Sport Soccer

Saturday 15 December 2018

First point for West Ham under Moyes after draw with Leicester

Cheikhou Kouyate, left, scored just before the break to earn a point for West Ham
Cheikhou Kouyate, left, scored just before the break to earn a point for West Ham

West Ham secured their first point under David Moyes as Cheikhou Kouyate's header earned a 1-1 draw with Leicester.

Things were looking bleak for new boss Moyes and the Hammers when Marc Albrighton gave Leicester the lead after only eight minutes.

But Kouyate struck just before half-time to lift spirits around the London Stadium following their dreadful start to the season.

A point was not enough to haul West Ham out of the Premier League relegation zone, but a vastly improved display at least offered some hope that they can climb away from trouble.

It also eased the growing tension around the club, after away fans turned on the board and the players during last weekend's listless defeat at Watford.

Life was not looking so rosy when t he Foxes took the lead with their first attack, Jamie Vardy escaping down the left and pinging a low cross into the area.

Angelo Ogbonna made a complete hash of his attempted clearance allowing Albrighton a simple finish from six yards.

Conceding the opening goal has usually been the signal for West Ham heads to drop this season.

But instead they went on the attack and Ogbonna came close to making immediate amends for his error.

The defender got the faintest of touches to Manuel Lanzini's free-kick, but Kasper Schmeichel was able to scoop his header clear.

Lanzini then led a three on two charge but chose the wrong option and the chance disappeared, before Kouyate headed Aaron Cresswell's cross wide.

Leicester, as usual, looked dangerous on the break and Riyad Mahrez had a shot saved by Joe Hart before Vardy curled narrowly off target.

But on the stroke of half-time West Ham made their pressure count.

Their much-maligned record signing Marko Arnautovic, who answered Moyes' calls to improve his work-rate , floated in a dangerous cross towards Andy Carroll which Danny Simpson was forced to head behind.

From Lanzini's corner, Kouyate got his head to the ball and a couple of deflections later it was on its way past Schmeichel and into the net.

After the interval Arnautovic headed Lanzini's cross over before substitute Andre Ayew claimed he was tripped on the edge of the area by Harry Maguire.

Referee Martin Atkinson took no notice, but he could have been forgiven for booking the Hammers striker for what appeared a blatant dive.

A nervous last few minutes had to be endured as Leicester pressed for a winner, but for once the leakiest defence in the division held firm.

And Ayew had a chance to win it in stoppage time with an overhead kick which flew just over.

Instead they had to be content with a point, but for Moyes and West Ham it felt like a small step in the right direction.

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