Battling Blades blunt West Ham

The French forward’s second half strike cancelled out Robert Snodgrass’ first half opener

SHARP BLADE: Lys Mousset (left) with Billy Sharp

ANOTHER MATCH and another goal for Lys Mousset, who scored his second in six days to rescue a point for Sheffield United at West Ham.

The French forward’s second half strike cancelled out Robert Snodgrass’ first half opener to extend the Blades’ unbeaten run on the road to five matches. Only leaders Liverpool share that distinction.

There were audible signs of frustration around the stadium at the final whistle, with West Ham supporters feeling Manuel Pellegrini’s team might have forced the issue a little more firmly.

The result means both sides remain in mid-table, separated by goal difference.

Some of the frustration for West Ham, whose winless run now extends to four in the league, stems from the fact that good chances were spurned against Chris Wilder’s team, who are a notoriously tough nut to crack.

The final ball was not always accurate from the Hammers, as the visitors underlined their reputation for defensive solidity for much of the match.

The most notable exception came a minute before the interval when West Ham claimed an opener that left Wilder livid with the simple nature in which his team conceded.

Roberto punted the ball long following a stoppage but Chris Basham’s headed clearance fell to Andriy Yarmolenko. The Ukrainian’s measured pass to Snodgrass, which took four Sheffield United players out of the equation, gave the Scot the time to advance and slide a shot inside Dean Henderson.

Snodgrass was a perennial menace on his first Premier League start since August and the goal was also his first in West Ham colours since December 15.

Conversely, the opener came as the visitors enjoyed perhaps their best spell of the match.

There were chances at both ends for two teams who knew that three points could send them as high as fifth at the close of play.

Billy Sharp replaced Callum Robinson early in the second half but it was another substitute, Mousset, who drew Sheffield United level on 69 minutes.

Mousset may have considered himself unlucky to start on the bench following his winner at home to Arsenal on Monday evening, but the Blades’ equaliser was his just six minutes after replacing Oliver Norwood.

George Baldock whipped in a cross that Issa Diop could not adequately clear. John Egan was lurking to nod a header in the path of Mousset whose volley was accurate, if not struck cleanly. The ball bounced twice as it beat Roberto to nestle in the back of the West Ham net.

With more that 20 minutes of this match left it was Pellegrini’s side who took the initiative.

Snodgrass in particular was left to rue a missed opportunity late on when he slid in to strike the post at point blank range.

Manuel Lazini, Pablo Fornals and Albian Ajeti came on as the hosts pushed for the winner but Sheffield United, who also introduced Muhamed Besic, stood resolute.

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