IN windswept conditions at Little Heath, Darren Blewitt's 26th minute goal could not save the Hammers from going down 2-1 to local rivals Charlton Athletic.
Hammers started the game brightly and might have taken the lead after only ten minutes when Hogan Ephraim's corner found James Tomkins, who headed just over.
Looking dangerous from set-pieces, it was no surprise that when West Ham did take the lead it was another Ephraim corner that provided the assist. Tomkins was again the target and when he headed down, Blewitt was on hand to slam the ball home.
Ephraim and Tony Stokes both went close with good efforts, before Charlton equalised against the run of play after 41 minutes.
Onome Sodje jinked his way into the penalty area before unleashing a shot that unluckily squirmed under the diving Matt Reed.
Hammers responded well to going behind, though, and thought they had retaken the lead just before the interval when Blewitt glanced home David Shaw's free-kick. But the goal was ruled out for offside.
Charlton began the second-half in more determined mood, but still West Ham had chances. Ollie Allen latched onto a great pass from Desnal Davidson, but his shot was well saved by the Addicks goalkeeper.
Then, with 64 minutes gone, Charlton took the lead. There was more than a hint of offside when Onome Sodje brought the ball down in the penalty area, but as West Ham stopped in anticipation of a referee's whistle that never came, Sodje blasted past Reed.
Danny Bunce denied Sodje a hat-trick shortly afterwards with a spectacular goal-line clearance, before Stokes and Ephraim were both denied by desperate defending as a frantic goalmouth scramble broke out.
Unfortunately for the Hammers they could not find the equaliser their performance deserved, as the game ended 2-1 to Charlton.
WHU: Reed; Henry (Bunce 53), Andrews, Tomkins, Blewitt (Laws 46), Shaw, Allen, Stokes, Davidson (Yao 67), Ephraim, Welsh.
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