It’s exactly one year to the day that West Ham achieved something of a rarity; coming from behind to win a football match in extraordinary fashion.
The Hammers beat Huddersfield Town 4-3 at London Stadium in a thrilling Premier League encounter – something the West Ham faithful rarely see. Two late goals completed a freak comeback to give Manuel Pellegrini’s side all three points.
It was an excellent start to proceedings after Manuel Lanzini was fouled in the penalty box, which captain Mark Noble routinely dispatched easily with 15 minutes played. Playing at home to relegation-threatened Huddersfield and taking the lead, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, that lead lasted all but two minutes. Aaron Mooy’s in-swinging corner met the head of Juninho Bacuna and the visitors were level. West Ham conceding from a set-piece? Surely not?
And it would be another set-piece that would gift Huddersfield the lead before the break. Thirty minutes on the clock and the Terriers have a free-kick, play it short down the line and from the resulting cross, Karlan Grant was unmarked and strolled into the box without a care in the world, stroking his effort into the bottom corner. I think the phrase ‘too easy, West Ham’ was used over a thousand times when that hit the back of the net…
So once again the Hammers found themselves trailing in a Premier League match at half-time and had it all to do in the second half.
Well, West Ham came out flat, uninterested and it was inevitable that Huddersfield would score again, and that’s exactly what they did in the 65th minute. Grant carried the ball from halfway into the Hammers half, easily strolled past three defenders and curled an excellent effort from outside the box past Lukasz Fabianski. Large portions of the home support started to leave at this point, but they would miss the greatest comeback London Stadium has ever seen.
With 15 minutes left to play, West Ham needed three goals to win. Three goals. In 15 minutes. West Ham. It just doesn’t make sense?
But then Angelo Ogbonna nodded home from Aaron Cresswell’s corner to give the Hammers a lifeline, and it was time for a certain Mexican to make himself a hero.
Introduced as a second-half substitute, Javier Hernandez’s instructions were simple – stick the ball in the back of net, maybe even do so a couple of times.
And the Mexico striker obliged. With six minutes to play, Samir Nasri’s whipped-in cross found Chicharito at the back post, who’s diving header went into the bottom corner and the Hammers were level. Surely West Ham couldn’t win it from here, could they?
Into stoppage time we went, and that’s when Hernandez bagged his brace to complete a dramatic turnaround. A short corner to Felipe Anderson was met with disgruntlement…and then ecstasy. The Brazilian whipped his effort towards goal and Chicharito was there to get the faintest of touches with his head to guide the ball past Jonas Lossl and into the back of the net.
West Ham had done it. They took the lead, to then completely capitulate, to then produce the greatest comeback the London Stadium has witnessed to date.
Hammers fans put on an emotional rollercoaster for 90 minutes; just your typical Saturday afternoon, then.