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West Ham given a scare in seven goal thriller

RELIEF: West Ham players signal their last gasp effort

ON A weekend where it had been assumed the real excitement might be elsewhere, West Ham and Huddersfield deigned to share a seven-goal thriller, with the hosts prevailing 4- 3 at the death (March 16).

Both sides dug deep in a game that swung one way and then the next.

The Terriers, who have been found wanting for much of the season, finally found their attacking edge to plunder three goals for the first time this term but still came up short.

They fell behind with a quarter of an hour played but for once that first concession did not sound the death knell for their chances.

Within another 15 minutes Huddersfield were in the lead thanks to Juninho Bacuna and Karlan Grant.

Grant grabbed his second to put the visitors 3-1 up and on the brink of a memorable victory with 25 minutes to play.

It was a shock to West Ham’s system. If they thought that Mark Noble’s opener would signal a routine victory then such thoughts were instantly undermined by their shoddy defending.

The visitors had been holding their own when 18-year-old Aaron Rowe, making his full Premier League debut, swiped at Manuel Lanzini and conceded a penalty. Noble struck the spotkick down the middle as the despairing Jonas Lossl dived to his left.

Individual errors have cost Huddersfield all season long and, ordinarily, such setbacks have been fatal, but here they were level inside two minutes thanks to Bacuna.

The Dutch under-21s international will probably never score an easier header, rising uncontested as he did to restore parity with barely a West Ham player in sight.

Manuel Pellegrini has never quite managed to eradicate the defensive laxness that plagues his team and there was another entry to add to their canon of comedy concessions as the match reached the half-hour mark.

Angelo Ogbonna committed a foul in front of the West Ham penalty area and Alex Pritchard knocked the resultant free-kick wide for Chris Lowe, who delivered a low cross for Grant to apply the finishing touch.

Lowe’s ball was accurate but would have been rendered innocuous had West Ham defenders not been statuesque in their reactions.

Grant was not finished either and displayed admirable composure on 65 minutes to curl a shot inside Lukasz Fabianski’s left-hand post before making way for Steve Mounie five minutes later.

The subsequent departures of Noble and Marko Arnautovic augured badly for West Ham but the hosts would find another attacking gear courtesy of half-time substitute Hernandez.

Before the Mexican produced his two signature headed finishes, Ogbonna reduced West Ham’s deficit with a headed effort of his own on 75 minutes.

There were 84 minutes on the clock when Hernandez stooped to head home fellow substitute Samir Nasri’s looping cross. West Ham were level, and it was game on.

Hernandez’s second was taken with equal aplomb, as he glanced another inviting ball, this time from Felipe Anderson, beyond Lossl to end Huddersfield’s resistance in added time.

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