Home Breaking News Hammers edge tight game at the London Stadium – report and reaction

Hammers edge tight game at the London Stadium – report and reaction


No way through against organised hosts

Looking for our third straight win in the Premier League, which would have moved us into the top four, we enjoyed a solid first half, but couldn’t build on that after the interval. Our seven shots – four of which were on target – all came in the opening 45 minutes when we quietened the crowd after West Ham’s bright start and dominated the half. We couldn’t maintain that though as the home side rallied after the break, got the all-important first goal and were able to hold on to that lead.

Both sides had early sighters at goal, Fornals hitting a 15-yard volley which Lloris parried away down at his near post on eight minutes, while moments later at the other end, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s 30-yard drive was straight at Fabianski.

The home side were in the ascendency during the early stages but we slowly started to take the sting out of the atmosphere and the Hammers’ domination and for the rest of the first half, we enjoyed a measured control of the game. On 20 minutes, Harry Kane’s ball set Heung-Min Son away and although two West Ham defenders closed him down inside the area, the ball squirted out to Lucas Moura but his shot on the turn was well over. And five minutes later, Tanguy Ndombele this time sent Son in on goal but the angle was quite tight and Fabianski saved before gathering the loose ball.

The hosts were sitting in and hoping to catch us on the counter and had an opportunity 10 minutes before the interval when Fornals’ cross from the left was met by Tomas Soucek but he headed wide from close range, when he probably should have done better. The half ended with Fabianski making two saves from headers, the first a comfortable one from Ndombele but the second a minute before half-time was a fine stop. Some quick passing from Son and Lucas moved the ball out to Sergio Reguilon, who stood up a cross to the back post which Kane met well, climbing above Cresswell but Fabianski produced a fine stop to tip his effort over the bar.

The intensity and atmosphere picked up in the second period, much more characteristic of a London derby and we were close to opening the scoring on a number of attacks but the final ball was just lacking each time.

The Hammers almost broke the deadlock on 71 minutes when Fornals dispossessed Reguilon and hit a shot which deflected up off Eric Dier and needed a good tip over from Lloris, but from the resulting corner, Cresswell whipped a ball into the six-yard box and Antonio stuck out a boot to poke it into the back of the net.

For all our possession in the final stages, it was the hosts who came closest to adding to the scoreline when Antonio slid a ball in for Said Benrahma but Lloris was quick off his line to smother his shot.

Team news saw Nuno Espirito Santo field an unchanged starting XI for the third successive match in the Premier League. Nine of the players who started against Vitesse in midweek were named on the bench while Kane became the seventh player to make 250-plus appearances for us in the Premier League.

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