Thursday 22 February 2018

Cheikhou Kouyate's goal earns West Ham a point against Norwich

Cheikhou Kouyate rescued a point for West Ham
Cheikhou Kouyate rescued a point for West Ham

Cheikhou Kouyate rescued a point for West Ham with a stoppage time equaliser in a thrilling 2-2 draw against Norwich at Upton Park.

Substitute Nathan Redmond looked to have given Norwich a first win at the Boleyn Ground in 26 years with a fine late effort.

However, deep into stoppage time, Kouyate bundled the ball home following a goalmouth scramble to secure a share of the spoils.

Earlier, Robbie Brady had fired the Canaries into the lead, before the Irons levelled through Diafra Sakho.

West Ham had made a positive start, with Kouyate diverting a cross from Noble straight at Norwich keeper John Ruddy.

It was the visitors, though, who went ahead on nine minutes.

Noble's crossfield ball from the left was too short for defender James Tomkins, and Brady was onto it like a flash.

The former Hull man darted into the penalty area before dispatching a low finish past Adrian.

The expected response from West Ham, so impressive away this season and who could have moved level at the top of the Barclays Premier League table, did not come.

Norwich almost doubled their lead when Jonny Howson fired over from 12 yards after a cutback into the penalty area by full-back Martin Olsson.

Cameron Jerome was then played in down the left by Brady, but drilled a low shot into the side netting.

They proved costly misses as West Ham equalised on 33 minutes.

Payet got clear down the right and his low centre back into the six-yard box was swept home by Sakho.

With the Boleyn Ground now in full voice, Manuel Lanzini whipped a 25-yard free-kick over the wall and just wide.

West Ham finished the first half strongly, as Ruddy was caught in No Man's Land attempting to punch at the edge of the penalty area with Sakho hooking the loose ball over an empty net.

Norwich came close to regaining the lead at the start of the second half when Howson's rising 20-yard strike was tipped over by Adrian.

West Ham should have been in front when Payet's cross drifted through the six-yard box to an unmarked Sakho who somehow headed straight at Ruddy, before Kouyate sliced the rebound wide.

Ruddy then produced a save of the real quality to get down to his left and push away a low effort from the busy Payet.

At the other end, Adrian made a stunning point-blank stop to deny Jerome after the Norwich striker latched onto a cutback from Steven Whittaker, drilling in a fierce volley.

With just nine minutes left, Norwich looked to have snatched a winner through a sublime goal from Redmond.

West Ham failed to clear a corner, and the ball was played back out to Redmond on the right by Wes Hoolahan. The England Under-21 forward thought about the cross, but cutback inside before curling a wonderful effort into the far corner.

However, with two minutes of added time played, the home side snatched a point after a free-kick from the right caused havoc in the Norwich six-yard box and Kouyate was on hand to lash the loose ball into the net.


"@mrjakehumphrey: Yesssssssssssssssssssss Nathan my son... 2-1" - TV presenter Jake Humphrey celebrates after Nathan Redmond gave the Canaries the lead.


West Ham

Adrian: 7 (out of 10)

Carl Jenkinson: 6

James Tomkins: 6

Winston Reid: 6

Aaron Cresswell: 6

Mark Noble: 6

Cheikhou Kouyate: 7

Manuel Lanzini: 6

Dimitri Payet: 8

Victor Moses: 6

Diafra Sakho: 6


Pedro Obiang: 6

Andy Carroll: 5

Mauro Zarate: 6


John Ruddy: 8 (out of 10)

Steven Whittaker: 6

Russell Martin: 6

Sebastien Bassong: 6

Martin Olsson: 6

Jonathan Howson: 6

Alexander Tettey: 6

Graham Dorrans: 5

Wes Hoolahan: 7

Robbie Brady: 7

Cameron Jerome: 5


Dieumerci Mbokani: 6

Nathan Redmond: 8

Gary O'Neil: 6


Dimitri Payet was again the stand-out player. The France midfielder proved central to all of West Ham's positive play, setting up the equaliser on a plate for Sakho. Signed from Marseille in the summer for just under £11million, the 28-year-old is already looking at home in the Premier League.


Just after the start of the second half, a pigeon found its way onto the pitch, appearing in some distress. Yorkshireman Jonny Howson carefully picked up the bird and moved it to safety at the East Stand.


Norwich manager Alex Neil opted to recall Wes Hoolahan after the Irish playmaker sat out the draw at Anfield, with Brady pushed onto the left flank ahead of Olsson. The set-up worked well in the first half as Norwich took the lead, but failed to make the most of their chances as West Ham recovered. The Scot made positive substitions, which almost secured an historic win Slavan Bilic's attacking line up eventually got reward, with Payet again influential as the Irons upped their workrate following the equaliser, and should have been ahead before Norwich's late rally.


Cameron Jerome should have made it 2-0 for Norwich in the first half, but could only clip a tame shot into the side netting when clear on goal. The jury remains out on the Premier League calibre of the former Stoke and Birmingham frontman, with Neil now having other options including on loan Dieumerci Mbokani, who will only grow in confidence with more game time. Oh, and the pre-match meal in the press room was curry, not the traditional Boleyn Ground pie and chips. I like pie and chips. Who doesn't?


Sunderland v West Ham (Premier League, Saturday October 3)

Norwich v Leicester (Premier League, Saturday October 3)

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