West Ham throw away two-goal lead against Crystal Palace
PUBLISHED: 17:12 28 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:12 28 October 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers conceded in injury time as Palace earn a share of the points
Crystal Palace 2 West Ham United 2
West Ham threw away a 2-0 half-time lead to finish all square at Crystal Palace after a dramatic injury-time equaliser at Selhurst Park.
There seemed to be no problems for Slaven Bilic’s side as they went in at the break, two goals to the good thanks to goals from Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew.
But conceding an early penalty in the second half gave Palace the incentive to storm forward and they did with great purpose as they stopped West Ham in their tracks.
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic kept faith with some of the players who helped them to a fantastic win at Spurs in the League Cup on Wednesday night.
Skipper Mark Noble, defenders Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell as well as two-goal here Andre Ayew and Edimilson Fernandes all started once again as they looked to repeat that second half display.
But it was rock-bottom Palace who just shade it in a cautious, scrappy start where neither team was prepared to put their foot on the ball.
An early corner saw former Hammer James Tomkins get up to head straight at Joe Hart.
The game took a massive turn on 31 minutes. First Wilfried Zaha stole into the box and seemed to be upended by Jose Fonte and seconds later the ball was at the other end.
Aaron Cresswell crossed low and Javier Hernandez finished with style to put West Ham in front with their first shot on target.
Palace tried to hit back straight away from a corner, but once again Tomkins was denied by a superb save from Hart, before Jeffrey Schlupp’s close-range effort was also stopped by the West Ham keeper.
West Ham brought on Michail Antonio for Zabaleta to try and swing the game back in their favour
Crystal Palace continued to press without any joy and two minutes before the break, West Ham dealt them a savage blow.
The confident Ayew picked the ball up in midfield and raced at the Palace defence, beating Scott Dann before cutting on to his left foot and rifling the ball into the top corner to make it 2-0.
It was a stunning goal that few would have imagined of Ayew a few weeks ago, but the Ghana international is brimming with confidence after his two goals at Wembley.
Arthur Masuaku replaced the injured Cresswell at the break and Palace threw themselves a lifeline minutes later.
Andros Townsend was floored by the clumsy Ogbonna in the box and referee Madley pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Luka Milivojevic who sent Hart the wrong way from the spot.
Yohan Cabaye then rattled the post from outside the area with a shot that had Hart beaten, while the busy number one had his fingers stung by Zaha’s drive as the pressure mounted.
West Ham earned some possession with only Hernandez cross straight to the keeper to show for it, while at the other end, Zaha tested Hart once again with a rasping shot.
Ogbonna conceded a free kick just outside the box and from the resulting shot from Cabaye, Hart dived full length to palm the ball away.
Antonio had one shot fly well over, but this was a real backs-to-the wall display at the other end as desperate Palace looked for a point.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek ghosted past two defenders and into the box, only for his cross to evade everyone.
From another corner Tomkins once again came close seeing his header hit the bar, before Bakary Sako put his effort over and at that point, West Ham were just clinging on by their fingernails.
And in the end they couldn’t manage it. Deep into injury time, Michail Antonio failed to hold on to the ball in the far corner and moments later it came to Zaha on the left edge of the box.
He weaved into the box and shot into the far corner.
Seconds later it was over and West Ham will kick themselves for letting a 2-0 lead slip against a team rock bottom of the Premier League.
West Ham: Hart, Zabaleta (Antonio, 62), Fonte (Rice,75), Kouyate, Ogbonna, Cresswell (Masuaku h/t); Noble, Fernandes, Lanzini, Ayew, Hernandez. Subs: Adrian, Arnautovic, Carroll, Obiang.
Booked: Zabaleta, Dann, Masuaku.
Referee: Robert Madley.