Hammers left frustrated by improving Magpies

Brian Jeeves

West Ham United v Newcastle United – Premier League – London Stadium – Report

West Ham United 1-1 Newcastle United

Frustrating West Ham United allowed another opportunity slip as resurgent Newcastle United snatched a share of the spoils, putting a spanner in the hosts’ ambitions of a top-four finish.

Recent form has flattered to deceive, while fans remain inquisitive following an inactive transfer window. Nevertheless, David Moyes insisted all was well within the West Ham camp: “The atmosphere among the team has always been good here,” the Scotsman enthused. 

“One of the biggest things we have is a really good team spirit and a group of lads who are resilient. They’ve shown that again last week in their performance against Leicester, coming from behind. They showed it in the game against Kidderminster too, when we still needed resilience and team spirit to get through there.

“We keep bobbing along, we want to improve our performances, but we have a really good spirit around the squad.@

Moyes made three changes to the side that had started at Leicester a week previous. Ryan Fredericks, Kurt Zouma and Saïd Benrahma all returned while Vladimír Coufal, Issa Diop and Manuel Lanzini missed out. Diop, named amongst the substitutes.

But it was Newcastle – unbeaten in five – who started brightly. Joe Willock, Jacob Murphy and Ryan Fraser went close in the opening minutes. 

Michail Antonio dithered after Said Benrahma had teed him up as the East Londoners probed. Jarrod Bowen went even closer, Martin Dubravka tipping his venomous attempt onto the face of the bar after Ryan Fredericks had provided an opportunity from the right.

But West Ham had found their feet and shortly after the half-hour mark, they took the lead. Craig Dawson had saved the day at the King Power Stadium. This time he met Aaron Cresswell’s delightful dead-ball delivery with a powerful header. Dubravka was powerless as the central defender wheeled away in delight.

Dubravka clung on at the foot of an upright after Bowen had fired goalwards. But having seemingly taken control of the game, West Ham were to be pegged back in first-half stoppage-time. Willock directed the ball in via a post after Declan Rice had misjudged and misguided his defensive header inside the six-yard box. The ball crept over the line before Lukasz Fabianski could intervene. 

The game fell a little flat after the restart. Willock’s curling effort was a whisker away. Meanwhile, the Hammers threat remained minimal, with Bowen and Antonio either frustrated or frustrating in their attempts to restore the hosts earlier advantage.

Frustration amongst the home crowd continued to soar. Bowen’s calls for a spot-kick fell on deaf ears after a coming together with Schar. Meanwhile, Tomas Soucek was off target after Antonio had powered forward. 

Perhaps a little harshly, West Ham left the field to boos from sections of the audience. However, their anxiety is understandable as a promising campaign stands at a crossroad with energy amongst Moyes’ squad appearing to be at a premium.

West Ham United return to Premier League action on Sunday, February 27 when Wolverhampton Wanderers visit the London Stadium (2pm).

West Ham United: Fabiański, Fredericks (Johnson 46′), Dawson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice (Capt), Souček, Bowen, Benrahma (Vlašić 72′), Fornals, Antonio Subs not used: Areola (GK), Diop, Alese, Noble, Král, Chesters, Yarmolenko

Booked: Ryan Fredericks (foul), Pablo Fornals (foul), Jarrod Bowen (dissent) 

Goals: Craig Dawson 32′

Newcastle United: Dubravka, Targett, Schär, Burn, Krafth, Shelvey (Capt), Willock (Bruno Guimarães 88′), Murphy, Joelinton, Fraser (Almirön 79′), Wood Subs not used: Darlow (GK), Dummett, Lascelles, Fernández, Gayle, S. Longstaff, de Bolle

Booked: Matt Krafth (foul), Ryan Fraser (foul), Dan Burn (foul)

Goals: Joe Willock 45+1′

Referee: Chris Kavanagh

Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis and James Mainwaring

Fourth Oficial: Graham Scott

VAR: Jarred Gillett

Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard

Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk