By George Overhill

16th Jan, 2022 | 2:46pm

Alan Smith blames Aaron Cresswell for early Leeds United goal at West Ham

Aaron Cresswell was to blame for the situation that lead to Leeds United’s opening goal at West Ham on Sunday, according to Alan Smith.

Jack Harrison smashed in a 10th-minute strike at the London Stadium after the Hammers’ recently-returning left-back failed to deal with a long ball forward.

Speaking live on the Sky Sports match commentary, Smith said: “It’s a great goal for Leeds isn’t it? But so unlike West Ham to get done by a long ball.

“Cresswell sees it coming but gets it all wrong to allow Raphinha in behind”.

Lacking sharpness

The English left-back only returned from a lengthy injury absence that formed part of a personnel crisis in defence for David Moyes.

The 32-year-old missed 10 straight games before featuring in mid-week against Norwich City.

And with Moyes opting to go with the same starting XI that featured in that game, Cresswell has been thrown back in at the deep end this week.

It could perhaps be put down to a lack of match fitness that the former-England international was not sharp enough to cut out the long ball forward.

Although keeper Lucasz Fabianski made a sharp save from the initial chance that followed, Adam Forshaw was able to turn the ball back for Harrison to finish.

Cresswell was hardly alone in starting the game sluggishly as West Ham looked to be feeling the effects of a third game in eight days.

The visitors were soon forced to make a double substitution as their own injury crisis deepened once more.

Forshaw and Junior Firpo both had to be replaced mid-way through the first half, after which the home side found their feet and began to create good chances.

Man in form Jarrod Bowen drew the Hammers level soon after with yet another goal in the 34th minute.

In other West Ham news, the club reportedly will not join a bidding war for this PL star.