LONDON: A superb goal by Michail Antonio helped West Ham United to a 2-1 home win over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Tuesday after visiting midfielder Matheus Pereira had cancelled out Jarrod Bowen’s opener in a lively contest.
The result lifted West Ham two places up to seventh on 32 points from 19 games while the Baggies stayed 19th on 11 points with an uphill task of avoiding relegation after their three-match unbeaten away run ended.
Antonio was delighted with West Ham grinding out the win which kept them firmly in the upper half of the table and stressed the Hammers still had room for improvement.
“We started the season well, 32 points in the league and last season we only finished on 39,” he told BT Sport.
“It’s unbelievable to be part of this squad at the moment, the chemistry is so good in the squad this season and we’re not playing at our best.
“We’re still learning to play with each other but we manage to get wins. Things are looking good but the fact is we’ve not reached our best yet and we can be better.”
West Ham dominated the first half and took the lead in added time when Vladimir Coufal turned a deep Said Benrahma cross into the six-yard box and the ball cannoned off Bowen’s chest past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
West Brom levelled out of the blue in the 51st minute as Pereira was given time and space to tee himself up on the edge of the penalty area and unleash a stinging low shot into the far corner.
The home side then moved up a gear and went close three times in the space of a minute on the hour mark before Antonio showed excellent composure and reflexes to restore West Ham’s lead in the 66th minute.
He volleyed past Johnstone on the turn from close range after Andriy Yarmolenko headed an Aaron Cresswell cross from the left into the striker’s path.
The visitors pressed in the closing stages and missed a chance to snatch a late equaliser with Darnell Furlong firing wide from distance.