Soccer-West Ham, among top four prospects beaten by Brighton draw
BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) – West Ham United hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four suffered another setback when held to a 1-1 draw against modest Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
The result left West Ham sixth with 59 points in 36 games, five adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to go and one behind fifth-placed Liverpool who have one game in hand.
Danny Welbeck put Brighton against the run in the 83rd minute with his 50th Premier League goal before substitute Said Benrahma equalized with a superb shot from the edge of the box in the 87th.
West Ham forward Pablo Fornals was belied by a final tackle from Pascal Gross as the visitors picked up the pace in the later stages of the first half.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh came close twice to Brighton after the break, shooting widely from a tight angle after West goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski parried the fierce midfield shot moments earlier.
As the game seemed to be heading towards a goalless draw, Welbeck knocked out the Hammers with a poor finish, but Brighton’s joy was short-lived as Benrahma picked up a loose ball and passed it past goalkeeper Robert Sanchez.
Brighton remained 17th in the table with 38 points.
(Written by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond)