West Ham beaten as Palace come from behind to take all three points
PUBLISHED: 19:40 05 October 2019 | UPDATED: 19:40 05 October 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
The Hammers were the victims of a VAR decision for the second week running as Eagles soar above them in Premier League
West Ham United 1 Crystal Palace 2
The Hammers unbeaten six-match Premier League streak came to a controversial end at the bLondon Stadium, where the Eagles swooped to land a last-gasp victory following a VAR review.
Following a lacklustre opening period, Sebastién Haller had put West Ham United in front ten minutes after the break with a wonderfully well-worked team goal but just as Manuel Pellegrini started to dream of finishing the evening in third-spot, Crystal Palace fought back to ironically leap-frog his team into fourth place.
Patrick Van Aanholt levelled from the penalty spot midway through the half after Declan Rice was adjudged to have handled Cheikhou Kouyaté's attempted cross and then as stoppage time approached Jordan Ayew snatched the winner with the tightest of tight offside calls.
After seeing Łukasz Fabiański sustain a hip injury in the 2-2 draw at AFC Bournemouth last Saturday, the Hammers boss was forced to hand Roberto his first start between the sticks, while Manuel Lanzini came in for substitute Pablo Fornals, who took his place on the bench alongside third 'keeper David Martin, the son of Hammers legend, Alvin.
Fortunately, the stand-in Spanish stopper enjoyed a quiet opening half-hour settling into his new London Stadium surroundings as both teams patiently played out this contest in midfield and it was Roberto's compatriot Vincente Guaita, who was finally called upon to make the first save of the afternoon on 28 minutes.
And what a save it was, as Haller met Andriy Yarmolenko's low cross to the edge of the six-yard box with a thumping shot that cannoned into the Palace 'keeper's chest from point-blank range.
Seconds later, the Claret & Blue fans saw the best and worst of Felipe Anderson, who almost sliced out for a throw-in from just ten yards out but, with Yarmolenko recycling the ball with a cross back into the danger-zone, the Brazilian then sent a darting diving header into Guaita's clutches.
Roy Hodgson's side had comfortably dispatched Norwich City last weekend, and following that victory at Selhurst Park, the Eagles boss made just one enforced change as James McCarthy came in for the suspended, five-times booked, Luka Milovejić, while one ex-Hammer - Kouyaté - started and another, James Tomkins was named substitute.
Kouyaté had historically scored the first-ever goal at London Stadium back in 2016 and, returning to the East End, he forced Roberto to gallantly dive into his studs before Ryan Fredericks then cleared Jeffrey Schlupp's delicate chip off the line as the visitors finally started to threaten.
Just before the break, McCarthy tested Roberto with a 25-yarder that the Spaniard brilliantly beat aside and, as a goalless, largely uneventful, opening 45 minutes drew to a close, Haller was again foiled by Guaita before Yarmolenko was booked for juddering into Joel Ward, while Lanzini fired inches wide from the edge of the area, too.
Shortly after the restart, Ward was booked for tripping Anderson and from Lanzini's consequent free-kick, Angelo Ogbonna somehow sent his vicious volley high into the dark Stratford skies from all of eight yards.
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But on 54 minutes the Hammers engineered a sublime goal filled with Claret & Blue craft and character.
Seemingly penned in on the left-hand touchline deep in their own half, Pellegrini's men calmly worked the ball down the flank before Anderson squared to skipper Mark Noble, who found Rice and, moving the ball swiftly across field towards the right wing with pace and poise, Yarmolenko then collected and fed the overlapping Fredericks, whose low cross was slid home by the stretching Haller.
To a man, both players and supporters celebrated that magnificent team goal but Haller's joy at netting his fourth goal of the season was then tempered by a booking for felling James McArthur, before Palace then levelled with 63 minutes on the clock.
Kouyaté's attempted hook across the Hammers area struck the upper arm of the rising Rice and with referee Michael Oliver instantly pointing to the spot, Van Aanholt lashed his low penalty inside the base of the left-hand post as Roberto headed in the opposite direction to equalise.
Fornals replaced the subdued Lanzini, before Jack Wilshere came on for Yamolenko as West Ham went for one last fresh-legged push but they could not muster anything else to threaten the Palace, who then snatched that VAR-assisted winner through Ayew.
The Hammers looked to have escaped, when the Palace striker side-footed home Martin Kelly's nod down from six yards but with an offside flag raised, following a lengthy review which came down to less than half a shoe size, referee Oliver over-ruled his assistant to award Ayew the goal that ended the Hammers unbeaten run.
HAMMERS: Fabianski, Fredericks, Cresswell (Zabaleta 84), Diop. Ogbonna, Rice, Noble, Yarmolenko (Wilshere 78), Lanzini (Fornals 69), Anderson, Haller. Unused subs: Martin, Balbuena, Snodgrass, Ajeti.
EAGLES: Guaita, Ward, Van Aanholt, Kelly, Cahill, McArthur, McCarthy (Townsend 81), Kouyaté, Schlupp, Zaha, Ayew (Benteke 90). Unused subs: Hennessey, Tomkins, Dann, Meyer, Camarasa.
Booked: Yarmolenko (44), Ward (50), Haller (60), Fredericks (85), Benteke (90+2)
Referee: Michael Oliver.