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Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 17:11 UK

West Ham 2-2 Newcastle

By David McIntyre

Kevin Keegan praised his young defence

Newcastle came back from 2-0 down to earn a point at Upton Park.

George McCartney's left-wing cross was volleyed home by Mark Noble before Dean Ashton fired in West Ham's second after being found by Bobby Zamora's flick-on.

But Obafemi Martins scored with the Magpies' first real attack when he finished calmly after latching on to Joey Barton's ball over the top.

And Geremi diverted Martins' shot into the net with his shoulder to haul Newcastle level just before half-time.

It was a remarkable turnaround because West Ham were in complete control, with Newcastle looking a shadow of the team that were unbeaten in six matches prior to their visit to east London.

Full-back McCartney caused them major problems on the left flank and had already served up two dangerous early crosses before setting up Noble's third goal of the season.

Alan Curbishley feels his side will finish the season strongly

West Ham suffered a setback when Freddie Ljungberg was stretchered off with a suspected cracked rib after Magpies defender Steven Taylor accidently stepped on him while running towards the ball.

The home side managed to maintain their dominance and went further ahead on 23 minutes.

Zamora headed keeper Robert Green's long kick on to Ashton, who held off David Edgar before finding the bottom corner of the net.

But two goals in three minutes brought Newcastle back into the match.

They were given hope when Martins got behind young defender James Tomkins to collect Barton's long pass and shoot past Green.

West Ham's defensive frailties were then exposed again when they failed to clear Habib Beye's right-wing cross and Martins pounced on the loose ball to strike a shot that hit Geremi and went in.


Kevin Keegan's men had to defend for much of the second half but West Ham were unable to regain the lead.

Luis Boa Morte, who replaced Ljunberg, sent a shot wide of the target with the stretching Zamora just unable to add the touch that would have guided the ball into the net.

Referee Uriah Rennie ignored West Ham's appeals for a penalty after Zamora's shot seemed to hit Taylor's arm, before keeper Steve Harper did well to tip over Ashton's 15-yard drive.

But for all West Ham's pressure, it was Newcastle who came closest to scoring a late winner.

Again it was Martins who caused panic in the Hammers penalty area, this time shrugging off Lucas Neill and testing Green with a low shot the England international brilliantly pushed away at his left-hand post.

  • West Ham manager Alan Curbishley:
    "I asked for a response from the fans and they got behind the players right from the first minute.

    "The fans have a vital role to play and the players responded to them. We played ever so well for 40 minutes and just got caught.

    "In the second half I was pleased that we dug in, and we could have won it with the chances we had."

  • Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan:
    "David Edgar had a tough game and I was pleased with him, because he really had to fight.

    "He's had to have stitches and is a proper centre-back now he's got a scar. As the game wore on he looked more and more comfortable and by the end he looked at home as a Premier League defender.

    "It was an open game of football and I think a draw was the right result in the end."

    West Ham: Green, Pantsil, Tomkins, Neill, McCartney, Faubert (Solano 90), Parker, Noble, Ljungberg (Boa Morte 21), Zamora (Cole 68), Ashton.
    Subs Not Used: Walker, Mullins.

    Booked: Faubert, Pantsil.

    Goals: Noble 10, Ashton 23.

    Newcastle: Harper, Beye, Edgar (Diatta 90), Taylor, Jose Enrique, Geremi, Butt, Barton, Owen, Viduka (Smith 82), Martins.
    Subs Not Used: Forster, Duff, Carroll.

    Booked: Beye, Butt, Martins.

    Goals: Martins 42, Geremi 45.

    Att: 34,980

    Ref: Uriah Rennie (S Yorkshire).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Obafemi Martins: 8.08 (on 90 minutes).

    Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

    see also
    Saturday's football photos
    26 Apr 08 |  Football
    Premier League as it happened
    26 Apr 08 |  Premier League
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day

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