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West Ham 2 Brighton 2
by Paul Donovan
at London Stadium
WEST HAM will regard this as a well-won point, but must wonder what would have happened if they’d got on the front foot prior to going two behind.
The opening half was a pretty nondescript affair, with the two sides largely cancelling each other out. The best chances fell to Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic, but Brighton keeper David Button saved both efforts.
Seven minutes into the second half, Anderson broke forward from midfield but saw his shot from just outside the penalty area whistle inches wide of the right-hand upright.
It then looked as though West Ham would rue the missed chances as the visitors struck twice in three minutes.
First, Lukasz Fabianski punched out a corner that fell to Dale Stephens, whose crisply hit shot found the net through a mass of players.
Then Issa Diop allowed Shane Duffy to get behind him and prod home from another corner.
West Ham’s fortunes were transformed when substitutes Mark Noble and Michail Antonio replaced Robert Snodgrass and Pedro Obiang.
It was a Noble long ball that put Arnautovic in to poke home. Then a couple of minutes later, a Noble crossfield ball found Antonio, who powered to the byline to pull the ball back for Arnautovic to fire into the roof of the net. The goal was not without controversy, however, as television replays suggested the ball may have crossed the byline before Antonio pulled it back for Arnautovic.
Another mazy run from Antonio, finished with him blasting over from a couple of yards.
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini was disappointed that Brighton scored two goals from corners.
“It was very disappointing to concede from set-pieces,” said Pellegrini, who confessed his team were aware of this Brighton strength but still could not stop them from scoring.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton was hugely disappointed to have conceded a two-goal lead.
“On the first half performance we were very good,” said Hughton, who told how Brighton’s immediate aim was to get the magic number of points to stay up, then put as many points as possible between themselves and the bottom three.
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