Filed: Saturday, 13th February 2016
By: Staff Writer
Dimitri Payet will take all the plaudits once again after having a hand in both of West Ham's goals at Carrow Road this afternoon.
But the real star of the show for the Hammers was someone who's been at the club just a little longer.
Mark Noble, who celebrates his testimonial at the club next month was a constant throw-in the side of today's opponents, but even he couldn't prevent Norwich opening up a two-goal lead early on in the second half.
Whilst the Hammers had managed to keep their hosts out in a fairly even - yet largely uneventful - first half, two goals within nine minutes after the break put City in a strong position - and one from which they should have seen the game out comfortably.
Robbie Brady put the Canaries ahead when he took advantage of Michail Antonio dilly-dallying with the ball some 30 yards from goal.
The former Hull striker, whose penalty at the KC Stadium last season condemned West Ham to a narrow defeat strode towards goal unchallenged before unleashing a fierce volley that flew into the top corner leaving Adrian no chance.
West Ham were still reeling from falling behind when they conceded a second, nine minutes later. Wes Hoolahan took advantage of more defensive lapses by the Hammers and converted from close range to give Norwich what appeared to be an unassailable lead.
That was until Dimitri Payet, fresh from signing a new bumper contract decided to grab the bull by the horns and turn the game around with just quarter-of-an-hour of the game remaining.
Vic Moses, on as a replacement for an unusually quiet Antonio broke at pace towards Norwich's goal before being challenges by Canaries 'keeper John Ruddy. Fortunately for West Ham the ball broke kindly and Payet was on hand to slot home the loose ball.
Now playing with their tails up for the first time in the game, West Ham began to look a constant threat and they were rewarded just two minutes later. Payet, receiving the ball wide on the left pulled a low centre back for the advancing Noble, who drove the ball into the back of Ruddy's net to make it 2-2.
West Ham's comeback was gleefully accepted by Slaven Bilic, who said: ""We are never happy with a point, we are not buzzing. But when that point comes after being 2-0 down it gives us confidence and satisfaction.
"After Tuesday night when we played 130 minutes, to show that kind of strength, resilience, character and quality makes us happy."
Unsurprisingly Bilic's joy was not shared was Norwich boss Alex Neil, who was distraught at seeing his team let a two-goal lead slip once again.
"We created good opportunities and it was a better performance than we have had recently," he said. "But from 2-0 up at home and with the way the game was going we should have seen it out.
"We will take a lot from the performance - but we are disappointed we let a lead slip."
Beer-free Bournemouth awaits travelling fans [12th Jan 2016]
West Ham cut their losses as Jarvis completes Norwich move [24th Dec 2015]
West Ham spend £7million on agents fees [30th Nov 2015]
13 is lucky for some! [18th Oct 2015]
Payet loses out in PFA award [6th Oct 2015]
Carroll, Bilic, Payet & Kouyate: Tuesday's news [29th Sep 2015]
Tomkins, Payet, Sullivan & Kouyate: Monday's news [28th Sep 2015]
Kouyate, Zarate, Song & Bilic: Sunday's news [27th Sep 2015]
Bilic, Norwich City & Reid: Saturday's news [26th Sep 2015]
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