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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Saturday, 10 January 2009

Newcastle 2-2 West Ham

By Paul Fletcher

Andy Carroll equalised with his first Premier League goal
West Ham struggled to contain Carroll's aerial presence

Andy Carroll scored his first Premier League goal to equalise for Newcastle and prevent his team from slipping to a third straight league defeat.

Michael Owen struck the post before his 20-yard strike put the Magpies ahead.

Craig Bellamy equalised with a composed finish from 10 yards, while Shay Given made an unbelievable save from Jack Collison after the break.

Carlton Cole put West Ham in front with a vicious close-range strike before Carroll headed his team level.

The Hammers and Newcastle are the subject of intense speculation, with several key players at both clubs strongly linked with moves during the transfer window.

But they cast aside their off-the-pitch uncertainty to produce an entertaining game in which the quality of attacking play was far in excess of the respective defensive displays.

Magpies showed real character - Hughton

The draw was probably a fair result for the 300th Premier League game to be played at St James' Park.

And as well as stopping the rot at Newcastle it meant that West Ham failed in their attempt to win three straight Premier League fixtures for the first time under Gianfranco Zola.

In many ways it was a game of contrasts - with Newcastle often searching out tall striker Carroll, while the visitors looked to play the ball down the channels for Bellamy - but both teams were united by their desire to attack.

James Collins struggled to contain the aerial threat posed by 20-year-old Carroll but it was Owen who first threatened the Hammers goal.

His first touch from Jonas Gutierrez's low pass completely wrong-footed Collins and the striker was unlucky not to score when his low strike across goal defeated Rob Green but not the woodwork.

Collins then lost his balance as Owen closed in on goal and the striker had the time to pick his spot from 20 yards, with his low strike putting the home team in front.

Carroll should have extended his team's lead after Danny Guthrie picked him out at the far post with a deft cross but the unmarked striker found the side netting with his header.

Zola happy with Hammers' away form

Bellamy was repeatedly caught offside but timed his run to perfection for his goal, latching on to Scott Parker's deft pass before lifting the ball over Given.

Mark Noble ought to have put the Hammers ahead after a long ball forward caught out the Newcastle defence but Given made a good block and Bellamy hit the side netting from an acute angle with the rebound.

Zola's team were superb in the early minutes of the second half and and they were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Sebastien Bassong clearly impeded Bellamy.

Given then made an amazing save to deny Collison, who looked stunned that his eight-yard effort had not found the net.

The away team's dominance was rewarded when Herita Ilunga's through ball was controlled by Cole with his first touch and smashed into the roof of the net with his second for his fourth goal in as many games.

The hosts were awakened from their second-half inertia after conceding and thought they had equalised when Hammers skipper Lucas Neill quite spectacularly miscued a volley that flew into the roof of the West Ham goal.

606: DEBATE

However, referee Alan Wiley ruled out the goal for a shove on Collins by Steven Taylor.

The equaliser eventually came when Carroll struck.

Gutierrez and Duff worked the ball well down the left, with the latter crossing for the young striker to head the ball past Green.

Matthew Upson made a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny Gutierrez in injury-time and ensure a share of the spoils for his team.


Newcastle assistant boss Chris Hughton:
"Andy's made a very telling contribution in the two games he's played and I was very pleased he got the goal.

"You always want to claim three points at home but in the period when we were 2-1 down they were always a threat up front.

"And at that point you'd probably have settled for a draw."

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola:
"It was an excellent game.

"If we had come out with three points nobody could have said a word about it because the performance we put on this afternoon was excellent.

"To be fair we played against a team that did not want to lose and they got a late goal.

"Bellamy and Cole are on fire and that is making the difference."


Newcastle: Given, Taylor, Coloccini, Bassong, Jose Enrique, Gutierrez, Guthrie, Geremi (N'Zogbia 62), Duff, Owen, Carroll.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Xisco, Kadar, Edgar, LuaLua, Donaldson.

Booked: Guthrie.

Goals: Owen 19, Carroll 78.

West Ham: Green, Neill, Collins, Upson, Ilunga, Behrami, Parker, Noble (Mullins 86), Collison (Boa Morte 76), Cole, Bellamy (Di Michele 81).
Subs Not Used: Stech, Faubert, Tristan, Tomkins.

Goals: Bellamy 29, Cole 55.

Att: 47,571

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Newcastle's Shay Given 7.88 (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.



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see also
Zola keen to keep West Ham stars
10 Jan 09 |  West Ham
Saturday's football photos
10 Jan 09 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
10 Jan 09 |  Premier League


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