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Newcastle United earned their first point of the new Barclays Premier League season as they were held to a 0-0 draw by West Ham United.
Alan Pardew, who enjoyed a three-year spell as West Ham manager, went head-to-head with Sam Allardyce, who was hoping to guide the Londoners to a second successive win against the side he left in 2008. It was the latter who will have been the happier of the two managers, though, as his charges produced a professional, defensive display to claim a point.
Newcastle made four changes to the team that was dismantled 4-0 by Manchester City on Monday, Davide Santon, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux and Shola Ameobi coming into the side, with Yohan Cabaye again absent. Stewart Downing was named in West Ham's starting line-up for the first time since joining from Liverpool, while Kevin Nolan lined up against his former club.
Newcastle went closest to finding an early breakthrough after 12 minutes, but in fortuitous circumstances. Defender Winston Reid attempted a backpass that drifted narrowly wide of a post after Papiss Cisse had failed to latch on to a through-ball from Anita. The visitors almost netted at the right end just five minutes later, though, Modibo Maiga glancing a header wide after good work down the right from Guy Demel.
Pardew's side dictated the play in midfield, but it was West Ham who created the better chances in the first half, Reid latching on to a Maiga flick-on to fire over from close range midway through the first half. Chances continued to come and go in an entertaining opening period, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa heading over at the near post from a Marveaux corner before Downing failed to direct an excellent left-wing cross from Matt Jarvis into the bottom corner.
Newcastle could not break the visiting defence down before the break, but they approached the second half with renewed vigour as they upped the tempo in search of the opener. Again it was West Ham who crafted the better openings, Downing forcing a near-post save from Tim Krul before Nolan headed over from point-blank range.
Both managers rung the changes in the hope of engineering a positive impact in the closing stages, Sammy Ameobi and Yoan Gouffran came on for Marveaux and Cisse for Newcastle, while Allardyce threw on Joe Cole and Ravel Morrison for the visitors.
Newcastle showed the greater ambition, with Hatem Ben Arfa at the focal point of most of their attacks but, despite their relative superiority, they were unable to significantly test Jussi Jaaskelainen.
West Ham finished the stronger, though, substitute Cole curling over the bar seven minutes from time, before Maiga had the ball in the net, only to see his strike ruled out for offside. There was still time for more late drama as Sammy Ameobi struck a post with a deep cross and Gouffran somehow spooned the rebound over the bar from four yards.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "Sammy hit a great little cross and I thought it was in, then it came back on the wrong side for Gouffran – he'll be sweating on the Christmas gaffes for misses of the season.
I think we looked a more disciplined and cohesive defensive unit today but in the offensive areas you could tell we needed a few more options off the bench. It would have been nice to have more senior players to bring on, but I can walk out of here tonight fairly happy that we've put in a professional performance, if not a performance that we really wanted."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "We've got to improve on that scenario – I watched Chelsea beat Aston Villa in midweek and they didn't create as many chances as us today. You've got to finish your chances off. It was great to keep a clean sheet again and these are great points for us, but we have got to start being more clinical in front of goal."
"Zero shots on target [from Newcastle] away from home is a pretty good achievement in the Premier League, but I could have been sat here so sick had that fluke cross ended up in the back of the net. So in the end I'm satisfied with a point and another clean sheet but we are disappointed that we didn't take any of those very, very good chances."
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|18 Jan 2014||v West Ham (A)|
|07 Dec 2013||v Man Utd (A)|
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|29 Dec 2013||v Arsenal (H)|