It was a case of ‘same old story’ for Norwich as they let a comfortable two goal lead slip against West Ham to end up with only a single point when it should’ve been all three.
John Ruddy was restored to the starting XI for the first time in two months and Nathan Redmond also made a rare start against a West Ham side depleted by a number of injuries.
The first half was a little bit cagey, especially from a Canary point of view, with the home side enjoying a quick start out of the blocks but gradually allowing the Hammers back into the game. Dimitri Payet was prominent throughout and would have a big say in the outcome of the game in the second half.
City huffed and puffed but struggled to test Adrian in the West Ham goal in the first half. Steven Naismith had plenty of running but seemed a little lacklustre from his recent games. Nathan Redmond was bright and only gave away one howler of a pass, so he’s improving.
West Ham also struggled to test John Ruddy in a fairly uneventful first half. The Hammers were offside an awful lot in that first period and whether it was luck or judgement I can’t be sure. The fact that both O’Neil and Naismith had words with Klose perhaps suggests the former.
The second half saw Norwich again start brightly and ask all the questions. The hardworking Jerome almost curled the ball home but his effort was a yard wide with Adrian scrambling and in trouble.
The breakthrough came in the 54th minute when Brady robbed Antonio in a central position and ran towards goal. He looked up and smashed a shot over Adrian and in off the bar from 20 yards – a spectacular effort.
Things got even better ten minutes later when Wes Hoolahan volleyed home from close range to double the lead. A Naismith shot was blocked and ballooned high up into the air, falling kindly for Wes. He watched it come down and volleyed past Adrian with his right foot.
Slaven Bilic responded by making a double substitution and brought on Andy Carroll and Victor Moses – that’s not a bad pair of subs eh?!
The game changed due to the power and pace of Moses, who plays in a way that I wish Nathan Redmond would.
On 74 minutes, Moses powered forward on the left with Martin well beaten. Robbie BRady made up ground from left back and made a sensational challenge on the West Ham winger as he was about to shoot. City allowed Moses to get the ball back and shoot, which was parried but the ball got to Payet and he slotted past Ruddy.
Alex Neil responded immediately with the introduction of Olsson for Naismith allowing Brady to play on the wing.
Just two minutes later and the Hammers were level as Moses again caused all sorts of trouble on the left. Payet then drew a couple of defenders and cut the ball back for Noble, who smashed the ball home with an unstoppable shot from outside the area into Ruddy’s top corner, giving him no chance.
West Ham then finished the stronger and with ten minutes to go, we were effectively finished as the visitors looked the most likely to win it now. Slaven Bilic was kicking every ball and at one point had one foot on the pitch as he urged Moses on down the wing, prompting the third official to have a word with him.
In a frantic end to the game, Emmenike had a great chance but somehow got the ball stuck under his feet, allowing Ruddy to gather before Redmond’s shot was parried by Adrian and then Seb Bassong had a weak poke at goal that was cleared off the line from a last minute corner.
I would probably have taken a point before kick off but having been two nil up with 16 minutes to go, it feels like two points lost rather than a point gained. That feeling I have pretty much sums the season up for me.
At least the performance was generally better overall, it’s just that tossing away points like this has cost us all season and continues to do so. We’ve dropped four points against West Ham alone.
There’s now a two week break before the trip to Leicester, followed by a home game against Chelsea. It doesn’t get any easier but having at least moved out of the bottom three, albeit on goal difference, as well as having put in a better performance, at least there are reasons to be optimistic.