West Ham United fall to defeat in Brighton


West Ham United fell to a first league defeat of 2018 as Brighton and Hove Albion bested the Irons 3-1.

Glenn Murray put Brighton ahead after just seven minutes but the game was level at half-time, thanks to a wonderful goal from Mexican forward Chicharito – his sixth of the season for the Hammers.

However, two strikes from distance in the second half from Jose Izquierdo and Pascal Gross respectively put the home team in control.

West Ham searched for a way back into the game with the introductions of Michail Antonio and Jordan Hugill, but the away team fell for the first time in the Premier League since before Christmas.

The first meaningful chance of the game wielded the first goal. A through-ball by Pascal Gross caught the Hammers out, and Murray calmly put Brighton into the lead.

The striker had another chance, which Sam Byram blocked, before the West Ham defender then saw a headed effort on goal blocked on the line by Brighton’s Shane Duffy.

West Ham were level on half an hour thanks to a terrific team move. Chicharito started it, linking with Mark Noble and Joao Mario, before biding his time in the box and striking a powerful finish into the roof of the net.

The leveller, and Chicharito’s sixth league goal of the campaign, sparked David Moyes’s side into life, and Aaron Cresswell then saw two precise crosses almost lead to goals for the Irons. Mario latched onto the first, but his volley skewed wide, while Byram got too much on his header for the second.

Both sides had chances to take the lead in the closing moments of the opening period, with Murray almost scoring again for Albion from close range.

A cagey opening to the second half was interrupted on 59 minutes when Brighton restored their leaf. Izquierdo collected the ball after the Hammers cleared a corner, and there was nothing that could be done about a curling effort into the top corner from distance.

The Irons struggled to get through a resolute home team, with Cresswell testing the goalkeeper from out wide, but the introduction of Michail Antonio – back from injury – and Jordan Hugill for his West Ham debut showed intent of a fight-back.

However, Brighton went 3-1 ahead on 75 minutes as Gross received the ball in the centre and sent a shot past Adrian and into the net from 20 yards.

West Ham United: Adrian; Byram (Hugill 80’), Collins, Rice (Antonio 66’), Ogbonna, Zabaleta, Cresswell, Noble (c), Kouyate, Joao Mario, Chicharito

Subs not used: Hart, Reid, Fonte, Cullen, Haksabanovic

Goals scored: Chicharito 30’

Brighton & Hove Albion: Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk (c), Bong; Knockaert (March 77;), Stephens, Propper, Izquierdo, Gross (Kayal 83’), Murray (Ulloa 72’)

Subs not used: Krul, Goldson, Bruno, Baldock

Goals scored: Murray 7’, Izquierdo 59’, Gross 75’