Match Report: West Ham United vs Huddersfield Town: Premier League Match Day Four 12th September 2017
A fluky effort from Pedro Obiang and a late Andre Ayew poach proved enough to ease the pressure on Slaven Bilic in Stratford last night, as we picked up our first points of the Premier League campaign against David Wagner’s men.
Bilic opted for an experimental five at the back formation for his must-win mission, and it would succeed in keeping an in-form Huddersfield Town side from creating anything in the way of clear-cut chances for the entirety of the match.
The line-up also included an aggressive front line of Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll on his return from injury and Javier Hernandez.
But, the club were still without the likes of suspended Marko Arnautovic, injured skipper Mark Noble, Manuel Lanzini and Edimilson Fernandes.
Whereas the visitors came to East London on a wave of momentum having taken seven points from a possible nine and not conceding a single goal in the process.
David Wagner made no changes to the side that were held at home by The Saints at The John Smiths’ Stadium before the International Break.
There would be frustration in the first-half for our attacking side with a wealth of missed chances in front of goal. But, in the second period, although the standard of play had dropped considerably, we were far more clinical in the box to lift us off 20th place.
The game started, in front of a capacity London Stadium crowd, with immediate goalmouth action as Andy Carroll’s flashed cross fell just inches from the boot of Cheikhou Kouyate for a tap in.
The frustration continued as the half progressed in our first home game of the season after Stratford hosted The World Athletics Championships throughout the summer.
Michail Antonio’s incredible surging run and cross fell to Hernandez in the box with a simple chance, only for the Mexican to strike his effort against the bar in the driving rain.
However, at the other end, Philip Billing warmed the gloves of Joe Hart with a low drive that the England No1 dealt with well.
The early part of the second period would prove tough for Bilic’s Boys as the visitors dug in for a draw, but the deadlock was finally broken with around 20 minutes remaining.
Brilliant control from Cheikhou Kouyate on the right allowed a simple pass to be played to substitute Andre Ayew, his lay off would set up Pedro Obiang for an effort.
The Spaniard’s powerful shot looped off the back of Mathias Jorgensen, high over the head of Jonas Lossl and into the back of the net via the post, the goal being controversially awarded to Obiang.
Nevertheless, a goal is a goal and it would be two just moments later, as Jose Fonte’s blocked effort from a corner fell to Ayew to stab home from close-range for his eighth notch in Claret & Blue.
However, there easily could have been a sting in the tail to deny Hart a second clean sheet in three games, but Tom Ince’s deflected shot rattled the bar in the closing stages.
Defeat for The Terriers came with their first ever goals conceded in the Premier League and a drop of three places to sixth, they will welcome Leicester City to Yorkshire next weekend.
But for us, a first win of the season means a climb of two places to eighteenth as the entirety of the Claret & Blue Army breathed a collective sigh of relief at about 10 PM last night.
However, triumph over Huddersfield was only ever going to be about one man. On an evening that could have so easily brought Birthday Blues for Bilic, instead, there would have been celebrations in style.
Nevertheless, many still believe that the Croat is not out of the woods yet in terms of job security, with so much still resting on Saturday’s trip to The Hawthorns to face The Baggies.
Man of the Match: Michail Antonio