Monday 16 December 2019

Alex Neil frustrated after Norwich let more vital points slip against West Ham

Alex Neil's Norwich were forced to settle for a draw after being two-goals ahead against West Ham
Alex Neil's Norwich were forced to settle for a draw after being two-goals ahead against West Ham

Norwich boss Alex Neil was left frustrated after seeing his side throw away a two-goal lead and two precious points against West Ham.

Two weeks after squandering a 3-1 lead to lose 5-4 to Liverpool in stoppage time, the Canaries were at it again as they conceded two in three minutes to Dimitri Payet and Mark Noble.

That was after Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan had put Norwich ahead and given them hope of ending their five-match losing streak.

"It's a mixture of emotions," said Neil. "The performance was better, we were on the front more, in comparison to recently.

"When we went 2-0 up we were good value for it. But the disappointing thing is we have let that lead slip.

"When you are 2-0 up you have to see game out. It should be easier to defend then. We are all disappointed because we should have seen the game out.

"But if we keep getting to that stage then it will give us chances to pick up points. We came really close to getting three points and I think we would have deserved it with that performance."

After a goalless first half Brady set the ball rolling when he robbed Michail Antonio and strode forward unchallenged before crashing home from 25 yards.

Norwich doubled their lead in the 64th minute when Hoolahan fed Steven Naismith on the 18-yard line and continued his run into the area.

As Naismith's shot cannoned between the legs of James Collins it fell perfectly at the feet of Hoolahan to sweep the ball past Adrian.

West Ham hit back when sub Victor Moses burst into the penalty area and held off two challenges before firing towards goal.

John Ruddy got down well to palm out the effort but it dropped straight to Payet, who smashed it into the roof of the net.

Three minutes later Payet, who signed a lucrative new contract this week to ward off big-money interest from China, then turned provider to tee up Noble who smashed home the equaliser .

Both sides had chances to win it, with Moses driving over for the visitors and Nathan Redmond inches from a stoppage-time winner for City.

Hammers boss Slaven Bilic, whose side won a gruelling FA Cup replay against Liverpool on Tuesday, said: " We are never happy with a point but I have to praise the players for their character, their resilience and the quality we showed.

"We gave them the first goal, it was a gift. The second was unlucky but after that we showed a great reaction. There could have been fatigue but there wasn't.

"What sums it up for me is we that didn't want the game to stop, more so than Norwich, and we were playing a team desperate for a win. It was a great comeback."

PA Media

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