Sunday, 2 October 2016

Payet moment of magic lights up dour draw at London Stadium

West Ham 1-1 Middlesbrough

A brilliant piece of individual skill from Dimitri Payet to bring West Ham level lite up a game of dour endeavour.

The home side fell behind in the 50th minute, having conceded a corner when West Ham keeper Adrian blocked out striker Jordon Rhodes.

The resulting corner was met by CristhianStuani, whose header was judged by referee Neil Swarbrick to have crossed the line, despite Mark Noble’s efforts to clear.

It was a mere six minutes later when the Payet magic show ensued, He received a long ball on the left from Winston Reid, the French international then moved inside cutting his way across the penalty area, beating four men in the process, before finishing the move exquisitely knocking the ball past the keeper.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic described the goal as “a brilliant moment of magic” but was dismayed that with half an hour of the game still to go, his side did not go on and take all three points.

Bilic described himself as being happy with the result “having gone four games in the Premier League without getting anything.”

The manager was pleased that his side played more as a team for the whole 90 minutes but that is the minimum he expected..”it was not enough in the Premier league.”

“The team did what I asked them today, they came out and worked hard,” said Bilic.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka was pleased with the point after his side lost their last three games against Everton, Spurs and Crystal Palace. “The point was good, though we needed to be a bit calmer after we scored,” said Karanka.

West Ham certainly looked the more likely winners given the amount of possession they had for much of the match.

Bilic rang the changes, initially playing Michail Antonio through the middle as the main striker, Simone Zaza came on in the second half.

Both Payet and Noble came close in the first half, with the latter seeing his powerful shot from the edge of the area hitting the bar and bouncing out.

West Ham can feel pleased that they stopped the rot with this result though they really should have taken all three points. There is still much to be done both on and off the pitch at the London stadium. At this game there were some chants of we want to go home.

A chant that no doubt grew louder with the latest transport debacle that saw the gates at Stratford station shut leaving thousands of fans looking for other ways to get home.

The London Stadium experiences is still undergoing many teething problems and really does need some urgent streamlining.

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