Premier League: Newcastle United 0 West Ham 0
By Football News
Newcastle United earned their first point of the new Premier League season as they were held to a 0-0 draw by West Ham.
Alan Pardew - who enjoyed a three-year spell as West Ham boss - headed into the game under significant pressure following Newcastle's 4-0 loss to Manchester City, while Sam Allardyce - sacked by Newcastle in 2008 - was hoping to guide his side to a second successive win.
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 by City on Monday, Davide Santon, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux and Shola Ameobi coming into the side, with Yohan Cabaye again left out as speculation over his future at the club continues to mount.
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 the 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.
Alan 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 a relatively 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 Kevin 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 the post with a deep cross and Gouffran fluffed his lines as he spooned the rebound over the bar from two yards.