Hammers Cage Canaries With Last Gasp Leveller
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 27 Sep 2015 13:34:00
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West Ham United remain in third place in the Barclays Premier League table after a last-gasp equaliser earnt them a home point against newly-promoted Norwich City on Saturday afternoon.

One change was made to last Saturday's starting line-up, as Cheikou Kouyate recovered from his minor injury and replaced Pedro Obiang.

The Hammers started brightly, but, they have done in many of their home encounters this season, a defensive mistake lead to the Canaries taking the lead with only ten minutes, as club captain Mark Noble casually played the ball across his own box, giving the visitors possession and although James Tomkins tried to make it challenge, Robert Brady had slotted the ball past Adrian.

The visitors couldn't extend their advantage, despite chances going their way and although the home side were trying to find a way back into the game, Dimitri Payet and Victor Moses were not having much luck and they were unable to break down the resilient Norwich defence. 

Alex Neil's side were unlucky not to go further in front on 25 minutes, when Brady was through but Cameron Jerome could only find the side netting.

Norwich continued to pile on the pressure until the tables were turned on 33 minutes when Payet picked up possession and found Diafra Sakho in the box and it was easy to knock the ball past John Ruddy and the home fans had something to shout about.

The hosts looked much more comfortable by this point and started to get a foothold on the game but everything they tried just wasn't coming off. When the half-time whistle was blown, they would have been the happier of the two teams, as there was nothing to choose between.

The early stages of the second-half were clearly defender vs goalkeeper, as Jonathan Howson tested Adrian twice but the keeper thwarted him on both occasions.

On 52 minutes, a coming together involving Kouyate and Sebastien Bassong resulted in the West Ham man needing attention from the physio but, thankfully he was able to continue.

Sakho went close a minute later, but his shot went well over before Howson was again involved as he rescued a pigeon from the pitch.

This time, Sakho really showed have put his side in front on on 56 minutes but, somehow contrived to miss from close range.

With an hour gone, Slaven Bilic made his first substitution, as Obiang was introduced in place of Victor Moses.

Shortly after, Ruddy made a superb save from Payet's effort went the winger was trying to get his team back into the game.

Jerome's final action before he was substituted was to try and beat Adrian with a powerful shot but the keeper did brilliantly to save the effort, as it rebounded off his nose. He was clearly dazed by the incident, but after some treatment, he was able to carry on.

Winston Reid was also in the wars on 65 minutes after falling heavily after a tackle from substitute Dieumerci Mbokani but he was also okay to continue. 

On 72 minutes, West Ham made their second change, as Andy Carroll replaced Manuel Lanzini.

Bilic thought he would have to substitute striker just two minutes after his introduction when he went down after falling awkwardly but order was restored and play was able to restart.

Norwich were piling on the pressure and could easily have gone ahead when Brady found his way through but the goalkeeper blocked his path.

The Canaries were in front seconds later, as substitute Nathan Redmond broke through the Hammers' defence and beat Adrian.

With five minutes of normal time to play, both managers made their final changes with the visitors bringing on former West Ham midfielder Gary O'Neil and Bilic replacing the skipper with Mauro Zarate.

Carroll was next to go close for the Irons, but Ruddy was alert and got to the ball before striker could smash it past him.

As the game entered four minutes of stoppage time, the hosts found the equaliser, as they won a freekick and pumped the ball into the area for Kouyate to head home.

With seconds to go the East Londoners were pushing for a winner but as they were tried to find an opening, referee Mike Dean blew for full-time in a game which neither side deserved to lose.

Although West Ham saw their unbeaten away run come to an end at Leicester on Tuesday, their league record on the road remained intact and they will be looking to build on that when they head to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland on Saturday.

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