West Ham 1-0 Swansea: Substitute Diafra Sakho scores vital late winner
By James Kilpatrick
Last Updated: 30/09/17 7:49pm
Diafra Sakho scored a late winner to lift West Ham out of the relegation zone and condemned Swansea to another late loss.
West Ham's two substitutes Arthur Masuaku and Sakho combined for the Senegal international to convert a low cross to hand the hosts a crucial victory.
Swansea, who were strong defensively throughout the match, will feel hard done by after conceding another last minute winner, but the result means West Ham jump up to 15th in the table, with the visitors dropping into the relegation zone in 17th.
The contest started in an open fashion with both keen to set the tempo early. Michail Antonio had the game's first chance as he slammed a volley into the ground which Lukas Fabianski did well to parry away. Ten minutes later, and Wilfried Bony's driven shot from outside the box was strongly punched clear by Joe Hart.
West Ham: Hart (6), Reid (5), Cresswell (6), Fonte (6), Zabaleta (6), Kouyate (6), Noble (5), Antonio (6), Ayew (6), Chicharito (6), Carroll (7)
Subs: Masuaku (8), Lanzini (7), Sakho (8)
Swansea: Fabianski (7), Mawson (8), Fernandez (6), Naughton (5), Olsson (6), Britton (5), Carroll (5), Sanches (5), Abraham (6), Ayew (6), Bony (6)
Subs: Fer (6), Mesa (6), Clucas (N/A)
Man of the match: Alfie Mawson
Swansea's Renato Sanches got himself into hot water after he raised his studs in a late challenge on Aaron Cresswell, forcing referee Roger East to issue a yellow card. Otherwise, it was a slow half with plenty of sloppy play evident from both teams.
West Ham came out a revitalised side in the second-half and nearly took the lead seven minutes in as Antonio's dangerous ball was aimed at the back post for Andy Carroll, but he couldn't quite make the connection.
The game entered a very scrappy period until Martin Olsson came close for Swansea with a curled effort from outside the box which went agonisingly wide of Hart's left post.
Manuel Lanzini returned to the bench for West Ham while there was a starting spot for Michail Antonio.
James Collins (ankle) and Pedro Obiang (muscle injury) were the only absentees.
Paul Clement turned to skipper Leon Britton. Renato Sanches and Tammy Abraham returned to the starting lineup.
West Ham continually pushed to break open the deadlock, with plenty of long balls up to Carroll, but Alfie Mawson did extremely well all afternoon to contain their target man. Carroll did hit the woodwork in the 85th minute with a first-time shot following Masuaku's cross in what was arguably their closest chance in the match.
But substitute Sakho would produce the heroics in the 89th minute. Masuaku went on a fine run down the left flank, driving past Kyle Naughton, before playing a lethal ball across the goalmouth for the Senegal forward to tap in and give West Ham their second victory of the season.
- This game produced a total of just 15 shots; only Burnley v Huddersfield on September 23rd saw fewer in the top-flight this season (13).
- West Ham have registered three clean sheets in their last four Premier League games, after managing none in the five before that.
- Swansea have still never kept an away clean sheet at West Ham, conceding 75 goals in 32 games in all competitions, stretching back to an FA Cup match in 1922 (W2 D7 L23).
- The Swans conceded their first away Premier League goal in 495 minutes of action, since Wayne Rooney scored for Man Utd against the Swans on April 30th.
The pundit - Paul Merson
"I think it has saved Bilic's job, yes. I thought with ten minutes to go that he could go. It was the performance.
"Then he made the substitutions. He brought off Hernandez and the crowd went mad. But it went to plan, as the two subs worked a treat. Swansea don't get the ball forward quick enough. Their one shot was from 25 yards."
Man of the Match - Alfie Mawson
Although he was on the losing side, Alfie Mawson produced a confident performance at centre back and did an excellent job of containing Andy Carroll, who was arguably one of West Ham's most dangerous players throughout the 90 minutes.
He successfully beat Carroll to a number of crucial headers and was positionally aware throughout the game. The 23-year-old was unlucky to be on the losing side.
Slaven Bilic: "It's all about the squad and it showed today because the substitutes made a huge impact.
"We started well and on the front foot, but after that they had much more of the ball and we were losing it with simple passes. It drains the confidence out of the players.
"We are under pressure and the players feel it but at least we showed the determination, character and teamwork and that's what gave us the three points today."
Paul Clement: "We're clearly frustrated to concede a goal in the last minute. Over the course of the game we were very much in it and we were the better side, particularly in the first half when we had good control of the game and got the ball forward in the attacking third.
"What was missing for us was the first and second bit of quality that you needed to convert good opportunities."
West Ham travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley in the Premier League next weekend. Swansea, meanwhile, play Huddersfield at home on the same day.
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