Soucek’s late show sets Hammers back on track

West Ham United 1-0 Fulham

A stoppage-time winner from Tomas Soucek swiftly followed by a ridiculous penalty miss from Ademola Lookman provided the late sparking in an otherwise dour encounter at the London Stadium

Ultimately, bouncing back from an unfortunate setback at Anfield was top priority for David Moyes and his men. And although recent performances against sides in the upper echelons of the Premier League had caught the eye, the Scotsman confirmed that approaching Fulham – a side with a solitary success to their name – would be little different.

“I think we would try and be the same all the time. We’re trying to get consistency, whether it be against teams at the top or teams who might be considered nearer the bottom.

“It’s more to do with how your tactical thoughts on the game might change slightly but, overall, I hope I am no different and I would try to motivate in the same way every week.”

And it was the home side who started on the front foot with Cottagers stopper, Alphonse Areola, beating out efforts from Arthur Masuaku and Aaron Cresswell.

Areola was already earning his corn, producing a stunning save to keep out Jarrod Bowen’s deflected effort, but then getting a slice of fortune as Sebastien Haller’s header cannoned off the top of the bar.

The game began to adopt an open nature. Tom Cairney drove across the face of goal as Fulham provided a threat of their own following a sustained spell of possession. Meanwhile, another Cairney centre was met by Aleksandar Mitrovic – his headed attempt drifting just the wrong side of an upright.

Mitrovic was causing the Hammers backline one or two conundrums. Fabian Balbuena nodded clear under considerable threat from the powerful Serbian. Minutes later, the Fulham frontman looked set to open his account, but caught in two minds – squared – and the opportunity was gone.

Creswell’s dead-ball attempt clipped the frame of the goal, while Areola was relieved to see another deflected Bowen strike fizz wide as West Ham started the second period very much in the same fashion they had the first.

Pablo Fornals dragged wide after Haller had created an opening, while Mitrovic drilled into Fabanski’s midriff. But the contest had gone flat, with neither side seemingly able to open the other up with any real conviction.

The introduction of Said Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini offered West Ham fresh impudence, but with Fulham’s gates firmly padlocked, the home side required a little more in the way of creativity to crystallize a match-winning moment.

Areola produced a double-save to thwart Benramha from a ridiculous angle. But just when it appeared Fulham would hold out, they became masters of their own downfall.

Joachim Anderson’s misguided defensive header fell to Benramha – the Algerian teeing up Tomas Soucek to fire low into the corner of the net.

But having provided the opportunity to open the scoring, Benramha was swiftly looking to the stars after referee, Robert Jones, was advised to check the monitor by VAR following a clumsy trip on Cairney.

However, despite the resulting spot-kick was to provide a comedy moment, much to the review of the east Londoners and to the anguish of their capital rivals. Ademola Lookman ‘panenka’ kick barely reached the goal, allowing Fabianski time to adjust his position and scoop the ball into his gloves.

The win moved the Hammers into eleventh place – West Ham United return to Premier League action on Sunday, November 22 when they face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane (2pm).

West Ham United: Lukasz Fabianski, Aaron Cresswell, Fabian Balbuena, Vladimir Coufal, Pablo Fornals (Said Benrahma 72’), Jarrod Bowen (Manuel Lanzini 72’), Angelo Ogbonna (Issa Diop 63’), Sebastien Haller, Arthur Masuaku, Tomas Soucek, Declan Rice (Capt) Subs not used: Darren Randolph (GK), Andriy Yarmolenko, Robert Snodgrass, Ryan Fredericks

Booked: Angelo Ogbonna (foul), Issa Diop (dissent)
Goals: Tomas Soucek 90+1’

Fulham: Alphonse Areola, Joachim Anderson, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Tom Cairney (Capt), Bobby De Cordova-Reid (Ruben Loftus-Cheek 83’), Tosin Adarabioyo, Ademola Lookman, Harrison Reed, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Ivan Cavaleiro 90+3’), Antonee Robinson, Ola Aina Subs not used: Marek Rodak (GK), Michael Hector, Neeskens Kebano, Tim Ream, Joe Bryan

Booked: Aleksandar Mitrovic (foul), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (foul)
Goals: None

Referee: Robert Jones
Assistants: Darren Cann and Mark Scholes
Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson
VAR: Andre Marriner
Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart

Advertisement

Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]