West Ham come from behind to defeat relegated West Brom and close in on Europa League spot

West Brom 1-3 West Ham: Hawthorns comeback ensures the Hammers will finish sixth and secure Europa League qualification if they avoid defeat by Southampton on the final day

Nick Mashiter
Wednesday 19 May 2021 22:58 BST
Michail Antonio sealed West Ham’s comeback in the 88th minute
Michail Antonio sealed West Ham’s comeback in the 88th minute (Getty Images)

West Ham United’s late show put them on the brink of European qualification as they came from behind to beat West Brom 3-1.

The Hammers go into their final game of the season against Southampton knowing a point will confirm a Europa League spot, while the Baggies announced after the game that head coach Sam Allardycewill step down at the end of the season.

Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat by Aston Villa handed West Ham the advantage, yet they needed to come from behind at The Hawthorns after Declan Rice missed a third-minute penalty and Tomas Soucek scored an own goal.

Midfielder Soucek levelled before the break, with Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio striking late to win it.

David Moyes’ side are sixth in the Premier League, three points ahead of Spurs and Everton, following a remarkable turnaround after they finished 16th and survived by five points last season.

Survival is something Albion can only dream of having already been relegated earlier this month.

Albion supporters, 5,371 of them, at least got to see their side in the Premier League after returning to The Hawthorns for the first time since last March but were silenced just 36 seconds in when the Baggies conceded a penalty.

Antonio latched onto Semi Ajayi’s wretched back pass and was brought down by Sam Johnstone as he went to round the goalkeeper.

Rice stepped up but smashed the spot kick against the base of a post.

Despite the miss the Hammers remained bright, even if they lacked cutting edge, and Johnstone tipped Said Benrahma’s drive from distance over the crossbar.

Declan Rice hit the post with a first-half penalty
Declan Rice hit the post with a first-half penalty (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Albion, having lost 2-1 to Liverpool after Alisson’s stoppage-time winner on Sunday, again battled well but lacked any punch up front.

Matheus Pereira shot wide and the Hammers looked comfortable against their hard-working yet limited hosts until the Baggies grabbed a slice of luck after 27 minutes.

Darren Randolph – a late change after Lukasz Fabianski pulled out of the warm-up – came for Pereira’s near-post corner but Soucek flicked it over the goalkeeper and into his own net.

It was the good fortune which Allardyce believes had deserted his side this season but comes too late to save them from the drop.

Randolph partly redeemed himself with a superb save to turn Pereira’s sharp drive over 10 minutes before the break.

Having fallen behind West Ham were subdued but they rallied, with Soucek shooting over and Jesse Lingard testing Johnstone before levelling in first-half stoppage time.

This time Soucek made an impact at the right end when he tapped in Benrahma’s cross from close range after Kyle Bartley failed to clear Pablo Fornals’ centre.

However, rather than lift the Hammers in their race for Europe, they initially struggled for momentum after the break and Randolph needed to smother from Ajayi to stop the hosts regaining the lead.

Slowly, though, Moyes’ side began to assert their authority and Soucek flashed a header across goal before Aaron Cresswell almost caught the Baggies cold after 64 minutes.

Okay Yokuslu brought down Antonio 35 yards out and, with Johnstone expecting a cross, Cresswell whipped the ball over the wall and hit the outside of a post with the goalkeeper beaten.

Pereira dragged wide following a quick Albion break but the Hammers finished strongly and struck twice late on.

Ogbonna headed in Cresswell’s corner with eight minutes left and Antonio added a third two minutes from time after catching the Baggies on the break.


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