Arnautovic at the double as West Ham hit back to draw with Brighton

Pascal Gross fires in a shot. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Pascal Gross fires in a shot. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton & Hove Albion were dealt a hammer blow at the London Stadium as Marko Arnautovic rescued a point for West Ham in a 2-2 draw, despite Albion having taken a two-goal lead, reports James Wootton.

Albion boss Chris Hughton made one change to the side that beat Everton last weekend with top scorer Glenn Murray starting in place of Florin Andone. Anthony Knockaert, who was completely omitted from the 18-man squad against Everton, regained his place on the bench ahead of Victor Gyokeres, who was an unused substitute against the Toffees.

Having won their previous three Premier League games against the Hammers, Albion started brightly with some early possession resulting in a shot from Locadia which was blocked and a Shane Duffy header caught by Fabianski.

West Ham had relatively little going forward in the opening 20 minutes, much to the frustration of those in attendance, but the Hammers did force Button into a few saves. After a poor clearance from Montoya saw the ball land at the feet of Anderson but his tame shot was comfortably held by the Albion keeper.

The pressure continued to build in favour of the home side as Arnautovic saw his curling shot from 20 yards well saved by Button, denying the Austrian his first goal since the start of November.

West Ham had a claim for a penalty shortly before half time as Arnautovic was bundled over by Dunk in the penalty area but referee Chris Kavanagh waved away the Hammers’ appeals.

West Ham started the second half as they ended the first, on the attack. In the 50th minute Anderson picked up the ball in the Albion half and drove forward before firing his shot inches past the post.

Albion took the lead in the 56th minute after Gross’ corner was punched out by Fabianski only to fall at the feet of Dale Stephens who lashed his shot left-footed into the West Ham net, for his first ever Premier League goal.

Moments later Gross almost doubled Brighton’s advantage with a low shot forcing Fabianski to turn the ball past his post.

From that corner, the German’s delivery found Shane Duffy at the back post who rifled his shot into the roof of the net to give Albion a 2-0 lead in the 58th minute, his fourth goal of the season.

West Ham pulled a goal back in the 66th minute after Mark Noble’s long ball found Marko Arnautovic who held off Lewis Dunk and coolly slotted through the legs of Button to give the Hammers hope.

Arnautovic then dealt Albion another blow moments later after good work from Antonio down the wing, the ball fell to the Austrian who had time and space in the box to pick his spot as his effort bounced off the bar and into the back of the net. There was question of whether the ball had gone out of play when Antonio picked out the West Ham forward.

Antonio had a chance to fire West Ham in front in the 80th minute. Having done all the hard work squeezing between Bong and Locadia, he fired his shot miles over the bar, a let off for the Albion.

Declan Rice also came close when his shot smashed against the side netting, with fans on the other side of the ground thinking the ball had gone in but the game finished 2-2.

West Ham: Fabianksi, Zabaleta, Ogbonna, Diop, Cresswell, Rice, Obiang (Noble, 63), Snodgrass (Antonio, 63), Anderson, Arnautovic, Carroll (Perez, 45). Unused: Adrian, Masuaku, Nasri, Diangana.

Brighton: Button, Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo (Bong, 74), Stephens, Propper, Gross, March, Murray (Andone, 81), Locadia. Unused: Steele, Balogun, Kayal, Bissouma, Knockaert.

Referee: Christopher Kavanagh

Attendance: 59,870

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