|match review copied from www.sportinglife.com|
Newcastle United 0 West Ham United 0
Substitute Sammy Ameobi came within inches of salvaging three priceless points for Newcastle but under-pressure Magpies boss Alan Pardew had to settle for a grim stalemate against West Ham at St James's Park.
Ameobi's injury-time cross caught the inside of Jussi Jaaskelainen's post and bounced back out to Yoan Gouffran who somehow contrived to spoon the rebound over the bar from point-blank range.
The near-miss summed up the frustrations of the home side who once again started without Frenchman Yohan Cabaye in their matchday squad and failed to muster a single shot on target through the afternoon.
Former Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce stretched his record of never having lost at his former club since his departure, but will have left the north east frustrated at not having taken all three points in a game his side edged.
Winston Reid, Kevin Nolan and substitute Joe Cole all missed good chances before the Hammers briefly thought they had won it themselves in the 89th minute when a Modibo Maiga tap-in was ruled out for offside.
The home side's best chances fell to Hatem Ben Arfa, who hit a couple of free-kicks well wide, and a misplaced back-pass by Reid which trickled inches past the post with keeper Jaaskelainen beaten.
The Hammers had looked sharper from the start, winning a third minute corner which was flicked on to the far post where the lively Reid poked a shot towards goal which was blocked by Vurnon Anita.
The home side's first foray forward in the seventh minute was brought to an end by James Collins' foul on Ben Arfa, and the same player stepped up to scoop his dangerous-looking free-kick way over the bar.
Mohamed Diame was posing the home side some threat down the right but they came closest after 13 minutes when Anita played the ball towards Papiss Cisse and Reid's interception trickled inches past his own post with Jaaskelainen beaten.
Despite that near miss the visitors continued to shade the opening exchanges, and might have gone ahead five minutes later when Guy Demel dug out a cross from deep on the right but Maiga could not quite connect in front of goal.
Ben Arfa continued to be at the centre of most of Newcastle's attacking moves, screwing a hopeful effort wide in the 25th minute, while Reid had another chance at the other end, stretching for a flick-on by Maiga only for home keeper Tim Krul to get there first.
The darkening sky gave way to rain at the start of the second half and it was the Hammers who had the first chance, Stewart Downing bursting through down the left flank but hitting his shot straight at Krul after good work from Fabricio Coloccini to jostle him out wide.
Sylvain Marveaux belatedly stirred the home fans by surging into the box after a neat one-two with Ameobi, but the Frenchman slipped as he bustled past Collins and an all-too-rare opportunity for the hosts went begging.
But the Hammers had arguably the best chance of the game on the hour when Downing found space to cross from the right and the ball deflected wide off Nolan's shoulder when the former Newcastle man really should have scored.
Allardyce made his first change in the 63rd minute, replacing debutant Downing with Cole, while Newcastle soon followed suit by bringing on Ameobi for Marveaux - a change greeted with some displeasure by the home fans.
A series of further substitutions included the 75th minute introduction of Ravel Morrison for his Premier League debut, but it was fellow sub Cole who almost won it when he screwed a rising 82nd minute effort inches wide.
After Maiga briefly thought he had clinched it for the visitors there was even later drama when Ameobi came so close to easing the pressure on Pardew.