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Randolph Keeps Clean Sheet In Hammers Win: Randolph played his first game for West Ham in over a year after a Fabianski injury.
Darren Randolph made a rare first-team appearance for West Ham Friday night in their one-nil win over Everton. The Irish keeper has only played a handful of games since returning to London after his move from Middlesbrough last January.
The Bray native has been unable to knock first choice keeper Fabianski off his perch and make a statement. He got just that chance to lay a claim when Fabianski got injured in the warmup, minutes before kick off.
Randolph knew from that moment he’d start and insisted he was ready.
“I found out I was playing during the warmup, so I was just doing the usual routine and had to follow on from whatever Lukasz was doing.
“It was just a normal preparation as far as that was concerned, so I just got back in the dressing room, got changed, and was ready to go.
This would be the first game the Irish keeper had played in the league in over a year for the Hammers. Last January, a four-one defeat to Leicester was the last time the Bray man had been between the sticks in a league game.
However, unlike most second-choice keepers, he is the first choice at International level, which stands him in good stead. West Ham came into their game against David Moyes’s former side in eleventh place on twenty-three points.
Moyes has had a torrid time against Everton since his departure with his different teams, winning one from twelve encounters. This match kicked off the first topflight game of 2021 and what followed was a dull encounter.
A Quiet Night For The Keeper
It was a game of few chances with Everton rarely testing the Irishman in goal. The thirty-three-year-old sprang into action only on two occasions during the ninety minutes. The first coming in the forty-third minute from a Bernard volley from outside the box.
Randolph got down low, making a fairly routine save to keep it at nil-nil going into halftime. The second attempt coming from a low driven shot from Everton captain Seamus Coleman midway through the second half.
His shot was straight down the throat of the keeper who looked calm and composed. With the game looking destined for a stale draw, the Hammers broke the deadlock in the dying minutes.
A wildly mishit Cresswell shot bypassed the Everton defence, firing at the feet of striker Soucek who helped it in. Ancelotti’s men stood motionless, assuming the offside flag would be raised however, the goal stood.
Soucek’s eighty-fifth goal proved decisive as the Hammers emerged one-nil victors on the day. The win moves Moyes side up one spot into tenth place in the table ahead of Arsenal.
The loss for Everton halts their five game winning streak as they looked to move into third place. It was sheer delight of a clean sheet and all three points as Randolph talked to interviewers from the club’s website afterwards:
“We’ve come here, got the three points and it’s a great start to the New Year,”
“I didn’t have a lot to do in the game and I’ll take that on a night like tonight to get three points and keep a clean sheet.”.
Randolph will hope his clean sheet was enough to retain his place when they entertain Burnley in their next fixture.
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