West Ham United 0-1 Burnley
TROUBLED West Ham United remain involved in serious trouble at the wrong end of the Premier League after passing up a succession of chances before slipping to defeat against an efficient but unspectacular Burnley side at the London Stadium.
Four unlikely points gleaned from Chelsea and Newcastle had left the Hammers in a somewhat brighter place of late. Nevertheless, boss David Moyes remained cautious, perhaps mindful that the east Londoners usually take the most difficult route to safety.
“We’ve got difficult opposition in Burnley, and we’ve got difficult opposition after that, so all we can do is try and play as well as we have, and improve on it.
“We keep on asking for better. We’re scoring goals when we weren’t scoring goals in the first couple of games. We’re now asking to defend better and keep the goals and chances up, while we’re looking much better at that.”
Erik Pieters blazed over, while Matej Vydra nodded into the gloves of Lukasz Fabianski as Burnley created the better of the opportunities – West Ham, initially appearing nervy and careless in possession.
Indeed, it took almost half an hour before the home side offered a genuine threat. England stopper, Nick Pope thwarting in-form duo, Tomas Soucek and Michail Antonio in a matter of minutes as the tide seemed to turn.
Andriy Yarmolenko and Souceck were snubbed out after Antonio had skipped down the left to fashion an opening. But it was the East Lancashire side who were to take the lead – Jay Rodriguez heading home his tenth goal of the season via the underside of the woodwork – this after Charlie Taylor had picked him out from the right.
Antonio missed a glorious opportunity to restore parity – firing against the outside of an upright after appearing to wriggle free. Meanwhile, Rodriguez almost profited again, this time from Dwight McNeil’s toil as Burnley looked to kill the contest immediately after the interval.
Having briefly hoodwinked their fans into a sanctuary of safety, West Ham again floundered. Sebastien Haller was denied by Pope directly after arriving on the hour from the bench, while Bowen was twice blocked as the visitors continued to absorb anything the Hammers had to offer.
Chris Wood thought he’d doubled Burnley’s lead – stabbing home Phil Bardsley’s low cross only to see an assistants’ flag ruling the effort off-side. Soon after, Fabianski had to be at his best, turning aside another stinging strike from the powerful New Zealander.
West Ham will be frustrated that they were unable to convert at least one chance, particularly after appearing to have turned the corner. They remain four points above the bottom three, but clearly have work to do with games coming up against sides in similar peril.
The Hammers return to Premier League action on Saturday, July 11 when they take on Norwich City at Carrow Road (3pm).
West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop, Anglo Ogbonna, Aaron Creswell, Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice (Capt), Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals (Albian Ajeti 86’), Andriy Yarmolenko (Sebastien Haller 62’), Michail Antonio Subs not used: Fabian Balbuena, Manuel Lanzini, Mark Noble, Jack, Wilshere, Arthur Masuaku, Darren Randolph (GK), Ben Johnson
Booked: Ryan Fredericks (foul)
Burnley: Nick, Pope, Phil Bardsley, Long, James Tarkowski, Charlie Taylor, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Westwood, Josh Brownhill, Erik Pieters, Jay Rodriguez, Matej Vydra (Chris Wood 58’) Subs not used: Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Robbie Brady, Bailey Peacock-Farrell (GK), Max Thompson, Jimmy Dunne, Josh Benson, Mace Goodridge, Anthony Driscoll-Glennon
Booked: James Tarkowski (foul)
Goals: Jay Rodriguez 39’
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistants: Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett
Fourth official: Graham Scott