West Ham 2-3 Newcastle United
A crazy afternoon at the London Stadium.
Whilst the United front line continue to misfire the same can’t be said for those coming up from the back. Three (3) goals on the road for Newcastle today was the first time they’d managed more than one in a game all season. Clark, Fernandez and a direct free-kick from Shelvey being the difference.
And despite Balbuena getting one back late on from a corner and then a second from Robert Snodgrass in injury time, that would be enough for Bruce and his men to gain the most unlikely of results.
This, a second away success of the season, will come as a huge boost and move United clear of the drop zone and bizarrely just a point behind Man U.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Willems (Dummett, 87), Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Atsu, 75), Almiron, Joelinton (Carroll, 89)
A return for Shelvey and Hayden in the centre of midfield, coming in for the suspended Sean Longstaff and his younger brother who drops to the bench.
A very good start form United seemed to unsettle the West Ham players and
When a team starts well they need to capitalise. And Newcastle certainly did.
First a Shelvey free kick to the far post would be headed brilliantly back across the area by Joelinton allowing Clark to nod home.
And it that would send the travelling Magpies mental on 16 minutes, then just 6 minutes later they were in early ecstasy. This time a short free-kick from Shelvey to Willems would be thumped over the West Ham back line and with the Hammers keeper going walk about Fernandez could nod home for Newcastle’s second.
Moments later it could, and should, have been three. A ball playing in Saint-Maximin saw the Newcastle winger race clear one-on-one with Jimenez but the West Ham keeper would save easily with his feet. Chance wasted.
Those few moments would provide United with two goals in a single game for the first time this season.
Something seemed wrong with West Ham in the first half. A fifty-fifty between Dubravka and Yarmolenko saw the latter bottle a challenge completely. Unacceptable for a professional.
Moments later it should have been game over again. Saint-Maximin raced clear again and after his initial effort was saved his ball squared to Almiron was a pretty simple tap in, but instead only managed to hit the keeper. He won’t get a chance better than that to break his duck. Unbelievable. The ball then found its way to Shelvey who’s drive hit the angle of post and bar.
Quite how the game was not over with 35 minutes gone!! Crazy.
Into the second half and Newcastle needed to start like they did in the first.
And they obliged through a Shelvey free kick just 6 minutes after the break. Almiron once more felled to allow the chance from the set piece but this time Shelvey went straight for goal and finding the bottom corner beautifully.
Just moments before the Shelvey strike Yedlin thought he’d scored. A ‘linesmans’ flag and a subsequent VAR check confirming no goal.
The pace of Almiron and the constant and direct threat of Saint-Maximin had been the difference between the sides throughout. The latter in particular a constant thorn in the side of West Ham. Brilliant but for the final ball which his performance deserved.
As the game moved past the hour it was becoming end to end. The home side pressing hard for something, anything. Newcastle relying on their pace with more goals seeming inevitable.
On 71 minutes West Ham would get one back. After Fernandez had nodded behind for a corner the resultant set piece would get a nick in the box before finding its way to Balbuena to head home and give the home team hope.
It was looking like a good professional end to the game with some time wasting and Bruce’s men slowing up play but in injury time there was still time for Snodgrass to grab another to make a nervy last few seconds, but United hold on.