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Norwich City 2 West Ham 2: Canaries surrender two-goal lead to continue poor run

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Feb 2016

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West Ham battled back from two goals down to claim a dramatic 2-2 draw as Dimitri Payet and Mark Noble struck to rescue a point against Norwich City in the Premier League.

Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan looked to have given Norwich a victory that would have lifted them out of the bottom three, but Payet celebrated signing a new long-term contract this week with a goal and an assist to ensure the Hammers grabbed a share of the spoils at Carrow Road.

Payet’s 74th-minute strike gave Slaven Bilic’s side hope and he then turned provider for Noble, who drilled the ball into the back of the net just two minutes later. 

Both teams had chances to win it – Emmanuel Emenike fluffing his lines from inside the six-yard box – but failed to convert late opportunities, meaning the result leaves Norwich in 18th, with the pressure still on boss Alex Neil after his side failed to win for the sixth league game in a row.

Norwich started the game quickly as they passed the ball around the edge of the box, but wasted their first chance of the match as right-back Russell Martin fired a shot over from 25 yards out.

John Ruddy, who was recalled to the Norwich team at the expense of Declan Rudd, was forced into action in the 18th minute when he did enough to tip Enner Valencia’s shot over. Payet was kept quiet early on, although he eventually found space in the 20th minute before laying the ball off for Pedro Obiang to blaze off target.

The hosts were then awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the penalty area following a foul by James Collins, but left-back Brady curled it just over. The two sides continued to cancel each other out and Jonny Howson had the crowd on their feet just after the half-hour mark. A short corner found its way to the edge of the box and Howson’s ferocious effort went inches over the top of the bar.

Cameron Jerome went on a mazy run on the stroke of half-time and his cross to Martin was wasted as the defender blazed into the stands. The former Stoke City striker could have scored in the opening minutes of the second half, but blazed wide just after the kick-off.

Sam Byram, who was recalled to the West Ham starting 11 after being cup-tied in the midweek win over Liverpool, then made an error in the box in the 50th minute, but his missed clearance went unpunished by Steven Naismith.

Neil’s side opened the scoring in the 55th minute with a sublime individual effort from the edge of the area. Brady disposed Obiang before placing the ball into the top corner with his weaker foot.

In an attempt to improve his side’s fortunes, Bilic introduced Andy Carroll and Victor Moses. The duo, though, failed to make an immediate impact and the Hammers were punished when Hoolahan ended a fine team move with a right-footed finish inside the area.

However, West Ham showed plenty of heart and Payet grabbed one back by tapping in the rebound after Moses’ original shot was spilled by Ruddy.

Noble, left unmarked on the edge of the area, then fired the visitors level with a thunderbolt after a perfect lay-off from Payet. 

Emenike then wasted a glorious chance to win the game in the 90th minute when a flick-on from Carroll found him on the six-yard box. The former Fenerbahce forward had an open goal to aim at, only to flick the ball straight into Ruddy’s arms.

Norwich piled the pressure on with seconds to go and Nathan Redmond’s strike from the edge of the box was deflected for a corner. And, from the resulting set-piece, Sebastien Bassong prodded the ball towards goal, but it was eventually hacked clear.

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