West Ham United 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

Mauro Zarate's superb free-kick was cancelled out by Rickie Lambert's deflected strike
West Ham United 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

West Ham United drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion to climb to seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

In a tight affair, Mauro Zarate, the Hammers’ Man of the Match, opened the scoring with an inch-perfect free-kick after 17 minutes before Rickie Lambert equalised via a deflection shortly after the re-start.
On a chilly November day Slaven Bilic made three changes to the side that lost to Tottenham last weekend. In came Angelo Ogbonna, Pedro Obiang and Mauro Zarate in place of James Tomkins and Andy Carroll, both started on the bench while skipper Mark Noble sat out through suspension.

The Hammers enjoyed the first chance of the game through Zarate as he fired just wide after being played through by compatriot Manuel Lanzini.

The Baggies responded in kind through powerful striker Salomon Rondon who, with seemingly little on, fired marginally wide of the left-hand post from distance.

On 17 minutes, Zarate more than made up for his earlier miss by scoring an absolute peach of free-kick from 25-yards out.

The forward made the Baggies pay after Diafra Sakho was manhandled, he sized up his angles and arrowed a shot that gave Boaz Myhill little chance of saving.

Moments later, Cheikhou Kouyate went close to doubling the lead following a superb delivery by Aaron Cresswell. Kouyate timed his run to meet the pinpoint cross yet his header nestled just wide of the far post.

Lanzini and Zarate continued to impress as the Hammers took their deserved lead into the half-time break.

Sensing the Hammers’ dominance, Tony Pulis made a change by bringing Rickie Lambert on in place of Stephane Sessegnon and the changed paid dividends five minutes into the second half as Lambert’s shot took a massive deflection off Winston Reid which wrong-footed Adrian. 

Having drawn level, West Brom looked to take the initiative first as Rickie Lambert fired a fierce free-kick goalward before Adrian somehow denied Rondon from point blank range. The Venezuelan striker looked as though he could not miss from two yards out however the Spaniard made himself big to keep his side in the contest.

In another wise sluggish second half display, the Hammers suddenly sprung into life with a blistering counter-attack. Kouyate won back possession with a typically strong challenge before Victor Moses tore through the middle of the pitch to feed Diafra Sakho. His shot had Myhill beaten yet Jonas Olsson flung himself in front of the strike to block heroically.

With ten minutes remaining, Bilic turned the screw even further by bringing on Michail Antonio for his home debut, he replaced the ever present Zarate who had run himself into the ground. Both Hammers received rapturous applause.

With just moments left, Moses went agonizingly close to notching what would have been the winning goal with a thundering volley. His connection was superb yet he didn’t quite have the necessary accuracy.

Aaron Cresswell tested Myhill’s reflexes with a stinging free-kick in injury time however the match finished level.  

West Ham United: Adrian, Reid ©, Cresswell, Kouyate, Zarate (Antonio 81), Jenkinson, Obiang (Carroll 63), Sakho (Jelavic 71), Moses, Ogbonna, Lanzini

Subs not used: Spiegel, Song, Tomkins, Cullen

Goals: Zarate 17

West Bromwich Albion: Myhill, Olsson, Yacob, Evans, Morrison, McClean, McAuley, Fletcher ©, Dawson, Sessegnon (Lambert 46), Rondon

Subs not used: Lindegaard, Chester, Gardner, Anichebe, Berahino, McManaman

Bookings: Olsson, Yacob

Goals: Reid (O.G) 50

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Attendance: 34,914