Defensive errors could cost West Ham European football, as they lost 3-2 to Newcastle United at St James’ Park after going down to ten men. The Hammers managed to briefly bring the game level in the 80th minute but super-sub Joe Willock’s goal minutes later secured the three points for Newcastle.
West Ham were boosted by the return of star defender Angelo Ogbonna to the starting lineup after a two-month injury absence. However, Arthur Masuaku was left out of the squad with a swollen knee, meaning youngster Ben Johnson returned to the team at left wing-back.
Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko also made their returns to the squad but both players were on the bench.
Newcastle United were without defenders Jamaal Lascelles and Fabian Schar due to injury. Steve Bruce’s men were also without long term absentee Isaac Hayden, who will now be out for season. Another boost for West Ham was that Callum Wilson, who had scored eight goals in nine appearances against the Hammers, was on bench.
Joe Willock scored late to give Newcastle a 3-2 win over West Ham
Despite some early dominance from West Ham, it was Newcastle who had the first attempt on goal in the 5th minute when Miguel Almiron played Sean Longstaff into space, allowing the 23-year-old space to shoot but his effort was dragged wide of Lukasz Fabianski’s post.
The hosts then had the first shot on target through Jacob Murphy, who had scored the equalizer against Burnley the previous weekend, but his long-range strike was comfortably collected by Fabianski.
The Hammers then had their first effort on target in the 17th minute when Craig Dawson’s bullet header was saved by Martin Dubravka following a free-kick from Mark Noble.
Despite gaining some control of the game, Allan Saint-Maximin was causing havoc against West Ham’s defense and it was the Frenchman who had Newcastle’s second chance of the game when he skipped away from Noble and fizzed his effort straight at Fabianski.
Newcastle’s great start to the game eventually paid off in the 36th minute when Saint-Maximin pounced on Dawson’s poor first touch and broke off on the counter attack. The 24-year-old fired his shot down to Fabianski’s left and it seemed as though the Polish international had done enough to keep it out, but the ball deflected unfortunately off Issa Diop and trickled over the line to give Newcastle a 1-0 lead.
Things went from bad to worse for West Ham in a matter of seconds as referee Kevin Friend showed Dawson his second yellow card of the game for a dangerous tackle in the build up to Newcastle’s goal, leaving West Ham 1-0 down and down to ten men.
Newcastle then doubled their lead in the 41st minute after a howler from Fabianski. The Polish keeper dropped what should have been an easy catch following a Newcastle corner and the ball fell kindly for Joelinton, who couldn’t miss from a yard out.
The Hammers had everything to do in the second half and started their comeback in the 73rd minute when Diop headed home Jarrod Bowen’s cross to make it 2-1 with just under 20 minutes left to play.
The Hammers were then given the chance to level the scores just minutes later when VAR awarded West Ham a penalty after Ciaran Clark was deemed to have handled the ball with his arm following a corner. Jesse Lingard stepped up to take it and this time made no mistake in burying his spot kick past Dubravka to score his ninth goal of the season and to make it 2-2.
It all seemed set for West Ham to find the winner in the remaining ten minutes but Newcastle didn’t seem to have read the script as they retook the lead just two minutes later through Arsenal loanee Joe Willock. The 21-year-old smashed his header home following a cross from Matt Richie with one of his first touches since coming on.
The Hammers had an additional eight minutes of added time to find a second equaliser but their efforts weren’t helped when Lingard was forced off the pitch with an injury.
The loss sees West Ham miss a massive chance to go third in the Premier League making their game against 5th placed Chelsea next weekend, all the more crucial. The win for Steve Bruce’s Newcastle side sees the Toon go nine points clear of the relegation zone as they overtake Brighton and Hove Albion and Burnley to go 15th in the table.