the visitors kept them at bay, as Romian Saïss directed his header wide from Moutinho's free-kick.

However, they finished the job off on eighty six minutes. Substitute Patrick Cutrone made sure of the points when he added his name to the scoresheet.

Pellegrini's men are next in action on Monday night when they face a London derby against Arsenal, hoping that the Gunners will fire more blanks on the road.

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