Agony for the Hammers as Noble fluffs last-gasp penalty, and Lingard returns to haunt Moyes' men
West Ham United (1) 1 Benrahma 30
Manchester United (1) 2 Ronaldo 34, Lingard 89
Mark Noble missed a last-minute penalty moments after Jesse Lingard had come back to haunt the club he graced so stylishly last season by grabbing what turned out to be a late winner.
It was a big call by David Moyes to send the club captain on to take the kick ‘cold’ and although his shot was hit low and to the bottom corner, David de Gea got a hand to it.
Noble seldom misses, but it would have been tough to get that moment right, on demand.
The penalty was only awarded by ref Martin Atkinson following a VAR intervention after Luke Shaw had handled a cross From Andriy Yarmolenko. The on-field official had not initially awarded the kick.
De Gea’s save led to an outpouring of joy from the visitors when the whistle blew moments later – boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer running onto the pitch to congratulate his number one.
Moments earlier, it had seemed likely that Lingard would have the headlines to himself.
The England midfielder seems to play only a bit-part at Old Trafford these days but he came off the bench to stun the Irons with a fine cut in from the right edge of the area before bending a glorious drive over a helpless Lukasz Fabianski.
On the back of a demanding week which involved a midweek Europa League escapade in Croatia, a point would have been a good return for the Hammers, who were without the suspended Michail Antonio.
But they were denied at the death by a United side who are now unbeaten in a record 29 away games in the Premier League.
The Hammers took the lead briefly in the first half through Said Benrahma’s deflected shot before being pegged back by Ronaldo and although the visitors dominated, they were kept in check well by an organised rearguard and midfield.
The Hammers had to do plenty of chasing throughout – often having no option but to sit in and admire their visitors. ‘You’ve only come to see Ronaldo’ chorused the away fans, as if catching the mood in the stands as well as on the pitch.
But the crowd woke from its slumber when Benrahma finally created some danger in the opposition half, cutting in from the right byline to give Jarrod Bowen a glimpse of the target. His effort was blocked but it raised the temperature.
Soon after, a fine move ended with Bowen having a low shot blocked by the legs of De Gea, with Tomas Soucek slicing the rebound over the bar.
United looked capable of creating chances from anywhere, however. Bruno Fernandes had a firmly-struck left-footer tipped onto his left-hand post by Fabianski
The Hammers led on the half hour when Bowen worked the ball back to Benrahma on the edge of the penalty area and his low shot took a wicked deflected off Raphael Varane to wrong-foot De Gea and find the bottom corner of the net.
But the lead was short-lived as Ronaldo – who else – ghosted onto a chip in from Fernandes on the left and stabbed home at the second attempt after Fabianski had done well to keep the first effort out.
Fabianski was almost beaten again before the half was out, but did well to get behind a firm Ronaldo drive after Mason Greenwood had played him in.
In reply, Nikola Vlasic, making his first Premier League start, scooped a near-post shot wide after being found by Aaron Cresswell.
Ronaldo forced a fine save out of Fabianski as the second half got under way, as if to remind the Hammers how much they would need to stay alert to get anything out of the game.
That said, the game’s first-half excesses gave way to far more sedate patterns after the break and fewer chances for either side.
There were penalty appeals after a tumble from Ronaldo and the clever probings of Fernandes looked the likeliest source of goals.
But the Irons had Declan Rice in imperious form too and that helped to make the balance of play a little healthier for Moyes’ men, even if possession and territory was still much in United’s favour.
It all pointed to a draw as the likely outcome, the longer the game wore on. But that was all about to change in that madcap finale.
Hammers: (4-2-3-1) Fabianski – Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell – Soucek, Rice – Bowen (Noble 90), Benrahma (Lanzini 88), Fornals – Vlasic (Yarmolenko 68) Subs not used: Areola, Dawson, Diop, Fredericks, Masuaku, Kral
United: (4-2-3-1) De Gea – Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw – McTominay, Fred (Matic 88) – Greenwood (Sancho 73), Fernandes, Pogba (Lingard 73) – Ronaldo Subs not used: Heaton, Bailly, Mata, Martial, Dalot, Van de Beek