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Match Reports


11 September 2017

Second half strikes from Pedro Obiang and Andre Ayew condemned Huddersfield Town to it's first defeat of the 2017/18 Premier League season despite a valiant effort in wet conditions at the London Stadium.

Town's first appearance on Monday Night Football saw David Wagner name an unchanged side which started the last Premier League outing against Southampton. Abdelhamid Sabiri and Florent Hadergjonaj were among the substitutes for the first time in a competitive fixture, but Kasey Palmer and Collin Quaner missed the trip to the Capital through respective injuries.

The home crowd were seeing their side in action for the first time of the campaign; a key player who returned to the squad for the fixture agaisnt the Terriers, Andy Carroll, very nearly gave them something to shout about in the initial passages of the match as his drilled pass across the face of goal was agonisingly missed by Cheikhou Kouyate who had slid in at the far post.

Tom Ince brought Town to life at the other end by seeing a shot blocked by Winston Reid following neat wing interchanges between Aaron Mooy and Rajiv van La Parra.

The rain would continue to fall in east London, with the Hammers' main threat occurring from the aerial presence of Carroll. After robbing Town of possession deep in opposition territory, Pablo Zabaleta delivered a deep cross which Carroll could only knock down to Chris Löwe who duly swept away the danger.

Michail Antonio displayed lively pace and skill to round Löwe down the right before cutting back for Chicharito. The Mexican's resulting effort thundered off the cross-bar after Mathias Zanka had allowed the ball to trickle into the former Leverkusen's path after mis-cuing an attempted clearance.

Nonetheless, Town withstood the early West Ham chances, and began to ease into the encounter by looking composed in possession. The home crowd's restlessness grew as David Wagner's men continued to shift the ball around in a manner similar to what Town fans have witnessed so far in the opening three matches of the Premier League season.

Instead of it being a blue and white shirt to create the game's next big chance, it would be Slaven Bilic's Hammers who had a golden moment to take the lead.

Cheikhou Kouyate found himself with acres of space inside the Town penalty area, but the midfielder could only volley harmlessly wide of Jonas Lössl's goal.

Both sides would head in at the interval goalless, but only after Tom Ince found his delayed attempt blocked by a recovering James Collins following a quick counter and a slick pass out wide from Rajiv van La Parra.

It would be West Ham who threatened first to open up the second period; Pablo Zabaleta's accurate cross aiming for the advancing duo of Kouyate and Carroll was cleared at a vital second by Mathias Zanka, before Philip Billing would reply with a chance for the travelling Terriers by firing a trademark rocket from outside of the area into the gloves of a grateful Joe Hart.

Christopher Schindler had gone about his business with a usual amount of class, and the German would keep Town in the contest by forcing Kouyate to scuff wide after receiving possession in a dangerous position with the six-yard area.

Chances ebbed and flowed for both outfits, with West Ham having the linesman's flag to thank to ensure Steve Mounié's clear route to goal came to a premature and relieving halt.

Meanwhile, Chris Löwe would be Town's hero in comparison to the offside flag as the left-back crucially and perfectly dispossessed Michail Antonio on the half-way line following a Town corner to deny what would've seen the home side have a substantial numerical advantage on an attacking break-away.

Chris Löwe made way for Scott Malone just beyond the hour mark; the substitute firstly showed glimpses of offensive agility by darting off the left wing to instigate a move which saw Aaron Mooy blast the ball over England International Hart's cross-bar, before turning his attention to the defensive end by ensuring a deep cross at the far post was dealt with efficiently to clear his lines.

The Hammers did find the net moments later, however, with a huge slice of luck to go with it.

Pedro Obiang's hopeful long-range effort took a wicked deflected off Mathias Zanka to loop over a helpless Jonas Lössl and give the home side a rather fortunate advantage.

That advantage galvanised West Ham, and the lead was doubled just three minutes after the opener. Michail Antonio's burst of pace and cross down the left was turned away for a corner, and from that Andre Ayew poked home the Hammers' second of the evening into an empty net from close range after Jose Fonte had saw his initial attempt blocked by the resilient Jonas Lössl.

Town responded with positivity; Steve Mounié firstly saw his guided attempt tipped round the post by a sprawling Hart, followed by Tom Ince rattling the crossbar with a peach of a curling effort to sum up a bleak evening in front of goal for the Terriers.

Town's Staring Line-Up (4-2-3-1):
Jonas Lössl ; Chris Löwe (Scott Malone, 63'), Christopher Schindler, Mathias Zanka, Tommy Smith (c); Philip Billing (Laurent Depoitre, 83'), Aaron Mooy; Rajiv van La Parra, Tom Ince, Elias Kachunga (Abdelhamid Sabiri, '75); Steve Mounié

Unused Subs:
Joel Coleman, Danny Williams, Florent Hadergjonaj, Michael Hefele


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