Dimitri Payet, Mark Noble inspire West Ham fightback vs. Norwich City
West Ham fought back from two goals down at Carrow Road to draw 2-2 with Norwich City. A Dimitri Payet goal and a thumping finish from Mark Noble ensured a share of the spoils for the away side.
The Hammers controlled the majority of the first half but were unable to create any clear cut opportunities with the offside flag often proving to be an issue.
The second half saw Norwich race out of the traps and they took the lead through Robbie Brady who capitalized on dallying defending from Michail Antonio and curled an excellent shot past Adrian in the West Ham goal.
Still reeling from going a goal down the game seemed to be beyond West Ham as Norwich took a two goal lead with a lack of pressure on the Norwich attack and a shot from Steven Naismith fell fortunately to Wes Hoolahan who finished from close range.
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic had responded to the opening goal by bringing on Andy Carroll and Victor Moses who began to have an impact and it was Moses who raced through, kept his composure and hit a shot which was saved by Ruddy in the Norwich goal but he was only able to divert it into the path of Payet who finished well.
It was constant pressure from the visiting side from then on and an equalizer was found just three minutes later as Carroll played through Payet who pulled the ball back to the edge of the area for Mark Noble to thump past John Ruddy in emphatic style.
If there was to be anyone who was going to win the game it was the side from East London but the one clear chance created fell to Emmanuel Emenike after a flick on from Carroll but the Nigerian could not find his feet in the six yard box to give West Ham the victory.
Whilst West Ham may have gone into this game looking for all three point the character shown having gone two goals down was commendable and if the Hammers can show the speed and aggression displayed in those last twenty minutes more points should follow in the coming weeks.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Adrian, 6 -- Nothing he could do about either Norwich goal. Apart from picking the ball out of his net, Adrian had very little to do.
DF Sam Byram, 7 -- A strong performance from the young full-back who defended well and got forward to support the attacks at every opportunity.
DF James Collins, 6 -- Dominant in the air although some of his distribution was a little erratic. Overall he had a solid game.
DF Angelo Ogbonna, 6 -- Like Collins he was solid and dealt with most that came his way with relative ease.
DF Aaron Cresswell, 6 -- Saw a lot of the ball but was often too slow in releasing the ball and tended to take a touch too many.
MF Alex Song, 5 -- Whilst Song got stuck in and was able to break up play when he was on the ball, his passing was far too intricate and it was no surprise that Bilic subbed the former Barcelona man off in the second half.
MF Mark Noble, 7 -- He seemed to be everywhere and when West Ham needed someone to dig in. The captain stepped up to the plate and drove his team forward, scoring the equaliser with a sublime finish.
MF Pedro Obiang, 7 -- The Spanish midfielder is beginning to find his feet in English football and this was a calm and considered display where he rarely put a foot wrong.
MF Michail Antonio, 4 -- It seemed like a game too far for Antonio who didn't look his normal energetic self. His mistake led to the opening Stoke goal -- this was by far his poorest display in a West Ham shirt.
MF Dimitri Payet, 7 -- Scored one and made one. Payet is a player who produces and anything positive West Ham did saw Payet at the heart of it.
FW Enner Valencia, 5 -- His work rate isn't a problem as he tries his best to dominate the defenders but with his size and lack of vision when on the ball his performance was poor as he struggled to get into the game.
MF Victor Moses, 7 -- While many thought it would be Andy Carroll who would have the impact from the bench it was Moses who made a massive difference with his powerful pacey forward running which led to the first West Ham goal.
FW Andy Carroll, 6 -- Gave West Ham the option to go direct which had been lacking in the first half. Worked hard, won multiple headers and caused problems.
MF Emmanuel Emenike, 5 -- The new signing looked a little unfit and it was that lack of sharpness that saw him miss a sitter which would have won the game.