No matter what they say, this was not the European competition David Moyes wanted.
West Ham arrived on the south coast, knowing they had already been guaranteed a place in Europe the following season.
Seventh place was their Europa Conference League prize, but a friendly final day switcheroo would have seen them jump to sixth place and return to the Europa League.
All the Hammers needed was to beat Brighton at Amex and hope Crystal Palace denied Manchester United all three points.
The Palace did its job. Moyes’ men stumbled at the last hurdle.
Certainly, European football for a second consecutive season is nothing to be smelled of, especially as West Ham struggled with relegation a few years ago.
But the Europa League – where he made so many great memories this year to reach the semi-finals – was within his grasp after Michael Antonio fired in the first-half opener.
Yet second-half attacks from Joel Veltman, Pascal Gross and Danny Welbeck crushed those dreams of a better next campaign.
Meanwhile an impressive home win saw Graham Potter’s men just five points from West Ham in ninth place their highest love interest.
Unsurprisingly, Moyes retained the same starting XI last time around in his team’s impressive 2-2 draw with Manchester City at the London Stadium.
Retired Captain Mark Noble in his 550 . were on the bench hoping to maketh And the last appearance for the club while the injured Saeed Benrahma was abandoned altogether.
Brighton made just one change with Leandro Trossard after taking a knock against Leeds, with Adam Webster coming in a back three.
Needing a win to end their season on a high, history was against West Ham having previously failed to win any of their nine love meetings with Brighton.
Six of those were draws, and their 10 . early stages ofth The top-flight clash had all the other’s earnings in the seaside sun.
The Hammers may still be playing for something, but their relaxed start said something else, with just 31 per cent possession in the opening 15 minutes.
Moises Caicedo was in the thick of things – fresh from his surprise goal here against Man United – as he tested Fabianski’s palms with little effort.
The Ecuadorian was gifted more space on the edge of West Ham’s box before tumbling down Mark Cucurella for a blocking attempt.
Moyes was feathering at his team’s lack of enthusiasm to catch the ball and affect play without it.
The atmosphere also needed something spicy, and that came from the far end as the news was filtered into 37th Minute of the Palace is taking the lead at Selhurst Park.
And three minutes later, they were cheering for their team as Antonio patted Lewis Dunk right out of the box with a Vladimir Koffel throw-in.
The 32-year-old hit it with his laces in the top corner off Robert Sanchez for West Ham’s first shot on target.
Amazingly, Strike 56 . But Antonio’s first love goal was from outside the box.th While it also took their season tally to 10.
The goal sparked wild complaints from the hosts for a foul on the dunk in the build-up.
Replays showed the Gals center back – all 6ft 4 of his – went down in the pile with very little contact.
Perhaps an inept lead, and Brighton came out to a completely different beast in the second half thanks to Neil Maupay’s half-time switch for Yves Bisouma.
The French striker immediately wreaked havoc on the West Ham backline and gave Potter 50. rewarded withth Minute Equalizer.
Soli March controlled the ball brilliantly into the box only to set up Veltman, whose shot went down Fabiansky’s body.
One forgotten for a Polish keeper, and one that prompted Brighton to kill.
Cucurella slipped into Maupe in the six-yard box, but was eventually cleared by Aaron Cresswell, while Danny Welbeck closed after 1-2 with Pascal Gross.
West Ham were living life dangerously, clinging to any counter-attack they could spring from the other end with little success or power.
Moyes, including Noble, was preparing to react by making three changes with 10 minutes left, but Gross thwarted his plans by finding the net.
With a fed to goal by Welbeck, Gross easily replaced Tomas Sousek and this time Fabianski got no chance from 18 yards.
Noble, Andrey Yarmolenko and Ben Johnson went ahead regardless, only to see Welbeck head injury-time third in stoppage time.