Woeful West Ham stay rock bottom after Wolves earn deserved win
PUBLISHED: 17:13 01 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 01 September 2018
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The Hammers crash to fourth straight defeat as Wolves grab late winner
West Ham United 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
The Hammers early-season nightmare continued at London Stadium, where Wolves pounced in stoppage time to leave stunned Manuel Pellegrini still looking for his first points of the campaign.
Both teams came into their fourth match of the season, searching for their first Premier League win but just when it looked like the goalkeepers had won the day with a string of defiant stops, substitute Adama Traoré fired newly-promoted Wanderers to a late, late victory to leave everyone Claret & Blue wondering just what is needed to get those first points on the board.
While West Ham had secured their first win on Pellegrini’s watch in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening with a hard-fought win at AFC Wimbledon, the Chilean had made sweeping changes with only Aaron Cresswell, Issa Diop and Robert Snodgrass retaining their jerseys.
Kicking off in the glorious September sunshine, West Ham certainly wasted no time testing Rui Patricio as Felipe Anderson let fly with an early, low 20-yarder that the Wolves’ ‘keeper found too hot to handle but the supporting Marko Arnautović saw his follow-up hacked clear.
Wanderers had also enjoyed Carabao Cup success in midweek with victory at Sheffield Wednesday and Nuno Espirito Santo also made wholesale personnel switches as only captain Conor Coady and Matt Doherty held onto their starting spots.
And after Raúl Jimenez and João Moutinho fired wayward long-range efforts towards the Hammers goal, Doherty was much more accurate with his rising 20-yarder that Lukasz Fabianski clawed out from under his left-hand angle with just ten minutes on the clock.
Both sets of supporters were in full voice after seeing their teams get off to encouraging starts, but neither side could maintain that momentum over a wretched passage of play that saw each team yield up possession far too cheaply, while Ryan Fredericks also collected a booking midway through the first-half for an ill-timed lunge on Diogo Jota.
On the half-hour mark, Snodgrass ripped an ambitious, angled effort into the side-netting and, when willy Boly dragged down Anderson five minutes later, the Scottish wide-boy saw his 25-yard free-kick deflect off the Wolves wall for the Hammers first corner of the afternoon.
At the other end, Jota – under pressure from Fabián Balbuena – nodded Moutinho’s right-wing cross over the top from close-range, while Michael Antonio also steered a late header wide, but, by the time referee Christopher Kavanagh called time on the first 45 minutes, a contest that had started with so much promise had simply fizzled out into an error-strewn opening half.
Pellegrini replaced Snodgrass with Andriy Yarmolenko for the restart and the Ukrainian soon forced a corner, which Balbuena headed downwards and wide before Jack Wilshere waltzed into the Wolves area, where Arnautović was ambushed at the expense of another flag-kick.
With the hour-mark approaching, Antonio’s looping, angled header was palmed out from under the left angle by Patricio and, when Cresswell was booked for felling Doherty, Fabianski also had to be at his best to deny Jiménez, who met Moutinho’s inch-perfect free-kick with a powerful nod down.
Pedro Obiang stepped from the bench to replace Wilshere, while Wanderers also freshened it up with the introductions of Traoré and Léo Bonatini, who almost marked his arrival with the opener but Fabianski produced another fine stop to deny the Brazilian substitute.
Javier Hernández also entered the fray in place of Antonio and, with 10 minutes remaining, the unmarked Jiménez should have broken the deadlock but he only succeeded in tackling himself six yards out.
Obiang also sent a low 25-yarder just an inch or so wide of the left post and, with the contest entering its final ten minutes, the brave, albeit oblivious, Patricio felt the full force of an Arnautović scorcher, which roared into his face, while Fabianski also thwarted both Doherty and Traoré.
But just when it looked as though those two goalkeepers had won the day, in stoppage time, Carlos Sanchez was robbed in midfield and when the ball was worked to Bonatini, the Brazilian patiently played in the overlapping Traoré, who fired a low, angled 10-yarder past the helplessly exposed Fabianski.
HAMMERS: Fabianski, Fredericks, Cresswell, Diop, Balbuena, Wilshere (Obiang 63), Sánchez, Snodgrass (Yarmolenko h/t), Antonio (Hernández 75), Anderson, Arnautović. Unused subs: Adrián, Zabaleta, Noble, Rice.
WOLVES: Patricio, Doherty, Jonny, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Moutinho, Neves, Jota (Traoré 61), Costa (Bonatini 72), Jiménez (Vinagre 87). Unused subs: Ruddy, Gibbs-White, Saïss, Hause.
Booked: Fredericks (24), Cresswell (60), Bennett (79).
Referee: Christopher Kavanagh.