Mark Noble’s 50th goal in a West Ham shirt earned the Hammers a draw in a London derby against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Tuesday night.
Palace had taken the lead through Christian Benteke in the 24th minute – just the Belgium international’s second league goal of the season – before Noble equalised from a spot-kick in the 43rd minute.
Javier Hernandez had a glorious chance to put the Hammers in front in the 51st minute, but his header was too close to Wayne Hennessey in the Crystal Palace goal. With suspensions and injuries filling the West Ham squad, David Moyes’ options were limited as the hosts ran out of steam in the second half.
The result extends West Ham’s unbeaten run to six games moving them into the top half of the table, while Palace climb to 12th, three points clear of the relegation zone.
Despite being forced to change his line-up, it was West Ham who started on the front foot, and could’ve been in front early on through new signing Joao Mario on his first West Ham start, but the Portuguese international volleyed wide from a good position.
Hernandez was then denied by an excellent tackle from James Tomkins, just as he was about to pull the trigger, before Crystal Palace countered to score the opener. Andros Townsend showed marvellous skill with his step-over and darted into the box, he clipped the ball into the area finding Benteke, who headed the ball home from close range.
The hosts responded well, and they were level just before half-time through Noble from the spot. Former West Ham defender Tomkins recklessly slid towards Hernandez who evaded the tackle and went down from Tomkins trailing leg to earn a penalty. Noble calmly converted sending Hennessey the wrong way.
Hernandez then had a great chance to turn the game on its head just six minutes into the second half, and should have scored his header having been unmarked and only a few yards out from goal. The Welsh international acrobatically stopped Hernandez’s effort, but he shouldn’t have been allowed to get there.
The rest of the half was rather quiet with neither side creating too many chances as the rain began to pour in East London. A draw seemed a fair result.
West Ham were without a number of first-team players for this game. Arthur Masuaku was suspended. Pedro Obiang was on the injury list with the likes of Andy Carroll, Manuèl Lanzini, Marko Arnautovic, Andre Ayew, Winston Reid, and Edimilson Fernandes. Noble returned to the squad from a calf injury.
Mamadou Sakho returned from a long-term injury making the bench. Joel Ward remained out with a groin injury while new recruits Jaroslaw Jach and Erdal Rakip were available for selection.
- West Ham are unbeaten in their last six Premier League encounters with Crystal Palace (W3 D3) with both games ending as a draw this season.
- Palace have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 13 away London derbies, with their last coming against QPR in December 2014.
- The Hammers are unbeaten in their last six Premier League outings winning twice and drawing 4 times.
- Mark Noble is the 11th player to reach 20+ penalties in the Premier League.
Man of the Match – Mark Noble
Mark Noble led by example for the Hammers and won more duels than any other player for West Ham.
The skipper took his penalty well and got his 50th career goal for the Hammers. He ran his socks off stopping the majority of Palace’s counter-attacks and influencing play when West Ham went forward.
West Ham face a trip to the South Coast to face Brighton on Saturday, while Palace host Newcastle United on Super Sunday.