West Ham forced to settle for late 1-1 draw with Luton Town as stoppage time equaliser earns the Championship side share of the spoils in pre-season friendly after Tomas Soucek’s first-half header
- Sonny Bradley’s 90th minute equaliser earned Luton a draw home to West Ham
- Tomas Soucek’s first-half header gave the visitors the lead before late drama
- The Kenilworth Road match was Luton’s last pre-season outing before next week
- French side Lens will be West Ham’s next friendly opponents in a week’s time
Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road is a world away from some of the pre-season surroundings being enjoyed by other Premier League globetrotters.
Yet this creaky old stadium seemed as nice a place as any to stretch the legs – until a last-gasp goal from Luton denied David Moyes’s West Ham the win.
All looked rosy as two minutes of stoppage time were announced. West Ham were leading 1-0 thanks to a combination that Moyes hopes will pay dividends over the coming season. Aaron Cresswell had crossed the ball from the left, and Tomas Soucek had directed a glancing header into the far corner.
Tomas Soucek scored the opener for West Ham but they were pegged back with late drama
Moyes would take a repeat of that routine in two weeks’ time when West Ham open their Premier League season against Manchester City at the London Stadium.
Yet with their first real chance of the contest, Luton equalised after a corner was nudged home by Sonny Bradley, making it 1-1 in the final few seconds.
Moyes’s men ought to have had two or three goals by this stage, but Ethan Horvath, the United States international in goal for Luton, was in one of those moods.
Horvath stopped Nikola Vlasic from burying one in the bottom corner, then Michail Antonio when he was through one on one. Though it was a smart save, it is that lack of clinicalness from Antonio which makes you think West Ham still need to sign a striker before this transfer window closes.
Moyes had some rejigging to do in his defence as a result of injuries. Nayef Aguerd remains sidelined by an ankle problem picked up in their last friendly against Rangers with the £30million centre back expected to miss the start of their Premier League season. The club have yet to put a timeline on his recovery as they wait for the swelling on his ankle to go down before sending him for another scan.
Soucek celebrated with his fellow Hammers, although they had to share the result in the end
Declan Rice was one of the many top quality players on display for Luton Town fans to enjoy
Likewise Issa Diop and Craig Dawson were nursing knocks and so didn’t feature here in Luton, while Angelo Ogbonna is with the Under-21s.
Because of that, Moyes deployed a back three of Ben Johnson, Kurt Zouma and Aaron Cresswell, with Vladimir Coufal and Arthur Masuaku as wing backs.
West Ham were sloppy to start with, Declan Rice among those playing a few loose passes. But they soon imposed themselves on their Championship opponents.
Soucek’s header came in the 27th minute and from there, it looked like a routine run out. No overexertion, no injuries, no worries for Moyes. There was a second-half appearance for Flynn Downes, West Ham’s new £12m signing from Swansea, while a few youngsters, like Conor Coventry and Harrison Ashby, got some minutes, too.
But the Luton leveller denied West Ham another pre-season win in their preparations for Pep Guardiola’s City machine on August 7.
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