Sheffield United climbed to fifth in the Premier League table on Friday with a win against West Ham, who had an injury-time equaliser ruled out by Video Assistant Referee.
John Fleck took advantage of a big mistake by substitute goalkeeper David Martin, latching on to his wayward pass to tee up Oli McBurnie to finish from close range after 53 minutes.
Substitute Robert Snodgrass thought he had levelled for the visitors, but the goal was disallowed after the ball was judged to have hit Declan Rice’s arm in the build-up.
“VAR, VAR”, the home fans chanted as the final whistle sounded, with West Ham condemned to their eighth defeat in 11 Premier League games and their first under new manager David Moyes.
The result means the Hammers remain two points above the relegation zone and could drop into the bottom three if results go against them this weekend.
West Ham’s goalkeeping nightmare
It was on the 13-minute mark when visiting keeper Lukasz Fabianski took a goal-kick and immediately signalled to the bench he had a problem.
The Poland international was only into his fourth game back after surgery to fix a torn hip muscle that had kept him out for three months.
That injury effectively cost Manuel Pellegrini his job given Fabianski’s deputy, Roberto, failed to keep a clean sheet in seven Premier League games, none of which the Hammers won.
Fabianski’s frustration was obvious as he beat the ground, then sat sadly in his penalty area, waiting for West Ham’s medical team to arrive.
The pushes and prods visible from the media seats suggested a repeat of his past problem. Either way, his game was over.
Martin was only meant to be a training keeper after his arrival from Millwall but the son of former Hammers legend Alvin was called off the bench. It really did not work out well.
He played a routine goal-kick straight to Fleck, who ran into the box to square to McBurnie for the only goal.
West Ham are aiming to sign another keeper, with Middlesbrough’s Darren Randolph lined up for a return to his former club. But the deal is on hold as he is also injured at present.
West Ham boss David Moyes speaking to BBC Sport: “First of all I thought my players were terrific. We didn’t deserve to lose.
“It was a good goal. Anybody who has played football or been around the game knows it was a good goal. Declan Rice did really good to break through the middle.
“I’m just telling you it’s a really good goal. From my point of view and the people who watch football, the decision is not right.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a great fan [of VAR] but we have to come to terms with it. People who have played football know when it’s not right and tonight is one of those situations.”