Leko makes impressive full debut but Baggies taste defeat
- Kouyate header opens scoring (34)
- Noble adds brace for Hammers (45+2, 79)
- Two 2015/16 matches remaining for Albion
- Attendance: 25,031
- Albion Star Man: Jonathan Leko
ALBION only had themselves to blame for defeat on the day they took the wraps off another of the Club’s exciting young talents.
Jonathan Leko made his full debut – becoming the first player born in 1999 to start in the Premier League – and featured in a Baggies performance that should have reaped goals.
But as chances slipped the grasp, West Ham made the most of their breaks to inflict a 3-0 reverse and leave the Baggies empty-handed at a disappointed Hawthorns.
Albion made an electric start and should have made the most of chances which largely sprang from Leko’s pace and trickery down the right hand side.
But with Craig Gardner heading wide from the team’s clearest opening, Albion were then undone by a cruel break in the 34th minute which saw the ball break kindly for Dimitri Payet. With Albion caught out, his cross was headed home by Cheikhou Kouyate.
The task then got harder in first half added time as another deflection took Kouyate clear and his cross was steered home by Mark Noble.
A tough half-time scoreline to take, Albion nevertheless created chances to get back in the game. Leko and Gardner combined superbly to set up Salomon Rondon for a close range chance Angelo Ogbonna deflected wide.
Substitute Saido Berahino then fired off target from a great position before another of Albion’s subs, Sandro, was just off target from 20 yards.
And any hopes of a late recovery were snuffed out when West Ham crafted a fine breakaway third, finished off by Noble in the 79th minute.
The day was summed up when with the last move of the match, Albion wasted the chance of at least a consolation goal as Berahino was wide with a header from a Stephane Sessegnon cross.
ALBION: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans; Gardner (Sessegnon 77), Fletcher, Yacob (Sandro 61), McClean (Berahino 61), Leko, Rondon.
SUBS: Myhill, Chester, Lambert, Roberts.
WEST HAM: Adrian; Antonio, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Payet (Moses 81), Kouyate, Noble, Lanzini (Oxforcd 87), Sakho (Emenike 66), Carroll.
SUBS: Randolph, Tomkins, Collins, Byram
Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton)