West Ham manager David Moyes said his side may have to fight to the last kick of the season to survive after twice surrendering the lead to draw at Newcastle.
Buoyed by their recent victory over Chelsea, the Hammers were rewarded for their bright start at St James’ Park when Michail Antonio pounced on Jamaal Lascelles’ loose touch to open the scoring, before the hosts drew level after Miguel Almiron converted Emil Krafth’s low cross from close range.
The Hammers went in front for the second time when Tomas Soucek fired in from close range, but the Magpies equalised again just 92 seconds later through Jonjo Shelvey.
“I have to say the players are showing great fight and we’re going to go right to the end,” said Moyes. “This league could easily go right to the last game of the season – we understand that and we’re prepared for that if it has to be done.
“But we’re trying to make sure that we can do it as quickly as possible.
“We’re in a group of games where we think we have got chances of picking up points. If you turned it around and we had got a point against Chelsea and three against Newcastle today, I think people would have said it was a great return.”
Substitute Andriy Yarmolenko – whose goal sealed victory over the Blues on Wednesday – came closest to finding another late winner, but his stinging strike was well kept out by Martin Dubravka.
West Ham remain 16th in the table and move four points clear of the relegation zone after ending their run of seven consecutive away defeats in the top flight, while Newcastle stay 12th.
A valuable point, but an opportunity missed
West Ham were surprise winners over London rivals and Champions League-chasing Chelsea in their last outing, but they will feel this was an opportunity missed to claim only their fourth away win of the season.
Antonio played a vital role in the win over the Blues and his physical presence and relentless running provides David Moyes’s side with a focal point to their attack.
With the game just four minutes old, the Hammers fired the ball to Antonio straight from the back. It was played wide to Jarrod Bowen, who delivered the cross for the lone striker to fire his second goal in as many games into the roof of the net, after Lascelles failed to clear the danger.
The second goal was equally reliant on instinct as Soucek reacted quickest to smash the rebound past Dubravka after Declan Rice’s powerful header clattered off the crossbar from a corner.
But teams are always most vulnerable just after scoring, and a lapse in concentration by Pablo Fornals played Dwight Gayle onside in the build-up to Shelvey’s equaliser just moments later.
West Ham have now lost 24 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side, but on recent evidence they should have enough to remain in the division.
Below par Saint-Maximin under the spotlight
Newcastle are unbeaten in their last six Premier League matches and quietly going about their business under Steve Bruce, with a top 10 finish in their sights.
Allan Saint-Maximin has been crucial to the Magpies’ progress since Project restart, with three assists in the heavy victory over Bournemouth last time around.
The skilful Frenchman is exciting on the ball and he is the first player his team-mates look for in possession, but he took a knock towards the end of the first half and struggled to find any rhythm against the Hammers.
He showed glimpses, drawing a foul as he skipped past opposition skipper Rice in the first half, and playing a role in spreading the ball wide for his side’s opener, but he had clearly been identified as the danger man and was the subject of special attention by the visitors.
Rice was never far away from the Newcastle number 10 and the visiting captain did well to lunge in and win the ball in a firm challenge in the second half, as Saint-Maximin set off having knocked the ball past the Englishman.
Paraguay attacking midfielder Almiron is beginning to look more comfortable in the black and white shirt, and having only scored twice in his first 40 Premier League appearances, he now has two in as many games.
But 23-year-old Frenchman Saint-Maximin is their talisman, and if he has a quiet game Bruce’s side lack potency in attack – they only managed four shots on target all game on Sunday.
Man of the match – Declan Rice (West Ham)
‘The run continues’ – what they said
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce told BBC Sport: “I was delighted the way we have come back twice. We didn’t start well and we knew they would be a threat from set-pieces. We have managed to dig deep and find a reaction, which doesn’t surprise me with the way the players are. The run continues and deservedly so.
“The draw was probably a fair result. West Ham were a very well-organised team and you would not expect anything different from David Moyes. They are fighting for their lives so their defensive organisation set them up well and they are a big powerful side.
“The players have enjoyed a change in formation and system but we still have to do things better. We have five points to go to beat the [points] tally from last year, and that has to be the aim. But if somebody had said to us we would have taken 40 points with five games to play, we would have snatched their hands off.”
West Ham manager David Moyes told BBC Sport: “The second goal, especially, was a disappointment because we have conceded within a minute of scoring.
“Newcastle are playing with an air of confidence and you have seen that in the results. First half, they made it hard for us, but we grew into the game. We are disappointed, but we are not completely upset we have come away from here with a point because it’s not a bad point.
“I cannot fault the players for what they have given and we probably had two or three chances to win it, but we take the point and move on.”
Another draw at St James’ Park – the stats
- Newcastle have had more home draws than any other team in the Premier League this season (8), with this being their most in a single campaign since 2010-11 (also eight).
- Despite losing their lead on two occasions, West Ham have gone consecutive games without defeat in the Premier League for the first time since September 2019.
- Newcastle have scored 10 goals in four games since the Premier League season restarted, as many as they netted in their previous 14 league games before the break.
- Michail Antonio’s opener for West Ham was his 30th goal in the Premier League, with 100% of them coming from inside the box – this is also the first time he has scored in back-to-back league games since April 2019.
- Miguel Almiron became the first Newcastle player to reach 10 goal involvements across all competitions this season, having scored eight and provided two assists.
- Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey scored his sixth goal of the Premier League campaign, equalling his previous-best return in a top-flight season (six goals in 2013-14).
Newcastle travel to Manchester City on Wednesday, 8 July (18:00 BST), while West Ham host Burnley at the same time.