London: Newcastle showed further evidence of its gradual improvement under Eddie Howe by drawing 1-1 at top four-chasing West Ham to extend its unbeaten run in the Premier League to six games today.
Joe Willock’s deft finish in first-half stoppage time canceled out the headed opener scored by Craig Dawson in the 32nd minute at the Olympic Stadium.
Boosted by a slew of January signings funded by its new Saudi owners, Newcastle hasn’t lost since Dec. 19 and looks to have enough quality now to avoid relegation. The northeast team started the game four points clear of the bottom three.
West Ham could have gone back into fourth place - at least overnight - with a win and went ahead when Dawson got on the end of a curling free kick to bury his header inside the near post.
Declan Rice, possibly West Ham’s best player this season, was at fault for the equalizer after miscuing his attempted headed clearance from a cross into the center of the area. He meant to clear it away but instead sent it back into the six-yard box, where Willock stretched to poke his foot out between Dawson and Ryan Fredericks and guided a volley with the outside of his boot in off the post.
Video technology confirmed the ball had crept over the line as it rebounded off the post.
Three of Newcastle’s five January signings started the game, with Kieran Trippier injured and Brazil midfielder Bruno Guimaraes only coming on as a late substitute.
West Ham is a point behind fourth-place Manchester United, which visits Leeds tomorrow.