Match Reports

Report | Town 1-2 West Ham


Town 1 Andersen 90+2

West Ham United 2 Bowen 37, Zouma 85

The Town battled hard but came up short as Kenilworth Road’s Premier League debut ended in defeat, with West Ham maintaining their unbeaten start to the season and running out 2-1 winners.

Despite the loss, one thing is certain, Premier League sides will not enjoy coming to the new-look Kenilworth Road, which was rocking during its first appearance in the top-flight since April 1992.

And a late Mads Andersen goal - their first at home against the Hammers since Scott Oakes’ famous FA Cup hat-trick in 1994 – was the absolute least the passionate Town faithful deserved.

Unfortunately, it was a double-header which sank the Hatters as Jarrod Bowen and Kurt Zouma both headed home goals to allow their side to escape with all three points.

Rob Edwards made seven changes from the side that earned the Town their first victory of the season on Tuesday night against Gillingham. Last season’s top scorer Carlton Morris returned to captain the Hatters in the absence of Tom Lockyer, while Alfie Doughty retained his place in the starting line-up having scored a wonderful goal against the Gills.

The Kenny was deafening prior to proceedings and the players responded on the pitch, as Ross Barkley fired the first shot of the contest wide after just two minutes.

Some big challenges came in from the Hatters players as they reminded their visitors of where exactly they were, and this appeared to rattle David Moyes’ side, who struggled to keep hold of the ball during the first ten minutes.

The contest was evenly poised halfway through the first half. A combination of Reece Burke and Doughty worked tirelessly to deal with the threat of Said Benrahma down the left-hand side, which appeared to be Moyes’ chosen method of attack up until this point.

They threatened down this side once again in the 28th minute as Michail Antonio linked up well with West Ham’s Algerian international winger, but this time it was Marvelous Nakamba who got back to make the tackle.

From this point the Hammers began to take control of the game, and their persistence was rewarded in the 37th minute when Bowen found space between Amari’i Bell and Ryan Giles inside the box and headed home Lucas Paqueta’s wicked cross. Thomas Kaminski did get a hand to it, but the pace of the ball made it too tricky to keep out.

Town responded brilliantly to the setback, creating a flurry of chances before half-time. They were almost level instantly in the 39th minute when Morris found his strike partner Elijah Adebayo in the box, however the 25-year-old could only fire over.

Not long after, summer signing Giles showed blistering pace to glide past Bowen on the left-hand side and deliver a fantastic cross, which was met by Morris and headed agonisingly over.

At half-time, despite being behind, it was the home support winning the battle in the stands, proving that it will be a challenge to find a noisier atmosphere anywhere across the Premier League all season.

Early in the second half, Antonio laid the ball into the path of Emerson who fired home from the left-hand side of the penalty area, however, after a quick VAR check – the first at Kenilworth Road – the goal was ruled out for an offside in the build-up.

Two big chances fell for either side just before the hour mark, as Bell had the ball nicked off him by James Ward-Prowse, who fired a delivery into the path of Benrahma, whose shot was blocked by Burke on the line.

Then it was Luton’s turn to go close, as Adebayo tried to latch onto a ball at the back-post, but the former Fulham man just couldn’t quite sort his feet out and the chance went begging.

The ever-present Benrahma almost doubled the visitor’s lead in the 63rd minute, but saw his shot saved by Kaminski.

Town’s shot-stopper was called into action once again seven minutes later and did superbly to rush out and smother the on-rushing Bowen, and although the forward was offside, the Belgian would not have known.

However, he could only stand and watch in the 85th minute, as defender Zouma seemingly put the game out of reach, heading home Ward-Prowse’s corner off the post and in.

To many, at this point, the match seemed a forgone conclusion, yet Town demonstrated the resilience which got them to the Premier League in the first place and grabbed their first home goal of the season during stoppage time.

Bell played a long ball forward which was headed on by Morris, and then diverted goalward by Andersen. It set up a grandstand finish, but a late, late leveller was not to come.

Nonetheless, it was the home support singing the loudest after the final whistle as their side showed plenty of fight and potential for the season ahead.

Town: Kaminski, Andersen, Burke, Bell, Giles (Kabore 71’), Doughty (Ogbene 78’), Barkley (Ruddock Mpanzu 71’), Chong (Woodrow 84’), Nakamba, Morris, Adebayo (Brown 71’).

Subs not used: Krul, Berry, Johnson, Francis-Clarke.

Attendance: 10,802 – Kenilworth Road’s biggest attendance since the FA Cup replay against the Hammers in March 1994.

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