A much improved performance saw Newcastle United pick up a point at Upton Park after playing out a 0-0 draw at a ground which has been notoriously tricky for visiting teams this term.
Indeed United could have bagged more than just a point had Papiss Cisse’s first-half effort been adjudged to have crossed the line and been awarded as a goal. Rightly or wrongly it wasn’t given and a point had to do in the end.
If you look at our result in isolation a point away at West Ham wasn’t a poor result, but wins for sides above and below us, especially Wigan winning at West Brom, mean that nerves are starting to jangle a bit louder here in the North East.
With Moussa Sissoko missing United lined up in a 4-3-3 formation which did at least show some attacking intent, but it was West Ham who had the first attack although Mohamed Diame’s shot was blasted wildly over the crossbar. United responded and had their own half-chance soon after as Hatem Ben Arfa fired in a free-kick from the wide right which landed on top of the net rather than inside it.
The game ebbed and flowed with neither side really threatening in attack although there was a moment of controversy as Yohan Cabaye played in Papiss Cisse who rolled the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen only to see Winston Reid hook the ball off the line. Cisse was adamant it was over and TV replays proved inconclusive, aside from a replay from one angle which showed that the ball looked to have crossed the line.
Hatem Ben Arfa then had another soon after as he burst into the West Ham box but his tame shot was easily dealt with by the West Ham goalkeeper. United had probably had the better of the first-half but it remained all-square at half-time.
Half-time: West Ham 0-0 Newcastle
The second-half started with Andy Carroll nodding a cross from Matt Jarvis wide of the goal before once again United responded as Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa rolled the ball to Yohan Cabaye who say his long-range drive fly just wide of Jaaskelainen’s post. Hatem Ben Arfa the curled a frekick into the arms of the West Ham ‘keeper.
The away side had Rob Elliot to thank for keeping the score at 0-0 as he kept out Kevin Nolan with a fine double-save before denying Matt Jarvis with another fine save to his right.
Just two minutes after that though United were handed another chance as Yoan Gouffran advanced forward and knocked the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen who had come out of goal in an attempt to deal with the danger. With space running out Gouffran was forced to shoot from a narrow angle and his effort bobbled just wide of the post.
Both teams pressed at times but neither was able to break the deadlock in what was a match that lacked any real quality. A point gained but it doesn’t feel like it due to results elsewhere.
Full-time: West Ham 0-0 Newcastle
It’s now looking like we are going to be the third side relegated and we’ll be joining Reading and QPR in the Championship next season. These are dark times at Newcastle and I can’t see it sending any time soon. Suffice to say I’d buckle your seatbelts as it’s going to be a bumpy few years.
That might be an understatement…
West Ham: Jussi Jaaskelainen; Joey O’Brien, Winston Reid, James Collins, Guy Demel; Gary O’Neill, Mohamed Diame, Kevin Nolan, Matt Jarvis; Ricardo Vaz Te, Andy Carroll
Subs: Stephen Henderson, Emanuel Pogatetz, Matt Taylor, Mark Noble, Jack Collison, Joe Cole, Carlton Cole
Newcastle: Rob Elliot; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa; Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse, Yoan Gouffran
Subs: Steve Harper, Mike Williamson, James Perch, Dan Gosling, Vurnon Anita, Adam Campbell, Shola Ameobi