West Ham leave it late as supersub Sakho grabs unlikely winner
PUBLISHED: 17:01 30 September 2017
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The Hammers grab all three points at the London Stadium but it is hardly convincing
West Ham United 0 Swansea City 0
Supersub Diafra Sakho dug West Ham out of a terrible hole with a dramatic last-minute goal to give the Hammers an unlikely three points.
Time seemed to be running out for the lacklustre Hammers as fellow sub Arthur Masuaku stormed down the left wing and delivered a oerfect cross for Sakho to sweep the ball into the net for his third and most important goal of the campaign.
To say West Ham were fortunate to take all three points is something of an understatement. At times they were woeful, without a plan and if anything it was Swansea City that looked the more likely in a game that might have been lucky to be last on Match of the Day.
After last week’s home defeat by Tottenham, manager Slaven Bilic made changes. He reverted to a back four, with Angelo Ogbonna dropping to the bench, while Andy Carroll started up front with Javier Hernandez, while Andre Ayew replaced the ill Marko Arnautovic.
Swansea came into the game unbeaten on their travels without conceding a goal and they looked well organised to continue in that vein.
West Ham started hrightly enough with Michail Antonio testing Lukasz Fabianski with a shot at the far post which went into the ground and bounced towards the other corner.
Hernandez brought the ball down in the box and fed Carroll, but his shot was easy for the Swansea keeper, while at the other end Joe Hart had to be at his best just a minute later when Wilfried Bony ley fly from the edge of the box and the West Ham keeper palmed the shot away.
It was Swansea who were looking the better team as West Ham gave them too much time and space and the West Ham crowd vented their frustration as too many passes went astray.
Carroll’s cross was headed straight at Fabianski by the stopping Ayew, while they finally put in a decent move as Ayew released Aaron Cresswell, but though his cross looked destined for the boot of Hernandez, it was Federico Fernandez who got their first to hack it away for a corner.
Bilic stuck with the same line-up after the break and he was almost rewarded on 52 minutes. Antonio crossed from the right and Carroll was an inch away from connecting at the far pos as the ball flashed across goal.
Cheikhou Kouyate and Carroll went into the book within a minute of each other as frustration continued for the Hammers.
Bilic brought on Manuel Lanzini for skipper Mark Noble just after the hour as he looked for a way to unlock the stubborn Swansea City defence.
But it made little difference as Swansea continued to show why they had been unbeaten on the road this season and they even went close with a chance of their own when Martin Olsson shot inches wide of the post with Hart struggling. West Ham made a finaL roll of the dice when they brought on Diafra Sakho and Arthur Masuaku for the ineffective Hernandez and Ayew and at least the Hammers looked to have more purpose in the final 10 minutes.
They almost grabbed the winner with five minutes left when Masuaku’s cross found the knee of Carroll, who rebounded it on to the right hand post and away to safety.
But then, just as people were thinking about who the next manager might be, came the dramatic finale. The combination of the two subs and a winner that could turn round West Ham’s disappointing season.
Bilic may not be safe yet, but he is a lucky manager and he has done it again.
West Ham: Hart, Zabaleta, Reid, Fonte, Cresswell; Noble (Lanzini 62), Kouyate; Antonio, Ayew (Masuaku 78), Hernandez (Sakho 78); Carroll.
Unused subs: Adrian, Ogbonna, Byram, Rice.
Yellow cards: Sanches 30, Britton 49. Kouyate 55, Carroll 56,
Referee: Roger East.