West Ham maintained their unbeaten home record against Norwich City by the skin of their teeth as it required a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon (September 26).
First chance of the match fell to the visitors. Robbie Brady’s teasing cross found an unmarked Cameron Jerome, whose tame header only found the hands of Hammers shot stopper Adrian.
At the other end, West Ham’s star man Dimitri Payet almost added to his three assists already this season. The former Marseille midfielder’s inviting free kick found the head of Cheikhou Kouyate but John Ruddy produced a fine save after five minutes.
Moments after Ruddy’s save, a rare mistake from Mark Noble gifted the Norwich the lead. The skipper’s international’s wayward pass saw Brady pounce and finish past Adrian with confidence after nine minutes. This was only the East Anglia side’s fifth away goal in eight Premier League away games – they have failed to find the net in five of them.
The Canaries were by far the more superior in the first 20 minutes and should have doubled their lead. Jonny Howson was left in acres of space from 12 yards, but snatched his shot just over the bar.
The east Londoners’ attempt to play the offside trap failed to materialise after 24 minutes, leaving Jerome one on one, but the former Middlesbrough academy player drilled his left footed strike into the side netting.
As the Canaries kept possession of the ball, Slaven Bilic’s men equalised against the run of play. Payet’s low cross found striker Diafra Sakho who simply couldn’t miss to notch his third Premier League goal of the season and Payet’s fourth assist. The Senegalese frontman has now scored in four of his five Premier League appearances in September.
Argentine Manuel Lanzini’s 25 yard free kick would have been something special had it found the net. The West Ham loanee was inches away from giving the E13 club the lead Norwich were now the team under pressure.
On the 39th minute, Sakho came close as his hooked attempt from a Kouyate knock down was always rising over the bar.
Barely five minutes into the second half, Adrian’s fingertips prevented Norwich from regaining the lead. Jonny Howson’s effort from just outside the area was acrobatically kept out by the Spanish keeper.
Ten minutes into the second half, Sakho should have bagged his second of the game. On loan Chelsea winger Victor Moses’ inch-perfect cross found the former FC Metz forward, who headed the ball straight into the feet of Ruddy as the game remained all square.
After his assist, Payet was looking to get on the score sheet. After he managed to skip past Brady’s challenge, Ruddy was on hand to deny him with a excellent save low to his left.
The afternoon saw some great goalkeeping from both sides. This time Adrian knew nothing about Jerome’s point blank effort, hitting the Hammers keeper in the face from 10 yards out.
Norwich’s top scorer and captain Russell Martin was looking to add to his goal at Anfield last week with a looping header, but his effort landed on the roof of the net as the game was still wide open.
As full time approached Brady’s curling free kick forced Adrian into another decent stop, but moments later, substitute Nathan Redmond gave his team the lead again. Cutting inside Noble, the England U-21 international unleashed a low drive that left Adrian helpless.
Some last gasp defending from the visitors denied Sakho and substitute Andy Carroll at the death.
However, in the final minute, Kouyate clinched a point for the hosts. Payet’s free kick caused havoc in the area, Norwich failed to clear their lines, and the Senegalese powerhouse put the ball into an empty net.
West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Tomkins, Reid, Cresswell; Kouyate, Noble© (Zarate, 84); Moses (Obiang, 51), Payet, Lanzini (Carroll, 72); Sakho.
Subs Not Used: Randolph, Collins, Antonio, Jelavic.
Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin©, Bassong, Olsson; Tettey, Howson, Dorrans (Redmond, 68), Brady, Hoolahan (O’Neil, 84); Jerome (Mbokani, 63).
Subs Not Used: Rudd, Wisdom, R.Bennett, Grabban.