LONDON (AP) — Michail Antonio underlined his importance to West Ham by scoring the winning goal for the second time in four days as his team beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 in the Premier League on Tuesday.
The powerful forward is recently back from a hamstring injury and netted the only goal in a victory over Burnley on Saturday on the first start since his return.
Against West Brom, Antonio met a header back across the six-yard box from Andriy Yarmolenko with a volley on the turn that found the bottom corner in the 66th minute, earning West Ham its third straight win in the league. All have come by one-goal margins.
West Brom, which is in next-to-last place, was looking to back up its 3-2 victory over Wolverhampton on Saturday and its two-goal scorer that day – Matheus Pereira – was on target again with the 51st-minute equalizer against West Ham from the edge of the area.
That canceled out Jarrod Bowen’s opener in first-half stoppage time, when he chested home from close range after Vladimir Coufal drove the ball across the face of the six-yard box.
Antonio is the only senior striker available to West Ham manager David Moyes following the sale of Sebastien Haller to Ajax last week. However, the 30-year-old Antonio is susceptible to picking up injuries so Moyes is handling him with care, bringing him off in the 83rd minute given that he played the full game against Burnley.
Antonio has been eased back into action, coming on as a substitute against Southampton and Everton over the festive period and playing in the win over Rochdale in the FA Cup last week.
West Brom did not field Robert Snodgrass for the game following his transfer from West Ham two weeks ago, with West Brom manager Sam Allardyce saying there was »an agreement between the clubs that this game he would not be allowed to play.»
The Premier League is looking into the circumstances surrounding what West Ham is portraying as a »gentleman’s agreement.»
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports