BRIGHTON, England (Reuters) – West Ham United’s fading hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four suffered another setback when they were held to a 1-1 draw at lowly Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.
The result left West Ham sixth on 59 points from 36 games, five adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with two matches left and one behind fifth-placed Liverpool who have a game in hand.
Danny Welbeck fired Brighton into an 83rd-minute lead against the run of play with his 50th Premier League goal before substitute Said Benrahma levelled with a superb shot from the edge of the area in the 87th.
West Ham forward Pablo Fornals was denied by a last-gasp tackle by Pascal Gross as the visitors upped the tempo in the closing stages of the first half.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh twice went close for Brighton after the break, firing wide from a tight angle after West keeper Lukasz Fabianski had parried the midfielder’s fierce shot moments earlier.
When the match seemed to be heading for a goalless draw, Welbeck stunned the Hammers with a dinked finish but Brighton’s joy was short-lived as Benrahma picked up a loose ball and curled it past home keeper Robert Sanchez.
Brighton stayed 17th in the table on 38 points.
(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond)