Antonio returns with match-winning brace at Burnley
Burnley 1-2 West Ham United
Michail Antonio made a triumphant return to the West Ham United team at Burnley on Monday night, scoring twice in the first half to give his side a vital 2-1 victory.
The Hammers were bright throughout, but trailed early on to Chris Wood’s penalty and had to show admirable resilience to fight back almost instantly.
Antonio got on the end of crosses from Vladimír Coufal and Saïd Benrahma to turn the game around and give the Hammers the platform their play deserved.
The No30’s personal quest for a hat-trick was thwarted only by a number of near misses as West Ham looked to make the contest safe, and although they ultimately would not be able to add a third, his early brace proved enough to separate the sides.
The pattern of the game quickly became abundantly clear – Burnley would look to turn the Hammers at every opportunity by firing long to the twin targets of Wood and Matěj Vydra, and then play their football in the final third.
But just as though it seemed the visitors were getting the measure of their hosts, they struck from the penalty spot with 19 minutes on the clock.
It was a goal that bore all the hallmarks of their success. Wood beat Issa Diop to a lofted ball into the right hand channel, kept the ball in by the by-line, cut back inside and was felled by Tomáš Souček as he desperately tried to recover.
The penalty award was a simple one for referee Anthony Taylor to make, and Wood did the rest for his side, firing low and hard beyond Łukasz Fabiański’s dive.
West Ham were undeterred, though, and swiftly brought the scores back level.
Less than two minutes after Wood’s opener, the visitors worked their way into an advanced position down the right, Jesse Lingard set the ball back for Coufal, and Antonio made sure he would get on the end of the Czech’s cross, muscling past Matt Lowton to thump a header home.
Eight minutes later it got even better for the Hammers. Burnley were struggling to deal with the visitors’ attacking quartet, with Lingard, Pablo Fornals and Saïd Benrahma all interchanging nicely in support of Antonio.
It was Benrahma who played the decisive part in creating Antonio’s second, cutting onto his right foot in the left channel, and delivering a wicked cross that the No30 glanced past a helpless Nick Pope.
Mere minutes later, it was so nearly 3-1, as Benrahma again popped up on the left hand side, and this time looked for the far corner with his right-footed effort. The shot curled inches past both the post and Antonio’s slide in the middle.
West Ham were purring, but Burnley still possessed a more sporadic threat themselves, and Vydra created a sight of goal for himself before the break, getting the better of Diop as he entered the box and heading over Fabiański, but Dawson was perfectly positioned to nod off the line.
The Hammers were back on the front foot at the start of the second period and could have doubled their advantage seven minutes after the restart.
Antonio was unfortunate not to complete his hat-trick, having got on the end of Fornals’ cross-shot six yards from goal. His touch took the ball into his other leg, though, inadvertently blocking its route to goal.
West Ham kept pushing for the third – and Burnley’s goal led a charmed life at times – but they still came close to a leveller midway through the half.
Issa Diop nodded Charlie Taylor’s cross clear, but it dropped for Josh Brownhill inside the box. His drive was well saved by Fabiański, but Jay Rodriguez pounced, seeing Coufal block his first effort, then somehow slicing wide.
That would prove to be the hosts’ last clear chance as the Hammers took up their search at the other end once again.
Antonio fired inches wide, while Pope saved well from Lingard after his late effort took a nick off Ben Mee, and although David Moyes' men could not add to their tally in the end, they had done enough.
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor, Brownhill, Cork, Westwood, McNeil (Gudmundsson 75), Wood (Barnes 85), Vydra (Rodriguez 61)
Subs: Peacock-Farrell (GK), Norris (GK), Pieters, Bardsley, Stephens, Dunne
Goal: Wood pen 19
Booked: Mee, Gudmundsson
West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Cresswell, Souček, Lanzini, Fornals, Lingard, Benrahma (Bowen 78), Antonio
Subs: Randolph (GK), Trott (GK), Fredericks, Johnson, Alves, Balbuena, Coventry, Odubeko
Goals: Antonio 21, 29
Referee: Anthony Taylor