LONDON -- West Ham and Newcastle played out a dour 0-0 draw at Upton Park that further jeopardizes the visitor's efforts to stay in the Premier League.
A dour first half saw little by way of incident though the game opened up in the second, with Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot proving the difference with a number of smart stops.
With Wigan winning at West Brom, the result means that Newcastle is just three points above Roberto Martinez's side and the relegation zone, with the Latics having a game in hand and superior goal difference, while West Ham sit in the relative comfort of midtable.
West Ham started with the game with same lineup that narrowly lost out to Manchester City last weekend, as Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was able to add defensive stability in the shape of captain Fabricio Coloccini, who was available for the first time since breaking a bone in his back in February.
In a bid to increase his side’s attacking potency, Pardew also recalled Yoan Gouffran and Hatem Ben Arfa to his starting XI and after a tentative opening, it was the visitors who began to emerge as the game’s more progressive force.
Ben Arfa whipped a free kick onto the roof of the net, before Papiss Cisse prodded beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen, only to be denied by a well-timed goalline clearance by Winston Reid.
Though West Ham threatened intermittently through set pieces, the home side were unable to muster a meaningful attack on the Newcastle goal before the interval, with the first half petering out after Matt Jarvis’ poor touch let him down in a promising position in the penalty area.
The game opened up in the second half, with Jarvis beginning to target Andy Carroll with teasing balls into the box. Twice the winger found the target man at the far post though Carroll wasn’t able to find the target either time. Sandwiched in between was a Yohan Cabaye effort from range that fizzed wide of the post.
As the Hammers continued to attack, a flurry of activity saw Rob Elliot react smartly to deny Carroll after Kevin Nolan’s header had come back of the post, before Jarvis forced the goalkeeper into a great save with a rasping drive shortly after.
By way of respite, Gouffran stole in for the visitors after Jaaskelainen had misjudged a throughball, yet could only send his left footed effort from an acute angle across the goalmouth, while substitute Shola Ameobi drove narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
As the game entered the latter stages a goalmouth scramble saw Nolan almost fire home a winner but eventually neither side was able to claim the victory, leaving Newcastle with a nervy finish to the domestic campaign.