West Ham 2-2 Brighton: Arnautovic rescues point for Hammers in scintillating second half 
Photo: Getty Images - John Patrick Fletcher

West Ham 2-2 Brighton: Arnautovic rescues point for Hammers in scintillating second half 

West Ham came from two goals behind to draw with Brighton.

Matt Dawson

West Ham and Brighton played host to a second half thriller at the London Stadium as four goals in ten minutes meant the two sides drew 2-2.

Dale Stephens and Shane Duffy put Brighton two goals up before the hour mark following corners but the Hammers hit back thanks to a Marko Arnautovic double as they turned the game around in remarkable fashion. 

At one stage it looked as though the Seagulls were about to claim a rare win away from home but West Ham finally found their groove after a frustrating opening hour. 

Story of the game

The Hammers build-up play was initially slow and as a result only really fashioned half chances in the first 45 as Arnautovic fired over from range and forced David Button into making a save down to his left.

West Ham's best chance of the first half fell to Felipe Anderson but that was a product of poor Brighton defending as the ball was gifted to the Brazilian inside the area but his shot was weak and straight at the 'keeper. Considering his form this season he should have scored. 

The most frustrating moment for the Irons faithful was referee Chris Kavanagh's decision not to award them a first-half penalty. Arnautovic tangled with Lewis Dunk down on the right byline only for appeals to be waved away seven minutes before the break.  

It took until the second half for true signs of life to be breathed into the game. Shortly after the interval, Anderson ran at the Brighton defence with pace and then stroked a shot inches wide of the post.

However, it was Brighton that found the moments of quality to break the deadlock as West Ham capitulated from two corners in the space of the same amount of minutes. The first came from the Hammers failing to clear a corner sufficiently as the ball arrived at the feet of Stephens who volleyed home brilliantly from the edge of the box. 

More atrocious defending was to follow from another corner as the ball evaded everyone before finding Duffy at the back post who was able to prod home to give the Seagulls a two-goal advantage. 

But West ham rallied and rather out of nowhere scored twice in the space of two minutes themselves. Both were from the boot of Arnautovic who was able to bring down a ball over the top before squeezing the ball through the legs of Button with 66 minutes gone for his first strike.

The second then came after great work from substitute Michail Antonio. He worked his way to the byline on the right and then pulled the ball back to the Austrian forward who found the net via the crossbar to cap off a crazy period in the game. 

Antonio was outstanding after coming off the bench, provoking the substitute of Bernardo who was being given a torrid time by the winger. On in his place was Gaetan Bong but he couldn't stop him either as the wide man chopped inside with just over ten minutes remaining but he then shot high and wide of the target.

The Hammers continued to press for a winner and almost found it late on with Declan Rice finding the side netting but the game was to finish all square. 


Carroll selection doesn't pay off

Andy Carroll has struggled with injury throughout 2018 and as a result, was making his first start for West Ham in exactly a year when he scored twice in a win over West Brom. However, he couldn't repeat those heroics against Brighton, being withdrawn at half time after a very unproductive day at the office. 

Brighton still struggling on the road

The Seagulls away form has been dismal over the past 14 months and they have now won just twice in 24 Premier League matches on the road. That's a run that stretches back to October and November 2017 when they recorded two successive defeats away from home the Amex against West Ham and Swansea

Arnautovic returns to form

The West Ham forward returned to the side against Burnley at the weekend following injury and he was back among the goals on Wednesday night. He scored twice in a phenomenal Irons comeback as he netted for the first time since early November. 

Nasri in 18 man West Ham squad 

The East London side announced the signing of former Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri this week after the Frenchman completed a doping ban. Although not match fit, he did make the matchday squad as he was included among the substitutes bench. Such was the intensity of the second half though, that he wasn't able to make his debut. 

Man of the match

Arnautovic - The Hammers were pretty toothless in attack in the first half but the striker came to life in the second period as he helped West Ham rescue a point with two goals.