Result: West Ham United come from behind to beat Man Utd in Boleyn Ground farewell
West Ham United produced a late comeback to beat Manchester United 3-2 in the final ever match at the Boleyn Ground this evening.
A second-half Anthony Martial brace had put the visitors in front as they looked to spoil the party, but quickfire goals from Michail Antonio and Winston Reid ensured that the Hammers said goodbye to their home of 112 years in winning style.
The result lifts West Ham back up to fifth in the table and leaves Europa League qualification in their own hands, whereas Manchester United missed the chance to move fourth and must now rely on Manchester City slipping up on the final day to clinch Champions League football next season.
Kickoff was delayed by 45 minutes after the visitors’ coach was attacked on the way to the stadium by West Ham fans, but that didn’t dampen the mood of the supporters and the game finally got underway amidst a deafening atmosphere.
It took just 10 minutes for the hosts to mark stadium’s farewell with an opening goal as Aaron Cresswellfound Manuel Lanzini, who in turn slid a low cross into the box that Diafra Sakho swept home, with the help of a deflection off Daley Blind.
Home favourite Mark Noble almost took the roof off the stadium when he attempted a first-time 25-yard volley from a corner shortly afterwards, but his shot hit a defender and Angelo Ogbonna could only fire the loose ball over the top.
Dimitri Payet then had his first sight of goal when he was teed up by Andy Carroll on the edge of the area, but he didn’t catch his shot right and the tame effort rolled straight into the arms of David de Gea.
The hosts should have doubled their advantage just one minute later when Blind played Carroll onside and allowed the striker to race clean through on goal, but once again De Gea came to the visitors’ rescue by thwarting the England international.
Roared on by the incessant noise from the home fans, West Ham continued to dominate proceedings and had the ball in the back of the net again in the 21st minute, only for Antonio’s close-range finish to be disallowed after the cross was adjudged to have gone out of play on its way into the box.
Lanzini was the next to threaten with a low 25-yard strike that skimmed past the post, before Noble caught Martial in possession and found Payet, who cut inside his man but then got his finish all wrong by blazing high and wide of the target when well placed.
The visitors had to wait until 10 minutes before half time for their first hint of a chance as Wayne Rooneyswung a cross in towards Marcus Rashford, but the youngster could not connect with the ball at the near post despite getting in front of his man.
There was one more chance for the home side in the first half when Sakho rose unchallenged in the area from a corner, but he glanced his header wide as the Hammers were forced to settle for a one-goal lead going into the break.
Payet had the first sight of goal in the second half with an ambitious volley, but the hosts were made to rue their missed chances just six minutes after the restart when Martial tapped home at the far post after Darren Randolph had tipped Juan Mata‘s low cross into his path.
West Ham were soon back on the attack, though, and after Payet rippled the side-netting with a curling low effort the Frenchman turned provider by swinging a cross into the box that an unmarked Sakho could not convert when attempting an awkward stooping header.
Carroll was proving to be a constant aerial threat, and he almost regained his side’s lead when he planted a header towards the corner, only to see it cleared off the line by Martial.
The United youngster was proving to have a big impact at both ends of the field, and he gave United the lead with just under 20 minutes remaining when he outpaced Reid before what looked like a mis-hit cross eluded Randolph and found the back of the net.
The visitors were ahead for just four minutes before West Ham levelled things up again, though, with Payet producing an inch-perfect pass at the second attempt for Antonio to glance past De Gea.
An already deafening Upton Park was cranked up a few more notches when the hosts completed the turnaround just five minutes later, with Payet again providing the assist as his free kick was nodded in by Reid, whose header De Gea was unable to keep out despite getting a hand to the ball.
It proved to be the last ever goal at the stadium as Reid wrote his name into West Ham folklore, with the hosts holding out for the closing nine minutes to clinch their first Premier League victory over Manchester United in their last 15 attempts.
The result means that victory for West Ham away to Stoke City on the final day will guarantee a place in the Europa League next season, while Man Utd need a win against Bournemouth and for Manchester City to lose away to Swansea City if they are to finish in the top four.
The Red Devils could even finish as low as eighth should results go against them at the weekend, while West Ham will be looking for any slip-ups from Louis van Gaal‘s side with only one point separating the two teams after tonight’s result.