|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Jonjo Shelvey salvages point for Newcastle to deny West Ham
Louise Taylor at St James' Park
Date Published Sun 5 Jul 2020 16.31 BST
As David Moyes watched his West Ham players inch a little further away from the Premier League cliff edge, Steve Bruce completed another satisfactory mini-audition in front of a Saudi Arabian television audience.
The Saudi-dominated consortium who hope to complete a £300m takeover of Newcastle must decide whether to retain Bruce as manager. On this entertaining evidence the answer must surely be affirmative. Any coach capable of bringing the best out of Allan Saint-Maximin – again a vibrant presence – should not be discarded lightly.
Moyes’s future at West Ham is shrouded in similar uncertainty but his side have clambered to 16th, still vulnerable to relegation but four points clear of the bottom three. If only Andriy Yarmolenko had been deemed fit enough to start, an away victory might have beckoned. Yet even without the Ukrainian’s catalytic inspiration the London side twice took the lead.
“I was sickened by Newcastle’s second equaliser,” said Moyes. “But Newcastle made if difficult and we did a good job. We grew into the game. I’m really pleased with the point but disappointed not to win.”
Jamaal Lascelles only started after passing a late fitness test. By the fourth minute Newcastle’s captain and key central defender probably wished he had failed it. Lascelles got his feet in an awful tangle when Jarrod Bowen crossed low and, having neglected to make the necessary interception, watched in mortification as Michail Antonio took a touch before lashing the ball beyond Martin Dubravka. Hats off though to Pablo Fornals for the intelligent pass to Bowen that initiated everything.
Newcastle responded by dominating possession, with Saint-Maximin’s dribbles an increasing source of technical-area consternation for Moyes. One particular move involving the French winger dodging three markers seemed to spread a high degree of uncertainty among West Ham’s desperately back-pedalling defence.
When Saint Maximin switched from left to right the sense of confusion heightened, setting the scene for Newcastle’s 17th-minute equaliser. Appropriately it began with a clever burst of acceleration and pass from Saint-Maximin, who drew Aaron Cresswell out of position and played in the overlapping Emil Krafth. All that remained was for the Sweden right-back to cross for the impressive Miguel Almirón to tap in from close range at the near post.
The refreshingly kaleidoscopic passing and movement preceding that leveller emphasised the dramatic improvement in Bruce’s side since his switch to a back four and more attacking mindset shortly before lockdown.
This form of tactical de-confinement has not only liberated Saint-Maximin to cause chaos among opposition ranks and the reborn Krafth to overlap but has highlighted Jonjo Shelvey’s strengths too. The midfielder, who interested West Ham last summer, revelled in being able to control play from deep, unhinging West Ham’s rearguard with incisive long passes.
Newcastle sustained a ferocious tempo but, rising to the challenge, their guests rallied as half-time approached and began playing with a similar intensity. Almost imperceptibly, Bruce’s players morphed from omnipotence to being on the brink of losing control and Dubravka reacted smartly to toe Bowen’s low shot to safety.
It did not help Bruce’s cause that Isaac Hayden limped off shortly before the break. He had been excellent in midfield, protecting Shelvey and making several important challenges.
Tomas Soucek restored West Ham’s lead in the 65th minute with his second goal in two games, It came from a corner, won and then superbly taken by Ryan Fredericks before Declan Rice powered a fabulous header against the bar and Soucek volleyed in the rebound.
The visitors’ wavering concentration levels soon wiped the smile from Moyes’s face. A mere two minutes separated Soucek’s celebrations and Shelvey guiding a shot into the bottom corner. As West Ham’s backline played statues, Shelvey connected with a pass from Joelinton – so much more effective in a left-sided attacking role than at centre-forward – before exchanging passes with Dwight Gayle and side-footing into the bottom corner past Lukasz Fabianski. Fornals protested vehemently that the goal should be disallowed for offside – which was rather rich considering he had played Gayle on.
Yarmolenko, simultaneously exerting a transformative effect on his West Ham teammates and stretching Newcastle to the limit after stepping off the bench, forced Dubravka into a decent save but a draw felt right. “It’s probably a fair result,” said Bruce. “I was pleased with our response to their goals.”
Daily Mail: MATCH FACTS:
Newcastle XI: Dubravka, Krafth, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo, Shelvey, Hayden (Bentaleb 43'), Saint-Maximin (Lazaro 69'), Almiron, Joelinton (Carroll 81'), Gayle (Ritchie 70').
Unused Subs: Schar, Yedlin, Darlow, Rose, Matthew Longstaff.
Goals: Almiron 17', Shelvey 67'.
West Ham XI: Fabianski, Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Bowen, Fornals (Yarmolenko 75'), Lanzini (Noble 57'), Antonio.
Unused Subs: Balbuena, Wilshere, Masuaku, Ajeti, Xande Silva, Randolph, Johnson.
Goals: Antonio 4', Soucek 66'.