Newcastle United 1-1 West Ham United
Premier League, St James' Park, Saturday 4 February 2023, 5.30pm GMT
West Ham United may not have won the Blaydon Races, but they pushed Newcastle United all the way to a photo finish to secure a 1-1 Premier League draw at St James' Park.
Playing on the road for the fifth time in six matches in 2023 on Saturday evening, the Hammers were disciplined, organised, dangerous on the counter and scored from a set piece through Paquetá’s second goal for the Club.
The Brazilian’s strike cancelled out Callum Wilson’s early opener, ended Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope’s three-month long Premier League clean sheet and earned his team a hard-earned point.
A keenly contested game played in a superb atmosphere at St James’ Park could have gone either way, but in the end it went neither.
Before kick-off, Declan Rice drew the ire of the home fans by making Newcastle attack the Gallowgate End in the first half, but it would not be long before those Toon Army jeers turned to cheers.
Newcastle’s fast start should have come as no surprise, but West Ham were still caught in the stalls in the North East.
Indeed, only a VAR check which decreed the ball had just gone out before Miguel Almirón cut it back for Joe Willock to net denied Newcastle a goal within 45 seconds.
The cheers from the travelling supporters had hardly died down when the Irons’ defence was breached again, and this time there was no reprieve.
Joelinton robbed fellow Brazilian Paquetá on halfway and Sean Longstaff released Wilson through the heart of the West Ham defence.
For the tenth time in 12 appearances against the Hammers, the England centre-forward found the back of the net.
St James’ Park erupted for a second time and, with confidence brimming, the Magpies spent the next ten minutes hovering around the visitors’ penalty area before the Irons finally got going.
Michail Antonio saw one shot blocked by Sven Botman, before the Dutchman was poleaxed by a rasping drive from Paquetá, Saïd Benrahma ended a promising move by lifting high over Pope’s crossbar. At the other end, Fabian Schär clipped narrowly wide from a set piece.
Pope had not conceded a Premier League goal in three months, but his goal was becoming increasingly threatened as Paquetá’s low shot was deflected inches wide just after the half-hour mark. From the resulting corner, 574 minutes after he was last beaten in the top-flight, the England goalkeeper was finally picking the ball out of his net. Rice’s delivery flicked off a black and white shirt and fell to the Brazilian at the far post, he controlled and fired in.
The No11 celebrated with a somersault and a trademark dance on the pitch, while the West Ham fans exploded high up in the Leazes Stand.
West Ham were level, and now they were on top, with Rice and goalscorer Paquetá dominating the midfield and their teammates snapping into challenges all over the field. Moments before half-time, the visitors could have led, but Nayed Aguerd’s header from Vladimír Coufal’s free-kick went too high and the teams went in level.
The Moroccan had the first chance of the second half, too, glancing Benrahma’s in-swinging delivery wide.
It would have been too much to expect West Ham to continue to dominate against a team unbeaten at home all season, though, and it took a smart block from Coufal to keep out Saint-Maximin’s low volley, before Joelinton was rightly booked for diving inside the penalty area by referee Peter Bankes.
Both managers then went to their respective substitutes’ benches, with Howe bringing on Anthony Gordon for his debut and Moyes, who had replaced hamstring injury victim Thilo Kehrer with Ben Johnson at half-time, sending on Pablo Fornals and Tomáš Souček.
Minutes later, Gordon played in Wilson but, for once, he did not take his chance as Aguerd raced back to make a sensational, inch-perfect tackle to deny the striker, who then headed a free-kick straight at Łukasz Fabiański.
Newcastle’s pressure was growing. Gordon’s shot was blocked wide by Bowen, then Sven Botman headed the resulting corner over.
That was as close as the Magpies came, though, and lots o’ lads an’ lassies in Claret and Blue went back down the Scotswood Road, if not aal wi’ smiling faces, but certainly feeling content with a deserved share of the spoils.
Newcastle United: Pope, Trippier ©, Schär, Botman, Burn, S.Longstaff, Willock (Anderson 81), Joelinton, Almirón (Murphy 81), Saint-Maximin (Gordon 69), Wilson
Subs not used: Dubravka (GK), Lewis, Dummett, Lascelles, Ritchie, Fraser
Goal: Wilson 3
Booked: Saint-Maximin, Joelinton
West Ham United: Fabiański, Coufal (Downes 90+1), Kehrer (Johnson 46), Ogbonna, Aguerd, Emerson, Rice ©, Paquetá (Souček 74), Benrahma (Fornals 74), Bowen, Antonio (Ings 80)
Subs not used: Anang (GK), Hegyi (GK), Cresswell, Lanzini
Goals Paquetá 32
Referee: Peter Bankes