West Ham must be heartily sick of the sight of Brighton & Hove Albion. Looking to open a three-point advantage over Arsenal in the race for fourth place, they succumbed to a late equaliser from a team they have still not beaten in nine Premier League meetings.
Tomas Soucek’s first goal since the opening day of the season looked as it would be enough to net the three points until Neal Maupay, who missed two good chances in Saturday’s goalless draw against Leeds United, redeemed himself in spectacular fashion with an 89th-minute overhead kick.
West Ham have not won for three games, and while Brighton’s winless run stretched to nine matches, they will be delighted with their point after a torrid evening.
The first half was as predictable as could be. Brighton passed well but could not convert some decent chances, while West Ham had far less of the ball but did much more with it when the opportunities arose. As if looking to prove the point, Maupay twice exchanged passes with Yves Bissouma in a neat move after two minutes but shot wide.
But when West Ham got a chance, they made no mistake, and as might have been expected their goal came from a set play. What was surprising was that Brighton seemed unprepared for a delivery and an outcome that was almost identical to a goal that West Ham had scored in their 3-2 victory over Liverpool here. Pablo Fornals swung a corner kick from the left in towards the near post and Czech midfield player Soucek was completely unmarked, glancing his header past goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
Sanchez was lucky when his attempt to find a teammate with a pass was intercepted by Jarrod Bowen, whose attempt to catch the Spain goalkeeper off his line was well wide. And Sanchez had another let-off when Fornals hit the crossbar with a 15-yard volley after Michail Antonio had headed back a cross from Vladimir Coufal.
But Brighton could have levelled only for Lukasz Fabianski to block a shot from countryman Jakub Moder after Maupay’s clever pass through the defence. And then Lewis Dunk got clear of opponents from the ensuing corner only to head wide.
The opening of the second half was almost a re-run of the first. Brighton missed a chance as Dunk headed too close to Fabianski and then West Ham got the ball into the net from a corner. This time, though, VAR ruled that Antonio had been offside as Dawson’s touch had taken the ball past the flapping Sanchez.
Bowen’s ambitious run ended with a shot just wide as West Ham continued to threaten on the break. Declan Rice, with a shot, and Antonio, with a header, drew fine diving saves from Sanchez, and Brighton ended the game with 10 men after Lallana limped off with all substitutes used.
But it hardly seemed to matter when Maupay pulled them level from substitute Tariq Lamptey’s cross a minute from time. And Marc Cucurella preserved the point when chested a header by Kurt Zouma off the line.
Fabianski 7; Coufal 6, Dawson 7, Zouma 7, Johnson 7; Soucek 8, Rice 7; Bowen 7, Fornals 7 (Masuaku 77), Benrahma 6 (Lanzini 77); Antonio 7.
Sanchez 5; Veltman 6 (Lamptey 70), Webster 6 (Duffy 36, 6), Dunk 6, Cucurella 6; Moder 5, Bissouma 7; Sarmiento (March 13, 6), Lallana 7, Trossard 6; Maupay 6.
C Kavanagh 7.