|match review copied from www.sportinglife.com|
West Ham United 0 Newcastle United 0
Newcastle's Barclays Premier League status remains in the balance as they left Upton Park with only a share of the spoils following a mundane goalless draw with West Ham.
With fellow relegation candidates Wigan and Aston Villa picking up wins away from home, Alan Pardew's side are now just three points clear of the bottom three and the 18th-placed Latics have a game in hand.
Papiss Cisse came closest to breaking the deadlock on an afternoon of few clear-cut opportunities, with the Senegal international seeing a first-half effort cleared off the line by Winston Reid.
Having shipped six goals at home to Liverpool last weekend, the Magpies were shored up at the back with the return of captain Fabricio Coloccini from a knee injury that had sidelined him since February 24.
They never looked like leaking as many goals as they did seven days ago but Rob Elliot made crucial second-half saves from Kevin Nolan and Matt Jarvis.
In a first half that offered little in the way of chances, West Ham, who named an unchanged line-up for the fourth game in succession, forced the first opportunity of the afternoon when Mohamed Diame linked up well with Ricardo Vaz Te before firing over Elliot's crossbar.
Newcastle responded well as Hatem Ben Arfa, starting his first game since March 7, almost caught West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen off guard as he fired in a free-kick from an acute angle that fizzed over the top.
Cisse went within inches of opening the scoring just before the midway point of the first half after he latched on to Yohan Cabaye's ball and poked a shot past Jaaskelainen.
It looked to be enough to give the visitors a crucial lead but Reid managed to hack the ball away, with assistant referee Matthew Wilkes adjudging that the whole of the ball had not crossed the line.
Moments later Ben Arfa powered through the Hammers' defence but his shot was too close to Jaaskelainen, who saved with ease.
Former Newcastle forward Andy Carroll had his first chance of the game just three minutes after half-time but the Liverpool loanee could not punish his hometown club as he headed Matt Jarvis' cross wide from five yards.
Cabaye then flashed a long-range effort wide with neither side providing enough quality in the final third, although the West Ham bench were up in arms shortly afterwards, wanting a penalty as Coloccini leaned into Vaz Te but referee Phil Dowd was unmoved.
Dowd again turned down appeals from the home side for a spot-kick when Carroll and Danny Simpson challenged for the ball, with the rebound leading to Nolan having a shot well saved by Elliot, who then tipped Matt Jarvis' effort behind.
Jaaskelainen was caught in no-man's land with 24 minutes remaining but Yoan Gouffran could not convert from a tight angle on the left-hand side of the area.
Carroll was starting to feed on the improved service he was receiving from his team-mates and a clever turn and near-post shot forced another good save out of Elliot as West Ham pushed for the opening goal.
The England striker's header from a West Ham corner eight minutes from time led to a goalmouth scramble that was eventually hooked away by the visitors' defence.
But the former St James's Park favourite could not find a way through and both sides had to settle for a point which suits West Ham much more than Newcastle.