West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion – Premier League – London Stadium – Report
West Ham United 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
Neal Maulpay’s late goal extended Brighton & Hove Albion’s unbeaten sequence against West Ham United to nine matches on what proved to be a frustrating evening for David Moyes’ men at the London Stadium.
West Ham were looking for a return to form following back to back Premier League defeats, while their bogey team, Brighton arrived in the capital without a win in nine and booed off the field by a section of their supporters following a goalless draw with Leeds last time out.
Nevertheless, Moyes focused on the positive strides his side have already made: “The start we’ve made ourselves is right up there with the best I’ve had,” the Scotsman enthused
“I’ve been at some clubs who might have started slightly better and there have been clubs who have started worse, but I think the big thing I’ve got is a really good team.
“I think I’ve got a group of players who are competitive. We’re working on changing the mentality and I think when it comes to December 28 or so this year I’d have been here two years and you have to think the turnaround the players have made in that period has been great.”
Good start to the season or not, West Ham hadn’t beaten Brighton in any of the eight meetings since the Seagulls returned to the top flight in 2017. Perhaps mindful of that grim statistic, it was a nervy start from the East Londoners. Maulpay, a whisker away from opening the scoring following some hesitant defending.
But the home sides’ response was rapid. Pablo Fornals flag-kick – Tomas Soucek with the faintest of touches at the near post – Hammers ahead inside five minutes.
Having fished the ball from the back of the net with his first touch, Brighton stopper, Robert Sanchez made a somewhat unorthodox save to rebuff Vladimir Coufal’s fizzing strike. Meanwhile, Fornals’ effort rattled the woodwork after Michail Antonio had nodded Coufal’s centre into his path.
The visitors’ problems were piling up. Both Jeremy Sarmiento and Adam Webster limped out of the action inside the opening thirty-five minutes. Lukasz Fabianski superbly denied them an equaliser, using his feet to divert away from Jakub Moder after Maulpay had fashioned an opening. Lewis Dunk nodding narrowly wide from the resulting corner.
Substitute, Solly March saw his angled attempt turned over by Fabianski directly after the restart. Meanwhile, a tedious VAR check denied West Ham a second. Off-side the decision conjured up from Stockley Park after a combination of Craig Dawson and Antonio had bundled home from close range.
Jarrod Bowen fired agonisingly wide after Said Benrahma had sent the former Hull City man dashing away. Then Adam Lallana swept the wrong side of an upright as the sides continued to exchange, and subsequently pass up decent opportunities.
A double-change from Moyes saw Arthur Masuaku and Manuel Lanzini introduced. Meanwhile, Decan Rice forced Sanchez into a flying save to keep out his twenty-yard thunderbolt, then the keeper clung on to Antonio’s goalbound header as the game drew towards its last knockings.
But the Brighton hoodoo was about to strike again. Maupay reacted acrobatically to Tariq Lamptey’s cross – Fabianski beaten – VAR satisfied – Albion level – Hammers left to rue a series of missed chances.
West Ham United return to Premier League action on Saturday, December 4 when Chelsea visit the London Stadium (12:30pm).
West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Dawson, Zouma, Johnson, Rice (Capt), Souček, Fornals (Masuaku 76′), Benrahma (Lanzini 76′), Bowen, Antonio Subs not used: Areola (GK), Diop, Noble, Král, Vlašić, Yarmolenko, Perkins
Booked: Michail Antonio (foul)
Goals: Tomas Soucek 5′
Brighton & Hove Albion: Sánchez, Veltman (Lamptey 70′), Webster (Duffy 36′), Dunk (Capt), Cucurella, Bissouma, Lallana, Moder, Sarmiento (March 13′), Trossard, Maupay Subs not used: Steele (GK), Mac Allister, Mwepu, Groß, Duffy, Locadia, Burn
Booked: Neal Maulpay (excessive celebration)
Goals: Neal Maulpay 89′
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistants: Dan Cook and Dan Robathan
Fourth Official: Andre Marriner
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies