West Ham grab vital three points against relegation rivals
PUBLISHED: 21:54 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 21:54 02 January 2018
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It’s Carroll at the double for the Hammers as they come from behind for last-gasp win
West Ham United 2 West Bromwich Albion 1
Recalled Andy Carroll’s deadly and destructive double gave West Ham United a dramatic victory at the London Stadium, where wobbling West Bromwich Albion’s win-less streak was extended to 20 matches.
The Big Man’s thumping header on the hour-mark wiped out James McClean’s deflected first-half effort and, in the third-minute of added time, Carroll made it a Happy New Year for everyone Claret & Blue with a tightly-angled winner that lifted the Hammers out of the bottom three.
Both teams had drawn last time out, when each had been involved in late drama, too.
But there had been little festive cheer for the Hammers at Bournemouth, where Callum Wilson’s offside, handballed equaliser denied them victory on Boxing Day and, following that thrilling 3-3 draw, David Moyes made a couple of switches as Carroll and skipper Winston Reid returned in place of James Collins and substitute André Ayew.
The Baggies, on the other hand, had somehow salvaged a point against Arsenal on New Year’s Eve with a highly-debatable, last-minute penalty but that 1-1 stalemate still meant that Alan Pardew’s team – sitting in 19th-spot, one place and two points behind West Ham – arrived in the capital without a victory in their last 19 outings.
Two days on, the former Hammers boss made a quartet of changes with McClean, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Salomón Rondón and Claudio Jacob returning in place of Matt Phillips plus substitutes Hal Robson-Kanu, Gareth Barry and Chris Brunt.
With Storm Eleanor heading towards London, too, a January downpour did little to help either side as they looked to find their feet on the slippery Stratford surface and, after slicing wide from an impossible angle, Manuel Lanzini soon found himself booked for sliding through McClean.
At the other end, hesitancy between the rain-swept Reid and Angelo Ogbonna allowed Rondón to deposit a 20-yarder onto the roof of Adrián’s net as both teams looked to make the crucial breakthrough that would lift them out of the bottom three.
Midway through the first-half, Pablo Zabaleta’s right-wing centre towards Carroll had Albion panicking but when the bouncing ball fell to Lanzini, Ben Foster brilliantly beat the 15-yard sizzler aside to leave the Argentinian aghast.
McClean’s 20-yarder drew a routine stop from Adrián, who then saw Rodriguez drive wide from the edge of the area but those two efforts were mere range-finders as the West Ham ‘keeper would soon discover on the half-hour mark.
Collecting the ball on half-way, McClean waded forward towards the edge of the Hammers area, where he comfortably rode Reid’s attempted slide and, as he now made his way along the 18-yard line, Ogbonna was about to launch himself, too.
That was the catalyst for the 56-times capped Republic of Ireland midfielder to let fly with a shot that looped off the heel of the lunging Pedro Obiang, beyond the groping Adrián and under the right-hand angle.
It was only Albion’s sixth away goal of the season and, as the Hammers desperately tried to claw themselves level, Foster again denied the fleet-footed Lanzini with another stop before bravely diving into Cheikhou Kouyaté’s studs to preserve an interval lead for Pardew’s side.
Moyes tellingly threw Mark Noble on for the second half as Obiang retired and, just after the restart, Marko Arnautović sent a low, right-wing centre skidding into the six-yard box, where Carroll at full stretch somehow steered over the top to the relief of Foster.
But on the hour, the bulldozing Big Man more than compensated for that miss with a trademark equaliser that saw him charge between Jonny Evans and Kieran Gibbs to meet Aaron Cresswell’s left-wing cross with a thumping six-yard header that gave Foster no chance.
With the cheers that greeted his first goal of the campaign still subsiding, Carroll was then booked for taking out Krychowiak and, with West Ham now smelling Baggies blood, Arnautović forced a point-blank save out of Foster before Javier Hernández came on for Masuaku, who having been booked for a foul on Jay Rodriguez in the first-half was now walking on a disciplinary tightrope.
Pardew also introduced Robson-Kanu and Oliver Burke at the expense of Jake Livermore and Rodriguez. Within seconds of his arrival, Burke found himself sprinting clear of the pushed-up home defence but with the whites of Adrián’s eyes in his sights, the Albion substitute was dramatically robbed by the retreating Ogbonna, who produced the saving tackle of his life to rescue his team-mates.
Craig Dawson then whipped over a right-wing cross that deflected off Arnautović causing Adrián to tip the spinning ball over the top, while at the other end, Declan Rice – on for the injured Cresswell – embarked on a probing run but Hernández could not convert.
But there was to be one dramatic late twist in the tale, for three minutes into added time, Lanzini released Arnautović into the Albion area and the Austrian sent over a low ball from the left, which Carroll – bang on cue – slid home from a tight angle to send the East End into ecstasy.
HAMMERS: Adrián, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell (Rice 76), Zabaleta, Masuaku (Hernández 72), Obiang (Noble h/t), Kouyaté, Lanzini, Arnautović, Carroll. Unused subs: Hart, Ayew, Hakšabanović, Quina.
BAGGIES: Foster, Hegazi, Gibbs, Yacob (Barry 83), Evans, Dawson, Krychowiak, McClean, Livermore (Robson-Kanu 64), Rodriguez (Burke 70), Rondón. Unused subs: Myhill, Brunt, McAuley, Field.
Booked: Lanzini (6), Masuaku (44), Carroll (61), Yacob (74), Krychowiak (90+4)
Referee: Mike Jones.