Stoppage time handball drama denies Hammers
Sheffield United 1-0 West Ham United
Robert Snodgrass was denied a dramatic stoppage time equaliser by a handball decision against Declan Rice as West Ham United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United on Friday night.
The Hammers thought they had cancelled out Oli McBurnie's 54th minute strike to take a point back down the M1, only for a handball against the No41 to be spotted by the Video Assistant Referee as he burst through the challenges.
McBurnie took advantage of a defensive error to score what turned out to be the only goal of a tight game at Bramall Lane and end David Moyes' winning start as West Ham boss.
The visitors were dealt a blow just 15 minutes in when Lukasz Fabianski went down in pain after taking a goal kick. He was unable to continue, so David Martin came on in his place.
The closest the Blades came early on was when Fabian Balbuena had to block John Lundstram's shot from close range, but in truth the home side were not able to test the sub keeper before the break, with most of the play taking place in midfield.
The best chance of the opening period came at the other end with half-an-hour played. Martin knocked a long clearance up field, and in attempting to head clear, John Egan could only give Felipe Anderson a run on goal. He took the ball into the area, but with Chris Basham applying the pressure, pulled the shot wide of the far post.
Half-time came with neither side having registered a shot on target, and the hosts' John Fleck was a matter of inches away from changing that five minutes into the second period, drilling just wide of the mark after his initial effort was blocked back to him off both Balbuena and Pablo Zabaleta.
Four minutes later, the home side led. Martin's attempted pass to Balbuena was misplaced and Fleck pounced, gliding past the No4 to square for McBurnie, who found the back of the net, by sliding his shot just under the goalkeeper's dive.
The Hammers were struggling to get going again, and George Baldock was denied by a lunging block from Aaron Cresswell when he threatened to make it 2-0 from a quick break in the 64th minute.
Five minutes later Sebastien Haller turned home a Snodgrass free-kick, but was denied by an offside flag after straying beyond the last defender.
Martin had to show quick reflexes to deny Lys Mousset as the hosts looked to wrap it up, and they needed a fine save from their goalkeeper, Dean Henderson, to keep out a Manuel Lanzini free-kick 13 minutes from the end.
The same player forced another stop from Henderson by his near post, while Haller headed another Snodgrass free-kick over as time ran out, but the biggest frustration was saved for the final minute of stoppage time.
Snodgrass found the back of the net following brilliant work from Rice to progress to the edge of the box and lay-off, only for the VAR to rule the goal out for handball against the No41, as the ball was knocked against his arm by the home defender as he ran through.
Sheffield United: Henderson, Baldock, Egan, O'Connell, Basham, Stevens, Lundstram (Besic 70), Fleck, Norwood, McGoldrick (Mousset 60), McBurnie (Sharp 84)
Subs: Eastwood, Jagielka, Osborn, Robinson
Goal: McBurnie 54
West Ham United: Fabianski (Martin 15), Zabaleta, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku (Snodgrass 69), Rice, Noble, Lanzini (Fornals 84), Felipe Anderson, Haller
Subs: Ngakia, Diop, Cardoso, Bernardo Rosa
Referee: Michael Oliver