Newcastle United 2-2 West Ham
The points shared at St James Park was perhaps a fair result with the Magpies bossing for long spells but having to come from behind twice to save a point.
A goal inside 4 minus from Antonio, one what Lascelles could and should have cleared, would not make for pleasant watching in the opening exchanges in this one.
But from this point on it really was the Newcastle United show in the first half. Dominating possession and creating a clutch of half chances they would find away through the West Ham rear guard in the 17th minute, with Almiron finishing at the near post after a lovely cross from Krafth.
After a much calmer opening period of the second half West Ham would finally get their noses ahead again, with Soucek scoring from a Hammers corner.
Give it 80 seconds though and Shelvey would equalise again. This time Cresswell paling everyone on side at left back as Shelvey and Gayle playing a one-two before the midfielder finished neatly.
With Burnley and Sheffield United in the lunch time kick off there was the chance for Newcastle to climb above Everton into 11th in the table and just 3 points off the Sheffield club in the last of the possible Europa League spot (depending on the Manchester City European ban appeal expected this month).
Two changes for Newcastle United before this one. With Sean Longstaff ruled out with injury and Bentaleb reverting to the bench after putting in a great shift last time out, in came Almiron and Hayden from the start.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Krafth, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo, Hayden (Bentaleb, 43), Shelvey, Almiron, Saint-Maximin (Lazaro, 68), Gayle (Ritchie, 68), Joelinton (Carroll, 80)
The perfect start for West Ham as within 4 minutes. Antonio played a nice layoff in the centre of the park before racing into the box to get on the end of a Bowen cross for the easiest of finishes. Only Lascelles will know how he managed to let the ball pass through his legs in front of goal and not make the easiest of clearances that would have prevented the goal.
Newcastle had a big shout for a penalty on 8 minutes, when Shelvey’s drive went into the arm of Ogbonna. Probably the correct decision not to give anything with the defender keeping his arm at this side.
Moments later Fabianski would be called into action from a set piece. This time a free-kick for Gayle fired under the wall from 25 yards with the keeper pushing the ball to safety.
The Magpies would start dominating possession after the early goal, the Hammers always looking dangerous on the break however.
But it would be Newcastle who would draw next blood. Saint-Maximin picking the ball up and driving at the West Ham back line before releasing Krafth down the right. His first time cross would find a wonderful near post run from Almiron who had the easiest of jobs to stab home to equalise for the home side.
Just before the 20 minute mark there was almost a goal direct from a Newcastle corner. Shelvey whipping the ball into the box, and with several players jumping yet missing the ball in front of the West Ham keeper, Fabianski managed to stick out a hand to palm the ball into a crowded area before finally being hacked away.
Dubravka would be forced into rare action on 31 minutes when Bowen got on the end of a fantastic centre as the Hammers mounted a rare foray forward. Brilliant reactions from the big man who’d had nothing to do but pick the ball out of his goal in those opening moments.
1-1, half time.
A bright start to the second half saw Almiron go close with a long range effort, but the game soon calmed down into a more settled rhythm. West Ham certainly seemed to have more intent in the early stages, with Bruce’s men not having the same urgency but with a clam foothold in the game.
The next goal starting to look like it might be the decider as the clock ticked past the hour mark.
And it was West Ham who got it. Having forced a corner the ball was whipped into the Newcastle box and eventually found it’s way to Thomas Soucek who struck from 5 yards out.
But again, Newcastle would strike back in even quicker fashion this time. Within 90 seconds of the restart Shelvey exchanged passes with Gayle who slotted in his midfield maestro who fired in another equaliser.
2-2 in the blink of an eye!
And despite some later pressure from the visitors as they went in hunt for a winner, there was no way through at either end.
Points shared. Up to 43 points. Safe as houses!