Tyneside Tragedy For Hammers

West Ham United thought they had claimed their seventh away win of the season at St James’ Park in today’s early kick-off however, they let their two-goal advantage slip when leading 1-3 to lose 4-3.

With Edson Álvarez missing through suspension, David Moyes made one change to the team that drew 1-1 at home to Aston Villa before the international break as James Ward-Prowse was restored to the starting line-up. Maxwel Cornet had returned from injury to take his place on the bench, while youngsters George Earthy and Divin Mubama were also named amongst the substitutes.

Having had a last-minute goal ruled out by VAR thirteen days ago, the visitors made the worst possible start to this game, as Vladimír Coufal fouled Anthony Gordon and referee Robert Jones had no hesitation in awarding the Magpies a penalty. Before it was taken though, there was a lengthy VAR check to determine whether the former Everton youngster was offside but it was evident that he wasn’t and Alexander Isak beat Alphonse Areola to open the scoring.

The Swede had the chance to double the lead for Eddie Howe’s side but sent his next effort over the bar.

Although Michail Antonio did likewise up the other end seconds later, he did atone for it with twenty one minutes played. A great team move ended with him racing to get on the end of Lucas Paquetá’s pass and slotted the ball past home goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka.

Jarrod Bowen then forced Dúbravka into action but unfortunately, the Czech claimed the ball. Gordon then had a chance for the hosts but his effort went narrowly wide, before Sean Longstaff fired a shot in Areola’s direction but in truth, it was easy for the Frenchman to hold onto.

The game didn’t really get into any sort of rhythm in the first-half, due to the amount of breaks in play. This meant that ten minutes were added to the opening forty five, meaning there was still time for more chances to be created and the tempo of the encounter showed no sign of letting up.

The East Londoners survived a scare when an effort from Bruno Guimarães hit the crossbar, then they missed an opportunity themselves when Paquetá headed over. However, the Brazilian midfielder was then at the heart of the move that created West Ham’s second goal. The visitors moved quickly when a free-kick was awarded to them and he played the ball to Bowen, who in turn set up Mohammed Kudus to put the ball past Dúbravka.

The Irons started the month by overturning a one-goal deficit to earn all three points at Everton. Now they were ahead, could they do the same here?

Areola seemed to have picked up an injury before the break which forced Moyes into his first change, as Łukasz Fabiański had to come on.

In complete contrast to the start of the game, the visitors made the perfect start when the teams reemerged from the dressing rooms for the second-half. Just three minutes after the restart, Kudus evaded two challenges and played in Bowen, who ran into the area and put his team further in front.

Newcastle have had a real problem with injuries this season and they picked up more in this match. Substitute Miguel Almirón, who had earlier replaced Tino Livramento in the fifty sixth minute was injured and had to be taken off, meaning Harvey Barnes made his long-awaited return to action.

Moyes decided to make his second substitution with just over twenty minutes of normal time to play. The Scotsman had obviously decided that the lead they had built for themselves was big enough to withdraw Antonio and bring on Kalvin Phillips.

It would be fair to say that Phillips has not had the best of times since moving to East London on loan from Manchester City in January and just eight minutes after his introduction, he was adjudged to have fouled Gordon and Jones awarded a penalty. Another lengthy VAR check ensued and it was eventually decided that Jones should review his decision on the pitchside monitor. Many spectators, whether they were inside the stadium, or watching at home thought the decision was rather harsh but they now had to hope that Fabiański would save Isak’s spot kick. Unfortunately, he didn’t, meaning Howe’s men were now within one goal of drawing level!!!

Six minutes later, the scenario that the travelling support were fearing became a reality. The introduction of the former Leicester City man had given the majority inside the stadium a real boost and they were sent into raptures when he somehow managed to fashion an equaliser when West Ham seemed to be in the driving seat.

Having given the game away, in an effort to now try and keep hold of a point, a third substitution was made by the Irons with Ben Johnson replacing Ward-Prowse.

The game entered eight minutes of stoppage time and having made sure of at least a point for the Toon Army, he then produced a rocket of a shot that finally saw off the East Londoners.

Having just got themselves back into the game and dealt with the numerous injuries they had suffered as the afternoon progressed, there was more misery for the home side when Gordon was needlessly sent-off for kicking the ball away.

The Hammers had a golden chance to equalise but Tomáš Souček wasted it when he took the ball on his chest and unfortunately only sent it into the side netting. The Czech midfielder would have been better heading into the net.

Now, desperate to get a point out of the game, Moyes sent on Danny Ings for Coufal.

The final whistle was blown and West Ham will now have to pick themselves up ready for a massive occasion under the lights in Stratford on Tuesday night when they face a London derby against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur and believe me, they will be up for it!!!