Newcastle 2-2 West Ham: Jonjo Shelvey’s equaliser denies visitors
Newcastle United twice came from behind to deny relegation-threatened West Ham a second consecutive Premier League victory for the first time since August.
The Hammers took the lead for the second time when Tomas Soucek fired in from close range, but the Magpies drew level just 92 seconds later through Jonjo Shelvey.
Buoyed by their recent victory over Chelsea, the Hammers started brightly and took an early lead at St James’ Park when Michail Antonio pounced on Jamaal Lascelles’ loose touch to open the scoring.
The hosts responded well and drew level when Miguel Almiron converted Emil Krafth’s low cross from close range.
Substitute Andriy Yarmolenko – whose goal sealed victory over the Blues on Wednesday – came closest to finding another late winner, but his stinging strike was well kept out by Martin Dubravka.
West Ham remain 16th in the table and move four points clear of the relegation zone after ending their run of seven consecutive away defeats in the top flight, while Newcastle stay 12th.
A valuable point, but an opportunity missed
West Ham were surprise winners over London rivals and Champions League-chasing Chelsea in their last outing, but they will feel this was an opportunity missed in the north east of England.
Antonio played a vital role in the win over the Blues and his physical presence and relentless running provides David Moyes’s side with a focal point to their attack.
With the game just four minutes old, the Hammers fired the ball to Antonio straight from the back. It was played wide to Jarrod Bowen, who delivered the cross for the lone striker to fire his second goal in as many games into the roof of the net, after Lascelles failed to clear the danger.
The second goal was equally reliant on instinct as Soucek reacted quickest to smash the rebound past Dubravka after captain Declan Rice’s powerful header clattered off the crossbar.
But teams are always most vulnerable just after scoring, and a lapse in concentration by Pablo Fornals played Dwight Gayle onside in the build-up to Shelvey’s equaliser just moments later.
West Ham have now lost 24 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side, but on recent evidence they should have enough to remain in the division.
Below par Saint-Maximin under the spotlight
Newcastle are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches and quietly going about their business under Steve Bruce, with a top 10 finish in their sights.
Allan Saint-Maximin has been crucial to the Magpies’ progress since Project restart, with three assists in the heavy victory over Bournemouth last time around.
The skilful Frenchman is exciting on the ball and he is the first player his team-mates look for in possession, but he took a knock towards the end of the first half and struggled to find any rhythm against the Hammers.
He showed glimpses, drawing a foul as he skipped past Rice in the first half, and played a role in spreading the ball wide for his side’s opener, but he had clearly been identified as the danger man and was the subject of special attention by the visitors.
Rice was never far away from the Newcastle number 10 and the visiting captain did well to lunge in and win the ball in a firm challenge in the second half, as Saint-Maximin set off having knocked the ball past the Englishman.
Paraguay attacking midfielder Almiron is beginning to look more comfortable in the black and white shirt, and having only scored twice in his first 40 Premier League appearances, he now has two in as many games.
But 23-year-old Frenchman Saint-Maximin is their talisman, and if he has a quiet game Bruce’s side lack potency in attack – they only managed four shots on target all game on Sunday.