Brighton 3-1 West Ham: Seagulls produce second-half fightback to secure a top-half finish for Graham Potter’s men and end any hopes of Europa League qualification for the Hammers
- West Ham were beaten 3-1 away at Brighton on the Premier League’s final day
- Michail Antonio opened the scoring for the Hammers on the south coast
- But Joel Veltman netted the leveller for Graham Potter’s men in the 50th minute
- Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck then gave Brighton the win in the last 10
- The defeat means West Ham failed to leapfrog Man United up into sixth place
The chance was there. Win and West Ham would have finished sixth, securing another season of Europa League football and condemning Manchester United to the Europa Conference League.
So an enjoyable campaign ends on a sour note for David Moyes, mulling over what might have been. They led 1-0 at the break but surrendered the second half to lose 3-1.
Moyes did not mince his words. ‘If we’re going to play like that, we’re going to be challenging in a different part of the league,’ he said. ‘I won’t have them if they are going to play like that. No resilience, no toughness, nothing about us in that second half. They know I’m not happy. I’m feeling the missed opportunity. ‘
West Ham were beaten 3-1 away at Brighton on the final day of the Premier League season
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Brighton (3-4-2-1): Sanchez 6; Veltman 6, Dunk 6.5, Webster 6.5; March 6 (Lamptey 75, 6), Bissouma 6 (Maupay 45, 6.5), Caicedo 6.5 (Mwepu 79), Cucurella 7; Gross 7.5, Mac Allister 6.5; Welbeck 7
Subs (not used): Steele, Lallana, Alzate, Duffy, Offiah, Ferguson
Scorers: Veltman (50), Gross (80), Welbeck (90 + 2)
Manager: Graham Potter 7
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 5.5; Coufal 6 (Johnson 81), Dawson 5.5, Zouma 5.5, Cresswell 5.5; Soucek 5.5, Rice 6; Bowen 5.5, Lanzini 6 (Noble 81), Fornals 5.5 (Yarmolenko 81); Antonio 6
Subs (not used): Areola, Randolph, Fredericks, Masuaku, Kral, Oko-Flex
Scorers: Antonio (40)
Manager: David Moyes 5.5
Referee: Kevin Friend 6
Still, West Ham can look forward to a second season in a row of European football, albeit in the Europa Conference League.
This match also marked the farewell for Mark Noble (left) and there was a presentation before a ball was kicked with the retiring West Ham captain gifted a gong and bottle of champagne by Brighton. A nice touch from a nice club.
You would be mistaken for thinking that Brighton had nothing to play for. They turned up knowing they could finish as high as eighth or low as 14th, with the difference in prize money between those two positions an estimated £ 16million.
Michail Antonio initially fired the Hammers in front five minutes before the half-time break
When Man United fell a goal behind vs Crystal Palace, Antonio’s goal moved them into sixth
But defender Joel Veltman then brought the Seagulls level five minutes after the interval
Pascal Gross then gave Graham Potter’s men the lead with 10 minutes of play remaining
Manager Graham Potter said: ‘I’m really proud at 51 points and ninth in the league. To end up where we are is amazing. ‘
It was in the 37th minute that news broke that Manchester United were losing at Crystal Palace as the visiting supporters pumped up the volume. In the 40th, West Ham took the lead. Vladimir Coufal’s throw-in found Michail Antonio, who muscled off the opposition. As the ball settled, he swung a left foot at it, sumptuously finding the top corner. The away support was singing about ‘going on a European tour’ – in the Europa League if the results stayed the same.
But a lot can happen in football, as West Ham would learn. In the 50th minute it became 1-1 when Joel Veltman squirmed his shot under Lukasz Fabianski. Then 2-1 when Pascal Gross struck a sweet shot beyond the West Ham goalkeeper. Danny Welbeck completed the scoreline by heading home a corner in the 90th minute, summing up a sorry second half for West Ham.
Noble had been introduced for his final appearance, receiving a rousing reception. Not the way the club captain wanted his goodbye to go but he will still be able to watch his team in Europe next season.
Gross edging the Seagulls ahead left them on course for a top-half Premier League finish
There was even time for Danny Welbeck to get in on the act for them in stoppage time
West Ham blew a superb chance to leapfrog United and secure Europa League qualification