West Ham humbled by Burnley amid cauldron of vitriol
PUBLISHED: 17:13 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 22:05 10 March 2018
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Chaos at London Stadium with pitch invasions and angry protests as Hammers drop deeper
West Ham United 0 Burnley 3
Following a fraught seven days down West Ham way, this was the darkest-ever quarter-hour at the London Stadium, where the Hammers capitulated in 15 mindless minutes amid a bubbling cauldron of anger.
There was little sign of the angst, annoyance and anarchy to come as David Moyes side dominated during the first hour of a largely one-sided contest.
But Ashley Barnes pulled Burnley off the ropes with a 66th-minute opener and as the stadium turned into a melting pot of vitriol, substitute Chris Wood unleashed a double barrelled-blast to fire West Ham to a dark, dismal defeat.
Following back-to-back 1-4 defeats at Liverpool and Swansea, the 14th-placed Hammers returned to London Stadium to face a Burnley side sitting seven places and 10 points above them in the table.
David Moyes made five changes to the side that had capitulated so spectacularly in Wales last Saturday, as Joe Hart returned in goal while João Mário, Angelo Ogbonna, Michail Antonio and James Collins and also earned call-ups in place of substitutes Adrián, Declan Rice, Patrice Evra and Javier Hernández plus injured Winston Reid (knee).
And with 13 minutes on the clock, the recalled Mário controlled Manuel Lanzini’s clever back-heel before playing in Marko Arnautović with a defence-splitting pass but Nick Pope saved the Austrian’s low 10-yarder with his legs.
Shortly afterwards, Lanzini curled over from 18 yards and then Mário volleyed Aaron Cresswell’s deep corner into the visiting fans to the relief of the Burnley ‘keeper, who had clattered into team-mate Ashley Barnes as he charged through a crowd of players in fruitless pursuit of the flag -kick.
Burnley’s 2-1 victory over Everton last weekend, brought an 11-match win-less streak to an end for Sean Dyche, who quite predictably named an unchanged side but the Clarets were certainly on the back-foot as the Hammers hurried, harried and hustled their way into the visitors’ half at each and every opportunity, while the redundant Hart simply watched from afar.
On the half-hour, even Pablo Zabaleta found himself advanced far enough to send a looping 18-yard header wide of the left-hand post and, seven minutes before the break, Lanzini found himself with just Pope to beat but the Argentinian’s side-footed finish was too casual and Pope deflected the low shot behind with his left ankle.
Although Antonio was enjoying the freedom of the left-flank, the Hammers just could not make their territorial supremacy count as Arnautović frequently found himself crowded out despite the best efforts of his team-mates to unlock the watertight Clarets defence during an opening 45-minute stalemate.
Just before the break, Cresswell’s irritation at seeing his side firing blanks had culminated in a booking for felling Aaron Lennon and, just after the restart, it was the frustrated fans’ turn to vent their annoyance when Mário fired high and wide from distance.
And after the breaking Arnautović failed to find the supporting Lanzini, Barnes fired an early warning shot of what was to come when he drilled an angled effort through Hart, who was relieved to see the Burnley striker’s first attempt of the afternoon wiped out by a marginal offside flag.
Lanzini was cautioned for a follow-through on Ashley Westwood, who then wasted no time in dishing out his retribution with a spiteful lunge on the Argentinian at the expense of a quick-fire yellow card.
On the hour, Jeff Hendrick retired in place of Wood and with Burnley now a shadow of the subdued side seen in the first half, Barnes sent a low, angled 18-yarder across the face of both Hart and the far post.
In a heartbeat, the game was turned on its head.
And on 65 minutes, the fresh legs of substitute Wood saw him sprint behind the statuesque Angelo Ogbonna before cutting the ball back to the edge of the Hammers penalty area, where Barnes arrived right on cue to lash a rising 18-yarder under the well-beaten Hart’s right-hand angle.
With the fans controversial march having been called off in midweek, one supporter charged onto the pitch, where he was forcibly bundled to the ground by an angry Mark Noble – the apoplectic Hammers skipper clearly wanting to get back to the business of finding an elusive equaliser.
With another handful of fans also invading the pitch, play was held up as the mood changed and, with a large section of the crowd moving around the concourse to vent their fury towards the Directors Box, the afternoon got yet bleaker as Burnley took just five minutes to double their lead.
Jóhann Berg Gudmundsson squared to Barnes, who played in the overlapping Lennon and the Burnley winger squared into the six-yard area, where Wood had the simplest of tap-ins.
In scenes reminiscent of the Bond protest of the 90s, another spectator charged to the centre-circle, where he planted a corner flag and, with the rest of the crowd either evacuating the stadium or heading towards the Directors Box, the Hammers were clearly beaten both on and off the field.
Still, worse followed, for with nine minutes remaining, Jack Cork squared to Berg Gudmundsson, who let fly with a low 25-yarder that Hart found too hot to handle and Wood gobbled up the rebound to leave both the East End and the ‘keeper’s England aspirations in tatters.
HAMMERS: Hart, Ogbonna, Collins, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Antonio, Kouyaté, Noble, Lanzini, Mário (Hernández 71), Arnautović. Unused subs: Adrián, Hugill, Evra, Cullen, Rice, Browne.
CLARETS: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Lennon, Westwood, Cork, Berg-Gudmundsson, Hendrick (Wood 60), Barnes (Vokes 89). Unused subs: Lindegaard, N’Koudou, Marney, Bardsley, Long.
Bookings: Cresswell (40), Lanzini (55), Westwood (57), Lennon (76).
Referee: Lee Mason.