West Ham’s hopes of a top-four Premier League finish suffered a major blow as they were held at Brighton.
The result sees the Hammers remain sixth, a point behind Liverpool in fifth and five adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, with two games remaining.
In a game containing few attacking highlights, Danny Welbeck appeared to have given the hosts a late victory, clipping an effort over Hammers goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski after racing on to Percy Tau’s pass.
However, the Hammers levelled three minutes later when substitute Said Benrahma found the top right corner from the edge of the home penalty area.
The quality of the strike was out of keeping with a contest in which both sides struggled to find a spark in the final third.
And while David Moyes’ side pressed forward for a winner, they could not justifiably claim to have done enough to merit all three points, with Craig Dawson and Tomas Soucek both heading earlier opportunities wide.
Until Welbeck scored his 50th Premier League goal, Alireza Jahanbakhsh had gone closest to breaking the deadlock for the hosts, arrowing an effort wide of the left post with Fabianski stranded off his line.
The Seagulls, who stay 17th, have now dropped 25 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.
Brighton fail to take next step
With their place in the division already guaranteed for next term, a Brighton victory would have seen them take a major step towards eclipsing their highest ever Premier League finish of 15th.
And with games against Manchester City and Arsenal on the horizon, equalling their best ever top-flight finish of 13th, which came in 1981-82, would also not have been out of the equation.
While that is still possible, conceding just 195 seconds after Welbeck’s effort, coupled with their failure to turn half chances into goals, makes it much more unlikely.
Graham Potter’s side play with admirable composure passing out from the back, but that appears to disappear almost as soon as they arrive in the final third.
The Seagulls failed to muster a shot on target until the 53rd minute, and even then Steven Alzate’s effort came from an improbable scoring position with Welbeck better placed to score.
That sparked a flurry of good moments for the hosts, with Jahanbakhsh and Alzate wastefully failing to make the most of them.
More to follow.
Brighton & Hove Albion
West Ham United
- 17AlzateSubstituted forLallanaat 67′minutes
- 8BissoumaBooked at 18mins
- 16JahanbakhshSubstituted forTauat 73′minutes
- 11TrossardSubstituted forZeqiriat 83′minutes
- 10Mac Allister
- 20BowenSubstituted forBenrahmaat 64′minutes
Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, West Ham United 1.
Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, West Ham United 1.
Attempt missed. Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Percy Tau.
Percy Tau (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham United).
Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 1, West Ham United 1. Saïd Benrahma (West Ham United) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner.
Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 1, West Ham United 0. Danny Welbeck (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Percy Tau with a through ball.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Andi Zeqiri replaces Leandro Trossard.
Attempt missed. Craig Dawson (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Saïd Benrahma with a cross following a corner.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Ben White.
Adam Webster (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Michail Antonio (West Ham United).
Foul by Michail Antonio (West Ham United).
Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Percy Tau replaces Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
Hand ball by Saïd Benrahma (West Ham United).
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Adam Lallana replaces Steven Alzate.
Attempt blocked. Michail Antonio (West Ham United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Saïd Benrahma with a headed pass.
Substitution, West Ham United. Saïd Benrahma replaces Jarrod Bowen.
Attempt saved. Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.