We never make it easy for ourselves, do we? However, it was only the result that mattered in the end and we got a valuable three points to move us nine points clear of the bottom three. West Ham gifted us a two-goal lead, in what was a first half performance that looked like one we often see.
Not to be out-Newcastled, we sat deep in the second half and gifted them two goals. Steve Bruce should have been more positive in his approach to the second half, but Joe Willock spared his blushes with an excellent winner.
Here’s my comments and ratings for each player involved:
Dubravka – 6 – There was little he could do for either goal and he made a few key saves. His command of his area was important, as we can be vulnerable from set pieces, but his kicking poor again.
Murphy – 7 – It was another positive performance from the wing-back. At times, he can commit himself too soon, but his recovery pace allows him to get back into the right position. His positivity in the attacking half is an asset.
Fernandez – 5 – It is difficult to judge the performances of the centre backs, as it is poor to concede twice to ten men. Some good clearances and interceptions in the first half, but Fernandez was caught napping for the first West Ham goal.
Clark – 5 – I’m not sure he is suited to his current position in the middle of a back three. He looked uncertain about his positioning and was frequently pulling across to the left hand side. In the air, he looked vulnerable as shown by the conceded penalty.
Dummett – 6 – Another steady performance from the homegrown defender. There is an issue down our left hand side, as Matt Ritchie’s positioning is far from perfect. He won four aerial duels, more than any other player in black and white.
Ritchie – 6.5 – This is a difficult one. Ritchie certainly adds leadership and work rate to the team, but his positioning is a problem. Vladimir Coufal carried a huge threat as a result. His inviting cross for the winner bumps him up a mark, with his tenacity late on to protect our lead equally brilliant.
Shelvey – 5 – The early yellow card blunted his ability to get his foot in during the second half and that allowed West Ham to run the game. It wasn’t his best day at the office.
S Longstaff – 7 – It was a good showing from the midfielder, as he made two tackles and finished the match with a pass accuracy of 80%. His energy has been a huge positive over the last few weeks, allowing him to support attacks but also offer protection at the back.
Almiron – 7 – Few cover more ground than Almiron and he was hugely important, especially when he started to chase the winning goal. It was a complete display as he attempted two shots, completed three dribbles, made two key passes and two interceptions. His final ball could have been better, but it was a good performance.
Saint-Maximin – 9* – There are few players in better form than Saint-Maximin. He creates havoc in opposition defences with his direct running and his final ball has improved a lot. The Frenchman had five shots and completed three dribbles. He caused the own goal and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself.
Joelinton – 7 – The Brazilian is beginning to find some good form in the black and white. He took his goal well. Although it was gifted to him, he was in the right position and aware to take advantage. He also caused the red card. As the game progressed, he gave the ball away cheaply, which subtracts a mark.
Wilson – 6 – It was good to see him back on the pitch and he is building his match fitness. His off the ball runs were excellent and he was positive in his contributions.
Willock – 7 – What an impact. His desire to get into the box is a credit to him and it has led to two crucial goals in the last two home matches. A brilliant header to hand us a huge three points.
Carroll – N/A – Only played two minutes of the game. Did play one good cross-field pass to put Wilson in down the left late on.