By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 0
West Ham United 0
Newcastle United picked up their first Premier League point of the season with a goalless draw at home to West Ham United on Saturday.
The duo both had decent chances to break the deadlock at St. James' Park, as did Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, but they were unable to find a way through a stubborn Hammers' defence, superbly marshaled by James Collins.
Alan Pardew - in his 100th Premier League game in charge of Newcastle - will be content with a draw, and a clean sheet, given United's 4-0 defeat at Manchester City on Monday night.
The Magpies made a bright start and created the first real chance of the game on seven minutes when Moussa Sissoko's powerful run was brought to an illegal halt by James Collins 25 yards from goal.
However, Hatem Ben Arfa could not get the resulting free-kick on target, curling his effort comfortably into the Leazes End.
In the 13th minute they went even closer to breaking the deadlock, with a huge helping hand from West Ham.
Centre-back Winston Reid intercepted Vurnon Anita's threaded pass into the area which was aimed for Papiss Cisse, but only succeeded in sending the ball goalwards and wrong-footing his own keeper in the process. Thankfully for Reid and the visitors, it rolled inches wide of the upright.
The Hammers hit back though and Maiga should have given them the lead when he rose unmarked around eight yards out to meet Guy Demel's right-wing centre. However, the forward somehow directed his header well wide when he should have done a lot better,
United were continuing to knock at the West Ham door but were still yet to force Jaaskelainen into a save of any note, with Ben Arfa off target twice from speculative long range efforts and Yanga-Mbiwa nodding agonisngly wide from a corner.
The hosts were playing some lovely football and it was never more obvious than a flowing 36th-minute move. Starting with Ben Arfa on the right, the French international knocked a ball down the channel to Papiss Cisse.
His drilled pass to Vurnon Anita was cushioned brilliantly into the path of Sissoko, but the midfielder's first time curling strike would not come down quick enough.
It took until three minutes into the second half for the first save of the match - Hammers' new boy Stewart Downing finding space on the left but seeing Tim Krul equal to his rising near-post drive.
And the Hammers should have been in front on the hour mark through former Newcastle skipper Kevin Nolan. When Downing whipped in a cross from the right, the midfielder had the freedom of the six-yard box to plant home a header but somehow completely miscued and looped the ball harmlessly over the bar.
Alan Pardew introduced Sammy Ameobi and Yoan Gouffran from the bench to try and freshen up Newcastle's attacking options, and the latter threatened with nine minutes remaining, but saw his shot blocked by Collins.
United applied some heavy, late pressure but with the game getting stretched were almost caught on the break. The hosts' defence failed to properly clear a Jarvis cross from the left and Cole bent a shot just wide from the edge of the area.
Modibo Maiga had the ball in the back of the net in the 89th minute, diverting home Ravel Morrison's shot, but his joy was correctly cut short by a linesman's flag.
And Newcastle almost snatched all three points deep into stoppage time but Sammy Ameobi's cross hit the inside of the post and rolled across the six-yard box, with the already-flagged offside Yoan Gouffran unable to stab home the rebound as the game ended all square.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Hatem Ben Arfa, Vurnon Anita, Moussa Sissoko, Sylvain Marveaux (Sammy Ameobi 65); Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse (Yoan Gouffran 72)
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Jussi Jaaskelainen; Guy Demel, James Collins, Winston Reid, Joey O'Brien; Mark Noble, Mohamed Diame (Ravel Morrison 75); Matt Jarvis, Kevin Nolan (c), Stewart Downing (Joe Cole 63); Modibo Maiga
Subs not used: Adrian, Razvan Rat, James Tomkins, Alou Diarra, Ricardo Vaz Te
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
Bookings: Newcastle - none; West Ham - O'Brien (44)
Attendance: 49,622 (2,200 West Ham)