In the 15th edition of our Classic Match series, we delve through the archives once more to relive a memorable West Ham United clash from down the years, this time around the opposition were Tuesday night’s visitors to the London Stadium in London rivals Crystal Palace.
Cast your minds back to the cold winter of 2017, Ed Sheeran was at the very summit the United Kingdom Music Charts with “Shape of You” and the Prime Minister Theresa May was about to give her first speech on “Brexit”.
Meanwhile, in the world of Football, and more specifically, the Premier League, West Ham United were enjoying their first season at their new home of the London Stadium under Croatian Boss Slaven Bilic.
Heading into a home clash with Crystal Palace, under former Manager, Sam Allardyce, the Hammers sat 13th in the Top-Flight standings and were looking to bounce back from an embarrassing 0-5 FA Cup Third Round thrashing by Manchester City.
Whereas, Allardyce’s Eagles had been frustrated away at the Macon Stadium in their last outing, drawing to Bolton Wanderers in Round Three of Football’s oldest Competition, their League position stood at 17th at the start of the day.
The Relegation six-pointer was to be played out on a chilly Saturday afternoon at the former Olympic Stadium with both teams in desperate need of a victory to turn their fortunes around.
At the announcement of the two starting Xls an hour before kick-off in Stratford, the danger men were clear to spot for the hosts and the visitors, the men who could deliver them to all-important triumph.
For Bilic’s boys, who were without Dimitri Payet due to his ongoing Transfer situation, attackers Michail Antonio and Andy Carroll were sure to prove a handful and for Hodgson’s men, Belgian forward Christian Benteke and English winger Andros Townsend posed a threat to goal.
Against the backdrop of an electric London Stadium atmosphere, the hosts and the visitors both went close in the first period, Carroll volleying just over at one end.
While at the other, ex-Hammer James Tomkins send an excellent opportunity begging and Darren Randolph was up to the task of saving a long-range Yohan Cabaye effort.
However, after the break, the East Londoners were creating the clearer chances, Carroll heading and volleying wayward and it wouldn’t be long before the deadlock was finally broken.
A superb pass from Skipper Mark Noble played Antonio through on the left side, he rounded Wayne Hennessey well and put the ball on a plate for Sofiane Feghouli to tap home into an empty net.
It was the Algerian’s first Premier League goal, having had his first red card in England rescinded against Manchester United earlier in the month, opening the floodgates on the Palace defence.
While the Hammers’ first had been a wonderful team move, there would be simply no topping the second in any respect, the visiting defenders powerless in stopping it.
An excellent Manuel Lanzini run and pass teed up Antonio on the edge of the area, he floated a ball to the far post and there to meet it, just inside the box, was Carroll.
The former England man tried something purely audacious, an overhead kick that sent the ball plummeting towards the top corner of the net, Hennessey could only dive in vain as both the home and away supporters gazed on in astonishment.
The strike went on to win the Carling Goal of the Moth Award and challenged for PL Goal of the Season, also putting the game beyond the Eagles and securing the three points.
Lanzini rounded things off nicely late on, Antonio grabbing his third assist of the encounter by playing him in on the break to chip over Hennessey, his fourth successive goal against Palace.
The much-needed home win moved the side from East London up to 12th and another step towards the safety that they would eventually achieve by finishing 11th in the Division despite a late wobble.
Whereas, the defeat saw the team from South London remain 17th, hovering dangerously above the Relegation Zone, surviving in the end in 14th under Allardyce.
But, one question remains, will West Ham United, now under David Moyes, be able to get the better of Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace once more in Stratford on Tuesday evening? Find out here with a Live Blog, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction, live from the Press Box of London Stadium, starting at 5:45 PM GMT tomorrow night.