West Ham 1 Middlesbrough 1: Boro denied by Payet
Payet’s heroics provided a positive end to another tough week for West Ham, whose players are under the spotlight after a team night out on the town on Monday reportedly went on a bit longer than it should have.
To compound their problems the move from Upton Park to the former Olympic Stadium is still not sitting well with some fans, as a section sang ‘we should have stayed at the Boleyn’ and ‘Stratford’s a s***hole, we want to go home’.
If under-pressure boss Slaven Bilic thought things could not get much worse he was proved wrong after just five minutes when Sam Byram left the field on a stretcher.
And the hosts could have found themselves behind moments later when Viktor Fischer fizzed a low shot across Adrian’s goal and inches wide.
As usual, West Ham looked most dangerous when Payet got on the ball and he saw one shot blocked by a well-timed Calum Chambers challenge before curling another effort wide.
The hosts came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock two minutes before half-time when Mark Noble whipped in a curling shot from the edge of the area only to see it bounce down off the underside of the crossbar.
Yet the defensive errors which have blighted their start to the season were still evident when Adrian made a hash of a high ball and was relieved that Jordan Rhodes, on his full Premier League debut, was unable to take advantage.
However, Boro took the lead six minutes after the break when Rhodes chased Adam Forshaw’s ball over the top and, after initially hesitating, Adrian came out to block the shot.
From the corner Stuani rose to nod Fischer’s cross in at the far post with Noble unable to keep the ball out, goal-line technology confirming it had crossed the line.
But Payet came to the rescue six minutes later with a goal which was, even by his standards, superb.
The midfielder turned Antonio Barragan on the wing, breezed past Marten de Roon on the edge of the area and then skipped away from Chambers and Ben Gibson before leaving George Friend on his backside as he rolled the ball home.
Antonio could even have won it for West Ham five minutes from the end but blazed his angled shot over as Middlesbrough, themselves on a poor run of form, avoided a fourth straight defeat.
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