|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Cheikhou Kouyaté denies Norwich City with late equaliser for West Ham United
Alan Smith at Upton Park
Date Published Saturday 26 September 2015
West Ham United’s curious season continues. They look unbeatable away from home in the league but here their record reads one win, two defeats, and now one draw – even if this point garnered at the death felt like a victory. It was a game that could have gone either way, with a plethora of chances for both sides, but after Nathan Redmond’s 83rd-minute goal had looked like giving the visitors three points Cheikhou Kouyaté responded in the third minute of injury time to ensure a share of the spoils.
For Norwich City it was another decent result on the road, added to last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Liverpool. Though they have won one of their past 15 trips in the top flight, the Canaries have lost once away from Carrow Road since Alex Neil took charge last season. “It was a great game, both teams wanted to attack,” he said. “I was really pleased with the lads but when you concede with a minute and 30 seconds left you’re going to be disappointed. That’s the overwhelming feeling in the dressing room.”
It is increasingly difficult to put your finger on what Slaven Bilic’s West Ham are exactly about. Becoming the fourth team in the Premier League to win away at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City in the same season brings an inevitable and perhaps uncomfortable level of expectancy. Again they appeared listless for the opening half-hour of a home game before getting their act together.
“It was a fair result,” the former Croatia manager said. “We are never happy when we don’t win at home but this point makes me proud. The players showed character and quality.”
Robbie Brady’s opening goal can be filed under needless concession after Mark Noble passed across his defence instead of clearing from a throw-in. His ball towards James Tomkins was too soft. Brady nipped in and with Tomkins sliding desperately in an attempt to retrieve possession the Norwich player advanced, sending a low finish past Adrián.
West Ham looked sluggish and allowed Norwich to control the tempo but profligacy stopped the visitors from extending their lead. Jonny Howson volleyed narrowly over having wandered into the box unnoticed and Cameron Jerome found the side-netting after Brady cut the defence open.
“They were disappointing [misses] but when you look at the game as a whole, I’m really pleased,” Neil said.
The home supporters were growing restless, but their side levelled after 33 minutes. Diafra Sakho spotted Dimitri Payet free to his right and hooked a pass to the Premier League’s new king of assists. Payet strode down the flank before sending a low cross in. Sakho’s run was timed to perfection and he coolly slotted home.
With their tails up, Manuel Lanzini went inches from putting West Ham in front with a 25-yard free-kick and he had a pot shot that almost deflected in off Russell Martin.
Norwich remained a live danger and Howson was denied from 25 yards by Adrián’s fingertips early in the second-half. Adrián also made a brave save with his face to deny a point-blank strike from Jerome, described by Bilic as “unbelievable”.
At the opposite end Sakho went close with two headers and Payet and Kouyaté missed the target, but with the clock ticking it was time to shuffle the pack. Andy Carroll was flung on in place of Lanzini and joined Sakho up front.
But it was a Norwich substitute who made an instant impact. Redmond’s low effort taking one hop en route to the bottom right corner after Wes Hoolahan’s pass allowed him the chance to dribble into the box and pick his spot.
West Ham went close twice in the final minute of normal time but just as hope began to fade, Kouyaté was on hand to bundle home with his right foot after a scramble following a Payet free-kick where Carroll got in the way of Ruddy.