West Ham grab first point of the season with draw at bogey-boys Brighton
PUBLISHED: 17:12 17 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:46 17 August 2019
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The Hammers take the lead through Hernandez but are pegged back soon after
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 West Ham United 1
After being all at sea in the first-half, the Hammers got their campaign up and running with this hard-earned draw down on the South Coast, where they secured their first goal and first point of the season.
Following a shot-shy opening 45 minutes, Manuel Pellegrini's side eventually took the lead against the run of play, on the hour, thanks to a clinical finish by Javier Hernández.
But having had a first-half effort ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee, debutant Leandro Trossard did finally get his goal to draw Brighton level within just four minutes of the Mexican's opener and that left both sides settling for a point.
Pellegrini had responded to last week's five-goal grilling at the hands of champions Manchester City by making a quintet of changes as Hernández, skipper Angelo Ogbonna, Pablo Fornals, Arthur Masuaku and Robert Snodgrass each received call-ups in place of injured duo - Sebastien Haller (knee) and Anderson (thigh) - Aaron Cresswell plus substitutes Michail Antonio and Fabián Balbuena.
And within the opening minute the Hammers could have again found themselves on the back foot when Pascal Gross floated in the first free-kick of the afternoon and bulldozing Dan Burn shrugged off the visiting defence before sending a powerful, close-range header just inches over Lukasz Fabianski's crossbar.
The Brighton centre-backs were taking no prisoners in their own half, either, as both Fornals and Manuel Lanzini came in for sufficiently heavy treatment to bring the protective Pellegrini marching into the technical area to make an early protest to fourth official, Keith Stroud.
In the opposing dug-out, the Chilean's counterpart, Graham Potter, had got off to a flying start with a fantastic 3-0 win at woeful Watford on the opening day and the new Brighton boss made just one switch for the Seagulls' first home game of the campaign, with Trossard - a summer signing from Genk - coming in for the benched Jurgen Locadia.
With the early intensity gradually fading into the Sussex haze, goal chances had become few and far between but, midway through the first-half, Masuaku's weak clearance fell to Dale Stephens, whose scorching 20-yarder was tipped over the top by Fabianski for the first corner of the afternoon.
Shortly afterwards, Solly March let fly from similar range and, once again, the Polish stopper palmed the sizzling shot aside at full stretch as the Seagulls stirred.
Then, on 26 minutes, VAR came to West Ham's rescue big-time when Trossard volleyed home Burn's by-line cutback from 15 yards but, with both teams lining up for the restart, referee Anthony Taylor reprieved the relieved Hammers by ruling out the effort for an offside against the Seagulls' centre-back.
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With half-time approaching, West Ham did finally muster their first shot of the match but Declan Rice's wayward 25-yarder drifted innocuously into the Brighton fans sat behind the hitherto redundant Matthew Ryan's goal and that summed up an anonymous opening 45 minutes for the visitors, who had only been saved from an interval deficit by VAR.
Pellegrini introduced Antonio at the expense of Jack Wilshere for the restart and following a couple of lively runs by the fresh-legged new boy, Lanzini curled over from 20 yards.
But, on the hour, the Hammers did finally break the deadlock, when Masuaku found Lanzini on the left flank and the Argentinian invited Hernández to sprint between Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk before rifling a low 12-yarder through Ryan's outstretched left glove.
West Ham's lead only lasted for four minutes, though. With Glenn Murray out-muscling Issa Diop on the edge of the West Ham penalty area, the ball broke to Trossard and this time there was no VAR to deny the Belgian his debut goal as he confidently lashed home from 18 yards.
Scores level, Potter introduced Neal Maupay and Florin Andone in quick succession, while Andriy Yarmolenko replaced Formals, too, for the final stages.
Maupay somehow blazed over from a couple of yards before scuffing wide, while Davy Propper also headed into Fabianski's clutches and, at the other end, the escaping Snodgrass might have snatched it for the Hammers but Ryan brilliantly beat his shot aside before the Brighton keeper also foiled Antonio in the dying seconds to keep it all-square.
SEAGULLS: Ryan, Burn, Dunk, Duffy, Montoya, March, Stephens, Propper, Gross (Maupay 67), Trossard (Mooy 83), Murray (Andone 73). Unused subs: Button, Locadia, Webster, Bernardo.
HAMMERS: Fabianski, Fredericks, Masuaku, Ogbonna, Diop, Rice, Wilshere (Antonio h/t), Snodgrass, Lanzini, Fornals (Yarmolenko 76), Hernández (Sánchez 82). Unused subs: Roberto, Balbuena, Zabaleta, Ajeti.
Booked: Masuaku (76), Rice (90+3).
Referee: Anthony Taylor