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Pellegrini frustrated despite revival

West Ham United 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion


At double: Marko Arnautovic after hitting a brace

At double: Marko Arnautovic after hitting a brace

AFP/Getty Images

At double: Marko Arnautovic after hitting a brace

Marko Arnautovic's quick-fire double rescued West Ham from another defeat by bogey side Brighton.

The Hammers were staring at a fourth loss in four meetings with Brighton since they were promoted after goals from Dale Stephens and Shane Duffy put the visitors in charge.

But two goals in two minutes from Austrian forward Arnautovic lifted the hoodoo as West Ham snatched a 2-2 draw.

All the goals came in the space of 12 second-half minutes of a contest which came to life after Brighton struck from two corners.

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini said: "I'm absolutely frustrated. The most important way that Brighton score is set-pieces, they had seven goals form corners, and we allowed them to score two goals this way.

"I don't remember any other chances for them, but we didn't create in the first 45 minutes."

Brighton boss Chris Hughton argued: "When you are 2-0 up in any game it's hard to take when the opposition get back to level terms. At that stage the momentum was with them, but to gather our composure was pleasing and away from home it was a good performance. I'm delighted with the goals we got."

A listless first half saw Andy Carroll handed his first start for precisely one year.

The big striker put himself about as usual and was in the wars after 20 minutes, requiring treatment for a cut head after a clash with Lewis Dunk, before he was withdrawn at half-time.

Dunk was involved in the key moment of an otherwise insipid opening period, the Brighton skipper rolled in the area by Arnautovic who then went down under his challenge.

With Dunk almost hitching a lift on his back, Arnautovic felt he was fouled but referee Christopher Kavanagh gave nothing.

Felipe Anderson was inches from opening the scoring at the start of the second half with a dazzling run and low shot.

But it was Brighton who made the breakthrough in the 56th minute when Lukasz Fabianski punched a corner straight to the lurking Stephens, who smashed the ball into the net emphatically.

Two minutes later, Duffy doubled the lead, pouncing at the far post from a Pascal Gross corner.

Pellegrini threw on Mark Noble and Michail Antonio, meaning new signing Samir Nasri would not be coming on for his debut.

The changes had an immediate effect as Arnautovic pulled one back when he latched onto Noble's ball over the top, held off Duffy and expertly finished past Button.

Moments later Antonio reached the byline, just managing to keep the ball in play, before pulling it back for Arnautovic to smash home off the underside of the crossbar.

Declan Rice then hit the side-netting as Brighton found themselves clinging on for a point.

Belfast Telegraph