West Ham United 2 Leeds United 3 16th January 2022

Hammers Lose Thrilling Match As Leeds Revenge Cup Exit at London Stadium

Hi everyone, hope you are all safe and well.

For my own personal life, things have only got worse regarding whether we are going to move from the hotel, definitely not anytime soon. The ongoing uncertainty is traumatic and exhausting in equal measure and it’s hard to motivate myself to keep fighting on. But we do and we will. Such situations are here to test us, and it is a real test, but we have our health and a lot more than other people, so we are grateful for the roof over our heads and the love and support of friends and family. So apologies for the huge delay in posting the photos from our last home game. I hope you can all understand.

But, to the match and you could sense the tension in the crowd as they filled the stadium before the match was about to start and the Hammers slow start did little to ease the nerves of the watching fans as Leeds came to claim revenge from their recent FA Cup exit at the London Stadium only a week before.

Jack Harrison scored his first career hat trick as Leeds secured their first back to back wins this Premier League this season, and the Hammers were left to look back on missed chances, especially a last gasp effort by Bowen to draw the match that flew over the bar leaving the crowd asking “Why didn’t he use his head?”

It was definitely a bad day at the office for the Hammers, who looked a different team from the one that took advantage of a toothless Leeds team to kick them out of the Cup only 7 days before.

Moyes rang the changes to his team to try and manage what is becoming a nightmare of a schedule after Premier League teams have taken advantage of being able to postpone matches due to COVID positive cases, although the jury is out as to whether there has not been some teams who have sought to benefit from a less busy festive period whilst players are injured or away on International duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. Leeds, with 2 games more to play, had time off whilst West Ham were made to play their fixture with Norwich only 4 days before hand. 4 games in just over 2 weeks for the Hammers. 

On 10 minutes, Leeds who had been threatening in the early stages, took the lead through Harrison’s first goal, but the Hammers recovered quickly and Bowen, who has been scoring for fun recently, evaded his marker at a corner to equalise on 34th minute. But this match had much more to it than that. 

Dominating the play and finding space from midfield to the flanks, Leeds were good for their second goal before the break. With much more possession it seemed inevitable that Leeds would make their dominance count and so it was for Harrison to slip to the back post, unmarked, to put them back on the front foot. The Hammers lacked any fluidity and threat and it was a relief for the Hammers to end the first half to try and regroup.

It wasn’t until the 52nd min that the Hammers found the net again with Fornals, scoring his first goal since November, as he wrong footed Illan Meslier, cutting in on his right to score a brilliant equaliser. There was more to this game again, entertaining for the neutral but nail bitting in equal measure for both sets of fans. Leeds sensed a result was possible and on 60th minute Harrison completed his hat trick as Raphina sliced open the Hammers defence with an excellent through ball that Harrison chipped over the on rushing Fabianski.

But could the Hammers at least rescue a draw? With growing purpose the Hammers began to push further forward with Vlasic and Fornals making way for Masuaku and Yarmolenko to see out the final 20mins of what was becoming a more frantic encounter. So, it was a final chance falling to in form Bowen who could only chest over a cross that should have been headed firmly into the Leeds net to salvage something from a match that had 2 goals ruled out for offside, one for each team, that raised Leeds to 15th place, whilst the Hammers hang precariously in 4th anxiously watching results of those teams around us. 

Hope you enjoy the photos from the match, take care everyone.

Dawud

Published by dawudmarsh

Photographer based in London.

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