Newcastle United are still searching for their first goal of the season after their opening home game of the new campaign ended in a goalless draw with West Ham.
But the Geordies were left rueing a glorious chance to win the match in stoppage time when Yoan Gouffran missed from inside the six-yard box after Sammy Ameobi’s cross had hit the inside of the post.
At the other end, the visitors had the ball in the net in the second half, but Modibo Maiga’s effort from a deflected Ravel Morrison effort was chalked off thanks to an offside flag.
Once again, Alan Pardew’s side were without French international Yohan Cabaye, who refused to play for the second time in a week, as reported by Lee Ryder in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.
The likes of Cheick Tioté, Steven Taylor and Jonás Gutiérrez were also missing from the Toon’s starting XI, while West Ham boss Sam Allardyce made just one change to the side that beat Cardiff on the opening day of the season.
The Hammers created a number of chances and should have grabbed the lead on the hour mark when new signing Stewart Downing whipped in a dangerous cross, but former Magpies skipper Kevin Nolan headed wide.
Newcastle need to isolate Ben Arfa against a full-back having him run against three physical midfielders is doing very little.— Kristan Heneage (@KHeneage) August 24, 2013
Substitute Joe Cole also saw a fizzing shot fly inches over the bar, while Newcastle, who failed to register a single shot on target, were restricted to long-range efforts from danger man Hatem Ben Arfa in the first half.
Winston Reid almost gifted the home side the lead when he played the ball towards his own goal under pressure from Papiss Cissé, but the New Zealander breathed a sigh of relief as the ball trickled just inches wide.
But it was Allardyce who was left disappointed at the end of the game, and speaking in an interview with BBC Sport, the former Newcastle manager felt his side should have been heading back to London with a win under its belt.
“It’s really disappointing to have had three golden chances,” he said, “and then we got a goal that would have killed off Newcastle but that was ruled offside, although that was probably correct.
Sadly our creative qualities were there, but there was nobody on the end to finish it off and make us go home very, very happy with three points instead of one.”
3 years ago we lost to Newcastle 5-0 today we drew 0-0 and could have won,we have come a long way in that time and we will get stronger. dg— David Gold (@davidgold) August 24, 2013
Key Player Grades
Fabricio Coloccini: B
As is often the case, Argentine international Fabricio Coloccini played a key role in earning Newcastle a clean sheet on Saturday.
His commanding presence alongside Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was vital to the stability of the back four, and the 31-year-old’s performance underlined his importance to Alan Pardew’s side.
Kevin Nolan: C
Former Toon favourite Kevin Nolan scored the winner in the corresponding fixture at St. James’ Park last season, and the West Ham captain knows he should have repeated that feat on Saturday.
His eagerness to get forward was evident throughout, and though the ex-Bolton man didn’t stamp his usual authority on proceedings, he still posed a big threat to the home side.
Vurnon Anita: B+
Shorn of a regular place in Newcastle’s starting XI last season, Vurnon Anita grabbed his opportunity with both hands against West Ham in the absence of Cheick Tioté and Yohan Cabaye.
The little Dutchman showed great composure in the middle of the park and rarely gave the ball away. His passing was crisp and precise, and in a game that was often bogged down by the direct style of both teams, he was arguably the best player on the pitch.
Newcastle United Grades
Position Player Grade
GK Tim Krul C
DF Mathieu Debuchy D-
DF Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa C
DF Fabricio Coloccini B
DF Davide Santon C
MD Hatem Ben Arfa C
MD Vurnon Anita B+
MD Moussa Sissoko D
MD Sylvain Marveaux D
FW Shola Ameobi D-
FW Papiss Cissé D-
MD Sammy Ameobi D
FW Yoan Gouffran C-
West Ham United Grades
Position Player Grade
GK Jussi Jaaskelainen C
DF Guy Demel D+
DF James Collins C+
DF Winston Reid C
DF Joey O’Brien D
MF Mark Noble C-
MF Mohamed Diame D
MF Matt Jarvis C+
MF Kevin Nolan C
MF Stewart Downing D
FW Modibo Maiga D-
MF Ravel Morrison C-
MF Joe Cole C
In the same competition, West Ham United are at home against Cheltenham Town on Tuesday, who also hail from League Two. The Hammers will be looking to improve on last season’s showing, where they were beaten 4-1 by Wigan in Round 3.