West Ham United 2:3 Leicester City
A flying start, and a grimly determined finish, delivered City’s first away win of the season at West Ham on Saturday afternoon…
Craig Shakespeare made one change for City’s first trip to the London Stadium, with Benalouane in for Morgan, who injured his back against Sevilla.
And they got off to a great start, taking a 5th minute lead. Mahrez cut in from the right a swung in a cross that flew straight into the net, with Hammers keeper Randolph distracted by Okazaki’s attempted header.
Just two minutes later, the away end was celebrating again as City doubled their lead.
From a free-kick, Mahrez fed Albrighton on the edge of the area and his lofted flick found Huth on the six yard line, the German nodding home City’s second.
West Ham’s afternoon then got worse when Reid pulled up while running for the ball and had to be replaced by Snodgrass.
But the home side began to get into their stride and pulled a goal back in the 21st minute.
Drinkwater fouled Antonio 25 yards out for a West Ham free-kick. Lanzini got it over the wall and just inside the left hand post with an excellent strike that left Schmeichel rooted to the spot.
As West Ham pressed for an equaliser Antonio set up Ayew for a shot, which failed to hit the target. Then Antonio had a shot deflected into Schmeichel’s arms, before Carroll had a goal ruled out by the linesman’s flag.
Ayew then headed over when well placed, before City struck again in the 39th minute.
A Mahrez corner led to a scramble in the goalmouth, then Vardy seized on the loose ball lashing it into the roof of the net.
Although Lanzini sent a shot narrowly wide, City took a two goal cushion in at the break.
Early in the second half, Benalouane tried an ambitious free-kick from the halfway line, but didn’t catch Randolph out as he collected it under the bar.
A fine Mahrez ball then sent Vardy in on goal, but he was off balance and sent his shot wide.
The home side began to crank up the pressure again, and Schmeichel got down smartly to tip a Lanzini’s free kick round the post.
West Ham reduced City’s lead in the 63rd minute. A Lanzini corner from the left was nodded back by Carroll at the far post, and Ayew headed home from close in.
It left a long time to defend a single goal lead, but City, now looking tried after their midweek heroics, dug deep to cling on to their precious lead.
As West Ham piled on the pressure, Craig Shakespeare made a double change in the 76th minute – Musa and Slimani replacing Vardy and Okazaki.
A minute later Carroll’s far post header forced a brillaint save from Schmeichel.
Ayew then blasted over from close in, with an equaliser looking imminent. Drinkwater cleared a Kouyate effort off the line as play became frantic.
What looked like a dislocated finger for Benalouane, held up play for a while and seemed to take the impetus away from West Ham. But they still looked certain to level in the 90th minute when Carroll found himself with just Schmeichel to beat from close range.
City’s captain for the day spread himself well and blocked the shot with a fantastic save.
City weathered six minutes of time added on, to claim three points away for the first time in eleven months.
It was an immense performance from City and Craig Shakespeare commented: “There is no secret. I think hard work, commitment and endeavour, we showed all of them today, along with some good footballers. We scored the goals at the right time today. It gave us a foothold in the game. There is no secret. The hard work is paramount to success and we have to keep doing that.”
West Ham: Randolph, Byram, Fonte, Reid (Snodgrass 18), Cresswell (Masuaku 73), Kouyate, Obiang (Fernandes 67), Ayew, Lanzini, Antonio, Carroll. Subs Not Used: Nordtveit, Feghouli, Adrian, Collins.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Benalouane, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez (Chilwell 87), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton, Okazaki (Musa 76), Vardy (Slimani 76). Subs Not Used: King, Amartey, Zieler, Gray.
Referee: R East. Attendance: 56,979.
ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber
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THE FOX – THIRTY YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL HERE