West Ham 2-3 Leicester: Foxes seal first Premier League away win of the season
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 19/03/17 10:34am
Leicester picked up their first Premier League away win of the season with an entertaining 3-2 victory over West Ham on Saturday.
The Foxes, back in domestic action after their Champions League triumph. continued their markedly improved form under Craig Shakespeare at the London Stadium with early goals from Riyad Mahrez and Robert Huth seeing them on their way.
Manuel Lanzini pulled a goal back for West Ham in the 20th minute with a fantastic free-kick but Jamie Vardy restored the two-goal lead with seven minutes of the first half to play as he lashed home in the six-yard box.
West Ham dominated the game after Andre Ayew scored a second just after the hour mark, but some heroics from Kasper Schmeichel saw the Foxes hold on for all three points and a fourth consecutive win under Shakespeare.
The Premier League champions are six points and three spots clear of the relegation places while West Ham remain in 11th after a fifth league game in a row without victory.
Shakespeare made one change from the side that saw off Sevilla in midweek to reach the quarter-finals, and they stormed into the lead as Mahrez opened the scoring on five minutes. His cross-come-shot from the right flew past the waiting Vardy and Shinji Okazaki in the box before nestling in the bottom corner.
Two minutes later and Mahrez was involved again, passing to the unmarked Marc Albrighton at the top of the box after he had flicked a free-kick into the Algerian's path. A sublime first-touch cross into the box from the midfielder found the head of a leaping Huth, who powered the ball home.
The afternoon got worse for West Ham as they were forced into an early change as skipper Winston Reid pulled up with what looked like a hamstring strain in the 16th minute, with Robert Snodgrass coming on for the defender.
It did not seem to affect the Hammers as they pulled a goal back four minutes later. Danny Drinkwater fouled Michail Antonio around 20 yards out and up stepped Lanzini, who curled a pin-point free kick over the wall and into the top corner.
It was an open first half as both sides continued to see half chances, but it was Leicester who dealt the next blow before half-time. It was a classic poacher's goal from Vardy as Mahrez put a fine corner into the box, which fell to the feet of the England striker in the middle of a sea of players. He reacted quickly to fire the ball home from point-blank range.
The second half started at a slower pace and it took until the hour mark for either side to have a meaningful chance. Some fine vision from Mahrez picked out Vardy with a ball over the top, but Darren Randolph read the situation well to close the striker down, with Vardy's attempted chip going wide.
Three minutes later and West Ham once again pulled back a goal, which came from a corner after another fantastic Lanzini free-kick was punched away by Schmeichel. The Hammers winger delivered, finding the head of Andy Carroll at the back post who knocked the ball back across the box and Ayew was there to nod the ball home in the six-yard box.
From then on, the hosts dominated the game as they looked to take a point from the encounter, with Schmeichel getting down low at the back post in the 77th minute to keep out a Carroll header on the line with goal-line technology showing the ball was a few inches from going over.
Three minutes later and the Hammers had their best chance for an equaliser in the closing exchanges as Antonio twisted and turned through the Leicester defence before sliding Ayew through, but despite being one-on-one with the goalkeeper, the striker lashed at the ball to send it careering over the crossbar.
In the third of six additional minutes, Schmeichel was the saviour for the visitors as he denied Carroll once again. A Snodgrass free-kick ricocheted into his path but his shot was pushed away by the Leicester stopper as he ensured that the Foxes took all three points.
West Ham: Randolph (6), Byram (6), Fonte (5), Reid (n/a), Cresswell (6), Kouyate (6), Obiang (6), Antonio (7), Lanzini (7), Ayew (6), Carroll (7).
Subs used: Snodgrass (7), Fernandes (4), Masuaku (5).
Leicester: Schmeichel (8), Simpson (6), Huth (7), Benalouane (7), Fuchs (6), Mahrez (7), Ndidi (6), Drinkwater (7), Albrighton (7), Okazaki (6), Vardy (7).
Subs used: Chilwell (n/a), Musa (5), Slimani (5).
Man of the match: Kasper Schmeichel