West Ham Fight Back To Salvage Point Against Bogey Brighton

Ben Johnson, West Ham. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images)
Ben Johnson, West Ham. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images) /

Despite going behind on two occasions, West Ham were able to salvage a point against Graham Potter’s Brighton.

A first career goal from Ben Johnson and another for Tomas Soucek meant that West Ham avoided another defeat. Brighton would have been disappointed not to have won the game after they led on two occasions after goals from Neal Maupay and Lewis Dunk.

Match Build Up

David Moyes made one change to his West Ham team that lost to Chelsea last week. Young full-back Ben Johnson came into the starting eleven in place of Pablo Fornals. The main worry for fans was the defensive look of the team.

With three holding midfielders and a back five. Some fans were unhappy to see the Hammers set-up so defensively ahead of a home match against relegation fighting Brighton. Mark Noble kept his place in the team, despite his poor showing against the Blues.

There was, however, a tactical shift in the attack. Jarrod Bowen was moved up the pitch to play as a striker partner to Sebastien Haller. Bowen and Haller had seven Premier League goals between so could form a brilliant partnership of they click.

Match Report

Brighton started the brighter of the two sides and had a couple of half-chances at goal. The Seagulls strikers Danny Welbeck and Neal Maupay, however, were unable to make them count. The visitors were dominating the majority of the possession. West Ham were looking to counter, but a lack of pace was affecting the effectiveness of the tactic.

West Ham were able to get themselves into the game after their slow start. Moyes’ men started to get on the ball and get it into the attacking half. Much like Brighton in the early stages, they couldn’t create any meaningful attempts on goal.

The visitors then started to reassert their dominance over the match. The Seagulls had a couple of chances saved and blocked by the Hammers defence. Solly March was looking like Brighton’s best player as he was creating plenty of good moves from the left-wing. West Ham, however, were unable to get themselves any meaningful possession and were looking lethargic on the ball.

Brighton did make their domination count just before half-time. Dan Burn surged forward into the West Ham half. The defender played a clever one-two with March before cutting the ball into the box. The ball reached Maupay who was able to turn and fire past Lukasz Fabianski to give Brighton a deserved lead at half-time.

Neal Maupay scores against West Ham.
Neal Maupay scores against West Ham. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth – Pool/Getty Images) /

Moyes made two changes at the break. Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko came on for Mark Noble and Jarrod Bowen as the Hammers searched for an equaliser. Brighton made a change of their own, Adam Lallana was replaced by Steven Alzate.

The changes did improve the Hammers attacking play. Haller had an early header on target saved by Robert Sanchez. The header was the Hammers first shot on target in a match and a half minutes of Premier League football.

The next shot on for the Hammers was a great one. Yarmolenko crossed in a dangerous ball, and Brighton failed to clear. The other substitute Lanzini was able to cut the ball back to Johnson. The academy graduate hit his shot first-time and rifled it into the top corner for his first-ever senior goal.

Ben Johnson, West Ham.
Ben Johnson, West Ham. (Photo by Neil Hall – Pool/Getty Images) /

Brighton weren’t sitting back after conceding and push forward to retake the lead. Leandro Trossard did well to win a corner. The south-coast side took it quickly and caught West Ham off guard. The cross was met by Tomas Soucek who headered it against Lewis Dunk. The Brighton captain then smashed his shot into the roof of the net.

Despite a lengthy VAR review for handball by Dunk, the goal was allowed to stand. The Hammers were level for less than ten minutes. Moyes would have been fuming that his defence switched off from the set-piece.

The Seagulls continued to look the better side after the goal and looked more likely to extend their lead. When Hammers did manage to get forward, they were met by a solid blue wall of Brighton shirts. That was until an Aaron Cresswell corner.

Tomas Soucek, West Ham.
Tomas Soucek, West Ham. (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Cresswell whipped in a cross into the six-yard box. Dunk was first to it and tried to head clear. The captain’s header, however, cannoned into Soucek’s head which then fired into the goal. Ben White should have done better to stop the run of the Czech midfielder. The goal did set-up a grandstand final ten minutes as both sides chased a winner.

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Despite both sides trying to get a winner, neither were able to find the breakthrough before full-time.  The result meant it was one win in five for West Ham. Brighton move up to sixteenth and keep their unbeaten record against the Hammers in the Premier League intact.