West Ham so near and yet so far with 10 men
PUBLISHED: 17:14 14 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:14 14 October 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers striker Andy Carroll is sent off and Burnley take advantage with late equaliser
Burnley 1 West Ham United 1
The ten-man Hammers came agonisingly close to snatching their first away win of the season at an ill-tempered Turf Moor, where Michail Antonio’s opening goal of the campaign gave West Ham the lead midway through the first-half.
And even though Andy Carroll was dismissed for two quick-fire, carbon copy cautions, shortly afterwards, Slaven Bilić’s battlers looked all set to hold on for victory.
But having seen the Big Man gone in 99 seconds, they were finally forced to settle for a point, when Chris Wood broke the East End resistance with just five minutes remaining.
With his troops having returned from international duty unscathed – and only James Collins (ankle) unavailable - Bilić had the rare luxury of being able to choose from a virtually full squad for the first time this season.
And following his side’s victory over Swansea a fortnight ago, that saw Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautović come in for substitutes André Ayew and, tellingly, club skipper Mark Noble.
That gave the Hammers’ boss an entire range of attacking options with Antonio, Javier Hernández plus Lanzini and Arnautović ready and willing to join focal point Carroll at each and every opportunity.
Indeed, as well as winning a couple of early corners, the visitors also saw Antonio’s low 20-yarder force a low save out of Nick Pope in the Burnley goal, as the West Ham wide-boy quickly made his intentions clear.
Victory at Everton before the break, had taken Burnley onto a dozen points and, kicking-off in seventh-spot, Sean Dyche had, predictably, named an unchanged line-up.
Both Scott Arfield and Chris Wood also tested Joe Hart during an end-to-end opening quarter-hour but, ironically, it was the England ‘keeper, who proved the catalyst for Antonio’s opener on 19 minutes.
With Hart’s huge drop-kick awkwardly pitching on the edge of the Clarets’ penalty area, home skipper Ben Mee could only look on in horror as Antonio ghosted in and nudged the ball wide of the advancing Pope, before comfortably slotting into an empty net.
That was the perfect reward for Bilić’s brazen approach to this match but, on 27 minutes, the Hammers boss saw his team reduced to ten men after an attack of yellow fever resulted in Carroll being dismissed for two bookings in quick succession.
With the temperature rising out on the field, Carroll received a 25th-minute caution for an aerial challenge on James Tarkowski and, with the Burnley physio still wringing out his magic sponge, he was soon called back onto the pitch to treat Mee, who had also hit the deck after jumping with the Big Man.
As the Clarets bayed for blood – and with the ink not yet dry in his notebook - referee Stuart Atwell took Carroll’s name for a second time to the fury of everyone Claret and Blue.
Now reduced to ten-men, the Hammers found themselves firmly on the back foot and the relieved Hart was fortunate not to concede a penalty when he dived into Wood’s studs and, with referee Attwell rapidly becoming the busiest man in Burnley, Steven Defour was booked for a spiteful tackle on Aaron Cresswell as Bilić’s boys made it to the interval with their lead intact.
Dyche introduced Sam Vokes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson for the restart at the expense of Jeff Hendrick and Arfield, while Bilić sacrificed Arnautović for Pedro Obiang.
Indeed, just moments into the second period, Lanzini’s low right-wing cross flew across both the goalmouth and the sliding Antonio’s leading stud, before Obiang also saw his 18-yarder saved by Pope.
As the hour-mark approached, Obiang back-heeled to Lanzini, who quickly found Hernández and, with the Mexican cleverly releasing Antonio, the Burnley ‘keeper pulled off a brilliant acrobatic stop to prevent the Hammers from doubling their advantage.
At the other end, Defour’s left-wing cross eluded everyone in the box before the stooping Matthew Lowton failed to make contact at the far post.
Hart then had another huge slice of luck, when Gudmundsson sent a 25-yard grass-cutter onto the base of the right-hand upright and, with the Hammers’ ‘keeper beaten, the ricochet rolled kindly into the safety of his grounded body.
The always advancing Antonio again tested Pope with an 18-yarder as Burnley failed to press home their extra-man advantage to the frustration of increasing restless locals and, with a quarter-hour remaining, Diafra Sakho came on for the dejected Hernández, who trudged away across Turf Moor shaking his head in disbelief.
Obiang was booked for downing Defour, while Dyche went for one last roll of the dice with the switching of full-back Stephen Ward for Ashley Barnes, who wasted no time colliding with Hart.
But with just five minutes remaining, the Hammers defence was finally breached, when Gudmundsson burst down the right flank before whipping a cross into the danger zone, where Wood climbed between Pablo Zabaleta and José Fonte to rescue a point for Burnley with a downward header the crept inside the heartbroken Hart’s right post.
CLARETS: Pope, Lowton, Ward (Barnes 81), Tarkowski, Mee, Cork, Defour, Arfield (Gudmundsson h/t), Brady, Hendrick (Vokes h/t), Wood. Unused subs: Lindegaard, Taylor, Barnes, Westwood, Long.
HAMMERS: Hart, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Fonte, Reid, Kouyaté, Antonio, Arnautović (Obiang h/t), Lanzini (Masuaku 88) Hernández (Sakho 74) Carroll. Unused subs: Adrián, Noble, Ayew, Ogbonna.
Booked: Carroll (25), Defour (40), Obiang (79)
Sent-Off: Carroll (27).
Referee: Stuart Attwell.