Tomas Soucek’s stoppage-time goal earned West Ham United a 1-0 win over Fulham in the Premier League but Ademola Lookman spurned a glorious chance to earn a point for the visitors with a botched last-gasp penalty.
Big Czech Soucek had been largely anonymous in the London derby but he showed his knack for scoring important goals when he steered a shot past Fulham keeper Alphonse Areola.
There was a twist to come though as Fulham were awarded a penalty via a lengthy VAR check in the fifth minute of stoppage time only for Lookman to try an audacious ‘Panenka’ and chip the ball tamely straight into the hands of Lukasz Fabianski.
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“I’m not going to shirk away from the penalty miss, I’m angry, and he [Lookman] is as well. You just can’t miss a penalty like that. If you take one like that, you have to score,” Fulham boss Scott Parker said after the match.
“He’s disappointed and rightly so. Everyone can miss penalties of course but in a certain way. This is football, growing as an individual and we’ll learn from this.”
A point would have been thoroughly deserved for Fulham who were bright in attack and solid in defence, even if hosts West Ham were twice denied by the woodwork.
It was tough on Lookman, on loan from RB Leipzig, who had been excellent for his side who remain one place above the relegation zone after a sixth defeat in eight games.
“Ademola Lookman is devastated, apologetic. He’s a young man who has had a good start here and is a big player for us,” Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney, who was adjudged to have been fouled for the penalty, told BT Sport.
“We’ll get round him and pick him up, he knows he could have got us a point.”
Victory for West Ham lifted them to 11th spot with 11 points.
A frenetic start saw a flurry of chances for West Ham with Arthur Masuaku having an effort cleared off the line and Jarrod Bowen forcing a sharp save from Areola.
Sebastien Haller rattled the bar with a header before Fulham began to settle and threaten on the counter-attack with Aleksandar Mitrovic failing to make the most of two chances.
Fulham were arguably the better side after the break but they were stunned in the first minute of stoppage time when West Ham substitute Said Benrahma teed up Soucek to slot home.
Benrahma blotted his copybook though when he dangled out a leg and tripped Cairney and referee Rob Jones eventually awarded a penalty after checking a pitch-side monitor.
West Ham’s players delayed the kick and when Lookman took a long run it looked as though he would go for power, but instead he stuttered his run and appeared to kick the ground before the ball as he attempted to out-fox Fabianski.
The attempt was so poor that Fabianski, who had begun to move one way, had time to re-shuffle his position and make the easiest of catches, the ball barely reaching him.