Ten Man Hammers Hold Magpies

WEST Ham United held Newcastle United to a 0-0 draw at St James Park despite playing most of the second-half with 10 men, after Paul Konchesky was sent off.

Alan Pardew's men thoroughly deserved to take a point from their trip to the North East with a performance packed full of grit and determination against Graeme Souness' side.

Pards made just one change from the side that won 3-1 over Blackburn Rovers in Hammers opening game of the season, Tomas Repka returning at right-back to replace Christian Dailly who dropped to the bench.

Teddy Sheringham was named captain as he returned to do battle with old England strike-partner Alan Shearer, while Roy Carroll and Yossi Benayoun both shook off midweek injuries to start.

For Newcastle, former Hammer Lee Bowyer was included alongside Jermaine Jenas, whose red card from the previous week against Arsenal was downgraded to a yellow.

On a sunny afternoon at St James' Park Hammers made a quick and confident start, Matty Etherington immediately getting down the left and delivering a cross that Shay Given did well to claim.

Alan Pardew's men looked relaxed and comfortable in possession as they felt out their opponents in the opening 10 minutes. And with 15 minutes gone Matty Etherington's corner almost embarrassed Given as the Newcastle goalkeeper sprawled across his penalty box to punch the ball away from danger.

Moments later at the other end, Bowyer caused an awkward moment for Roy Carroll has he nicked the ball out of the goalkeepers arms as he raced from his line, but Danny Gabbidon was on hand to clear West Ham's lines.

With 20 minutes gone Carroll was forced to make a fine save from Charles N'Zogbia after the winger had burst through the Hammers defence, and less than a minute later the goalkeeper was on hand to spread himself well and block Jenas' close range effort.

Three minutes later a well-worked Hammers build-up allowed Nigel Reo-Coker the time and space to play a sublimely weighted through-ball to Yossi Benyoun, who prodded the ball beyond the onrushing Given only for Celestine Babayaro to make a last-ditch goal-line clearance.

Approaching the half hour mark England's old SAS - Sheringham and Shearer - partnership traded awkward headed chances that both sailed well over the respective crossbars. The two veteran strikers were certainly having an influence on this game though, working as hard as anyone to create openings in a match that was thus far being dominated by the defences.

With three minutes left until the half-time whistle Given very nearly became the architect for his team going behind, smashing a clearance straight into Marlon Harewood, but the Hammers striker couldn't quite bring the ball back under control allowing Steven Taylor to bundle it clear.

The half-time whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos by the St James' Park crowd, proof that for the first 45 minutes Hammers had done their job and kept the score-line goalless.

HT: 0-0

In front of 51,620 fans at St James Park, the second-half began with Hammers again looking strong. But just three minutes after the re-start Alan Pardew's men were dealt a blow when Teddy Sheringham was replaced by Shaun Newton, Yossi Benayoun switching inside to support Harewood in attack.

The energy and commitment displayed by Alan Pardew's team was a credit to the Club, yet on 54 minutes referee Dermot Gallagher made a decision that turned the tide of this game.

Jenas sprinted clear of the Hammers defence, but was chased down by last man Paul Konchesky, the full-back throwing himself into a tackle that looked to have taken a considerable amount of ball before the Newcastle midfielder.

Nevertheless, after consulting with his assistant on the near side, Gallagher dismissed Konchesky for a professional foul.

Alan Shearer stepped up to take the free-kick 25 yards out, but although it was drilled low and hard, Carroll got down to make a comfortable save.

Pards readjusted, switching Newton to left-back and Benayoun back to the right of midfield. Poised on the edge of his technical area the Hammers boss demanded an even deeper level of determination from his team, and that's exactly what he got as West Ham chased and harried for all they were worth.

On 65 minutes Hammers twice needed the intervention of Roy Carroll to keep the scores level. First the Northern Ireland international made a fantastic one-handed block to deny an  angled shot from Bowyer, and then was called upon to tip a dipping 25 yard drive from the midfielder over the bar.

As the final 15 minutes approached Newcastle began to use their man advantage to camp themselves in the Hammers half. But the defence, marshalled by the excellent Anton Ferdinand and Danny Gabbidon, repelled the Magpies pressure.

With 10 minutes remaining Christian Dailly replaced Benayoun to add steel to the Hammers defensive effort.

The Scottish international was also a threat at the other end, however, meeting Matty Etherington's free-kick with a looping header that dipped just over Shay Given's crossbar.

Newcastle forced all the running in the final five minutes, but backed by yet another magnificent set of travelling supporters, Hammers held firm.

Bobby Zamora replaced Harewood in the dying moments of normal time, and as the fourth official announced four minutes of added time, West Ham braced themselves for one final onslaught.

It never came though. Instead it was Alan Pardew's men who might have won the game in added time, Zamora dancing past Boumsong and squaring for Reo-Coker, but the midfielder was crowded out of a shooting chance.

Scott Parker did blaze a chance over from 12 yards out right at the end, but 10-man Hammers held on for a 0-0 draw and a point that had Bubbles ringing out around St James' Park at the final whistle.