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‘Friday Night action’ Newcastle v Hammers :-)



Allen Cummings ‘reporting’ from St James’ Park


It was a case of ‘Friday Night Football’ for West Ham this week, as the Hammers travelled to the distant north east to face Newcastle United, courtesy of Sky Sports scheduling.

With still some work to do to ensure their own Premier League safety, Newcastle had made themselves very difficult to beat in recent weeks.

Memories of great Geordie strikers of the past in the shape of Shearer, Macdonald, Beardsley and Milburn had been sacrificed by Steve Bruce as he’d shaped his Newcastle team, first and foremost, into a solid defensive unit.

West Ham were forced into making two changes to the side that had beaten Chelsea, both Declan Rice and Pablo Fornals having been unable to shake off knocks. So Mark Noble and Robert Snodgrass were drafted in by David Moyes.

Slow to get his shot away

The Hammers had been tormented by the pace of Allan Saint-Maximin in the Magpie’s 3-2 victory at the London Stadium earlier in the season, and the flying Frenchman quickly showed he could be a thorn in our side again with an early darting run that finished with a weak shot comfortably collected by Lukasz Fabianski.

Jarrod Bowen was again looking lively, and linked well with Sebastien Haller before setting up Michail Antonio for a header that flashed just wide.

Nobes, maybe looking a little ring-rusty after not getting much game-time in recent weeks, was caught napping just inside his own half. Thankfully Almiron wasted the opportunity presented him by overrunning the ball, and Issa Diop gratefully cleaned up.

There was just time for Angelo Ogbonna to connect sweetly with a typical pin-point Snodgrass free kick, but his direction was wrong and the ball sailed harmlessly over the bar.

Half time: 0-0

We needed to see more from Haller and Antonio as an attacking force in the second half. They did combine nicely once, but big Seb was slow getting his shot away and the opportunity came to nothing.

The more the game went on the more likely it looked like ending in stalemate – neither side showing the adventure or inventiveness needed to take all three points. Unsurprisingly at the final whistle the game finished as it had started.

In fairness an uninspiring 90 minutes, but after the euphoria of back-to-back London derby victories, Hammers fans will be relatively happy with another valuable point. Now their choice was a night out on the ‘toon’ or the long journey home.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon