Toffees Prove Tough for Hammers to Break Down
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 19 Jan 2020 13:29:00
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West Ham United remain in sixteenth place in the Premier League table after a 1-1 draw with Everton in Stratford on Saturday afternoon.

Four changes were made to the side that faced Sheffield United as Darren Randolph replaced the injured Lukasz Fabianski in goal after finally completing his move back to the club from Middlesbrough on Wednesday, while Issa Diop was preferred to Fabián Balbuena who dropped to the bench.

Felipe Anderson appeared to have picked up an injury last time out but despite lasting the whole ninety minutes at Bramall Lane, he wasn't able to play any part in this encounter.

There were also doubts over Arthur Masuaku's fitness ahead of this game but he was named in the matchday squad.

The Hammers were keen to erase the heartbreak of last week's defeat to the Blades, whilst also hoping to build on their last home performance against AFC Bournemouth on New Year's Day and to be fair, it seemed to serve them well as they had the first sight of goal with only five minutes gone.

Captain Mark Noble robbed Tom Davies of possession and played in Fornals. The Spaniard's pass found Snodgrass but unfortunately, his effort was easy for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to claim.

Noble was again the orchestrator ten minutes later, as his corner found Sébastien Haller. The Frenchman evaded the attentions of Mason Holgate and somehow managed to get a header in, despite facing away from goal but it failed to trouble Pickford.

The skipper was having some game and he seemed to be involved in every move that the hosts were putting together. On this occasion, he denied Lucas Digne time on the ball and in turn set up Haller. The striker went for the near post but Pickford saw the danger and smashed the ball out of play for a corner.

Everton are often tricky opponents for the Irons but it took them half an hour to really get into the game and even then, they made it easy for Randolph on his second debut for the club as a promising period of play was wasted due to a poor finish from Theo Walcott.

Haller had another opportunity but was again unable to reap the benefits. He rose highest to head Aaron Cresswell's ball on, however, he could only send it wide after late pressure from Yerry Mina.

Five minutes before the break, the Hammers went in front when Snodgrass, who was causing problems from set pieces at Bramall Lane last time out, was doing the same here as his side were awarded a free-kick. The Scotsman took responsibility himself and sent a decent delivery into the box. Diop applied the final touch which took the ball past Pickford.

Unfortunately, West Ham weren't able to take the advantage into half-time as Carlo Ancelotti's side equalised just three minutes later. Corner routines from the visitors had posed a problem for the hosts all afternoon and this one was no different. Digne took the kick which was met by Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin reacted quickest to head the ball past a helpless Randolph.

Having let their advantage slip, the hosts could've still gone into the break with the lead but unfortunately, Pickford punched the ball away to keep out a header from Fornals. All of which meant that when referee Andre Marriner blew the whistle, the scores were still level.

Randolph was the first to be tested at the start of the second-half but he was up to the task and prevented Moise Kean from reaching Walcott's dangerous ball.

Everton were piling on the pressure by this point but thankfully for the East Londoners, they couldn't quite beat Randolph for a second time despite going close through Calvert-Lewin and then Davies.

David Moyes introduced his first substitution with an hour gone when he turned to Masuaku to replace Fornals.

Both teams were having Spells of pressure at different periods in the match and this time the momentum was definitely with the Hammers. They nearly benefited when a great cross from Cresswell found Haller. The club's record signing attempted a looping header and although Pickford claimed, the home faithful thought that the England international carried the ball over the line.

The East Londoners were really putting Pickford under pressure and went close when a shot from Snodgrass deflected off Holgate but the former Sunderland stopper managed to get his fingertips to the ball and push it away.

Albian Ajeti was introduced on eighty four minutes and might have been sent off before the end but a VAR review decided that his involvement in an incident with Holgate wasn't worthy of a red card.

West Ham are back in action on Wednesday night when they face a trip to The King Power Stadium to tackle the challenge of Leicester City.

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