West Ham 1 Newcastle 1: Joe Willock rescues point for Toon to ease relegation fears and dent Hammers' top-four hopes

WEST HAM dropped yet more points in their quest for Champions League football next season against a dogged Newcastle side.

Craig Dawson scored for the second game in a row in the 32nd minute to give the Hammers an undeserving lead after a sloppy start.

But Joe Willock’s toe-poke after Declan Rice’s blunder just before the break earned the Toon what could be a vital point – but perhaps should have come away with more.

David Moyes’ men missed the chance to go fourth with a second successive draw.

The top four race is now be out of their hands having played more games than Manchester United, Arsenal, Wolves and Tottenham.

Eddie Howe’s Newcastle meanwhile remain out of the bottom three and undefeated in six games – last losing on December 19th.

Both sides made three changes. Newcastle’s were arguably more hard-hitting with Allan Saint-Maximin missing out after picking up a knock against Aston Villa.

Before this one, the Toon had just a 12 per cent win rate without Saint-Maximin since he joined the club in 2019.



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The Frenchman is also the Prem’s leading dribbler with 105 successful take-ons so far this season – the closest to him being Tottenham’s Lucas Moura and Leeds’ Raphinha with 48.

As for West Ham, Manuel Lanzini and Vladimir Coufal also missed out through injury.

Kurt Zouma returned to the starting line-up after dropping out of their 2-2 draw away at Leicester in the warm-up with illness.

Despite his presence at the back, the Hammers were shaky from the off with Newcastle unfortunate not to go ahead in the opening 10 minutes.

A free-kick towards the far post was fired goalwards by Joelinton after nicking it off Declan Rice only for Lukasz Fabianski to deny him.

From the following corner, a goalmouth scramble saw Willock have a deflected effort blaze the bar.

West Ham awoke from their slumber however with Said Benhrama, Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen all linking up well

Bowen’s persistence down the right ended in an effort from a tight angle that was tipped onto the bar by Martin Dubravka.

It looked as though set pieces would be the answer for West Ham. Since David Moyes’ arrival, only Liverpool have scored more goals from corners in the Prem.

But the opener came from a free-kick, their 11th of the campaign – only Liverpool and Manchester City have more.

Aaron Cresswell’s whipped in delivery was on the money, Newcastle’s line was way too high and Dawson ran from deep unmarked to head past Dubravka.

But like the start of the half, the Hammers fell asleep at the end as Rice’s attempt to head away a Ryan Fraser cross was abysmal, ending up going back towards his own goal.

Willock pounced, getting in front of Dawson to toe poke past Fabianski, who could only watch as it hit the post and dribbled across the line before edging over.

Willock’s first goal of the season sent the travelling 3,000 Toon fans barmy.

Moyes made a change at the break – Ben Johnson on for Ryan Fredericks at right back with the latter being on a yellow card.

Yet that did nothing to avoid yet another sloppy half on the ball, while Newcastle could have grabbed a late winner but for a toothless second half attacking display.

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