Slaven Bilic was sent off for smashing a microphone angrily at the ground as West Brom snatched a late draw at the London stadium.
The passionate Croatian was left frustrated with referee Michael Oliver and his officials.
West Brom took the lead through former Spurs man Nacer Chadli in the sixth minute. Bilic was furious as he felt Sofiane Feghouli had been fouled by Chris Brunt in the build-up. The Baggies captain appeared to have nailed the West Ham winger before the ball fell at the feet of Chadli, who nutmegged Cheikhou Kouyate in the box and fired a shot through the legs of keeper Darren Randolph. A gift for West Brom who took full advantage of the Hammers’ school-boy defending.
A physical battle is what you expect from any Tony Pulis side as this proved the case once more. Robert Snodgrass was bundled over 25 yards from goal by two Baggies players. Snodgrass bent in a Payet-like free kick, only for Ben Foster to pull off a late finger tip save.
West Brom countered and target man Solomon Rondon rattled the crossbar moments later up the other end of the pitch. West Ham fans were starting to think this could be a repeat of September’s 4-2 defeat at the Hawthorns.
Bilic became even angrier at the ref for ruling out what he felt was a legitimate equaliser from Feghouli nine minutes later. Another teasing set piece ball into the box from Snodgrass fell to Manuel Lanzini whose shot was touched in by Feghouli only to be chalked off. Hammers players surrounded Michael Oliver which led to West Ham’s assistant boss Jurcevic charging halfway down the touchline arguing with Oliver’s assistant. He was sent to the stands for his actions. Replays showed Michail Antonio was running back from an offside position. Craig Dawson was down inside the six yard box and a push on Ben Foster from Antonio was enough for the ref to disallow the goal.
Pulis’s negative tactics were beginning to frustrate Bilic’s men. An early second-half sub seeing goalscorer Chandli coming off for centre back Jonny Evans summed things up.
West Ham had themselves replaced defender Aaron Cresswell for Striker Jonathon Calleri and their persistace finally paid off in the 63rd min as Feghouli did this time get on the scoresheet against this resilient West Brom team. A fine bit of footwork from my man of the match Manuel Lanzini as he created space for a shot that was too powerful for the West Brom keeper, who did get a hand to it, tipping it onto the bar only for the rebound to land at the feet of Feghouli who tapped home.
Lanzini, like the fifty-six thousand fans at the London Stadium, must have thought he had won the game in the 86th min, when his fantastic 25-yard strike beat the flat-footed keeper to complete the. turnaround. You could see the relief in Slaven Bilic’s face as he felt the officials got all the decisions wrong against the Hammers – not only was this a win over West Brom but Michael Oliver and his men also.
Manuel Lanzini since Payet has left:
Starts – 4
Goals – 2
Assists – 3
— West Ham Transfers (@westhamtransfer) February 11, 2017
But Slav was yet again was left furious as he felt the ball hit the legs of West Brom defender Gareth McCauley as the ball went out for a throw-in in the 94th min. As a result from this throw West Brom won a corner. Set-piece specialists West Brom took their chance and an inswinging ball into the box caused mayhem with what appeared to be Jonny Evans rising highest to head the ball home. The goal ended up being credited to team-mate Gareth McCauley as he claimed he got the last touch.
West Ham boss Bilic was pointing his finger angrily towards ref Oliver. He couldn’t believe the day he was having – foul for the opener, a disallowed goal and then to concede with the last touch off the ball and throw away two points. To top it all off, when the late equaliser went in Slav couldn’t control his anger anymore. He picked up the television microphone and smashed it on the ground in front of him. Michael Oliver had seen enough, sending Bilic off and blowing the whistle for the end of the match.
Another draw between these two sides which for West Ham felt like a loss, with West Brom continuing their good run of form, though all in all a point is a good result for the Hammers as they sit 10th in the table. West Ham’s Andy Carroll missed the game with a groin problem – a big shame for him as England boss Gareth Southgate was hoping to cast an eye over the in-form Geordie.
Bilic played with no recognised striker, with Michail Antonio, Manual Lanzini and Robert Snodgrass doing there best to fill the void, Kouyate filled in at right back again as Sam Byram is not yet fully fit, although he was on the bench. Another poor performance from Cresswell as he was pulled off at half-time. Obiang had a quiet game after impressing last week.
Captain Mark Noble looked well off the pace and not for the first time this season!
My man of the match goes to Lanzini who has stepped up since the departure of Dimitri Payet. Two goals and three assists in four starts for the little Argentine,who was head and shoulders above the rest.
My West Ham player ratings:
Randolph 5, Kouyate 6, Fonte 6, Reid 6, Cresswell 4, Noble (c) 5, Feghouli 7, Obiang 6, Lanzini (MOTM) 8, Snodgrass 7, Antonio 7. Subs: Calleri (on 45th min) 6, Fernandes (on 87th min) 5, Collins (on 90th min) 5.
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