Andy Carroll endured a frustrating afternoon against former club Newcastle as the visitors won a valuable point in the fight for Premier League survival with a goalless draw at West Ham United.
However with Wigan winning at West Brom, the Latics can go above Newcastle on goal difference by winning their game in hand. Hated rivals Sunderland are now a point below the Toon with a game in hand ahead of their clash with Stoke. Of the other troubled sides, Aston Villa won while Norwich and Southampton lost.
Papiss Cisse - otherwise absent in the game - believed he had given Newcastle the lead on 20 minutes when his trickled finish past Jussi Jaaskelainen looked to have crossed the line before being cleared brilliantly by the backtracking Winston Reid.
Referee Phil Dowd and his linesman agreed that it had not - and replays, although inconclusive, suggested that they were correct in their decision.
Carroll, in his best form for years, was having a quiet afternoon against a Newcastle defence that has struggled for form but boasted captain Fabricio Coloccini among its ranks following a back injury.
Hatem Ben Arfa was the spark for the Magpies against his manager Alan Pardew's former club, with Hammers boss Sam Allardyce also up against former employers. The Frenchman drove through midfield a couple of times in the first half only to be thwarted by home keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The home players and crowd were incensed a few minutes before the break: Jonas Gutierrez stayed down supposedly hurt - with his forehead to the turf in his own box - causing West Ham to kick the ball out then Argentine winger promptly jumped to his feet and jogged back into position.
Dowd had words with him, which he shrugged off visibly with a series of gesticulations but escaped a booking.
The score was goalless at the break - probably a fair reflection of an uneventful first half - and neither side made a change for the second period.
Matt Jarvis and Carroll were tipped for England again by Allardyce before the game and representatives of Roy Hodgson were expected to be watching the pair. The winger was superb throughout, earning space on the left to cross time and again for the big striker.
Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot had barely had a save to make in the first hour - then he was suddenly called into action. Carroll went down in the box but left the fans to appeal, getting up to attack the next cross; Kevin Nolan was behind him to head at the far post and the keeper blocked superbly low down then somehow kept out the rebound with his fingertips. Soon after, he tipped a strike from Jarvis around the post.
Play swung to the other end, where Jaaskelainen went walkabout as Yoan Gouffran nodded past him on the left flank but then failed to hit the target as he looked to lob the ball into the unguarded goal.
A beguiling dragback-pirouette from Carroll in front of the visiting fans earned him space on the byline to fire in a low cross which Elliot blocked with his legs - then in the 82nd minute he headed for goal from a corner, the effort blocked in the six-yard box before being cleared by Gutierrez.
Either side could have taken all three points, but Newcastle will probably be the happier with a point - but if Sunderland win on Monday, they may feel differently.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Matt Jarvis (West Ham) - Excellent on the left for West Ham as calls for another England cap intensify.
WEST HAM: Jaaskelainen 6, O'Brien 5, Reid 7, Collins 6, Demel 6, O'Neil 6, Diame 6, Nolan 6, Jarvis 8; Vaz Te 6, Carroll 7. Subs: Collison 6, Taylor 6, J.Cole 7
NEWCASTLE: Elliot 7, Simpson 6, S.Taylor 6, Coloccini 6, Yanga-Mbiwa 6, Tiote 5, Cabaye 6, Gutierrez 5, Ben Arfa 8, Cisse 5, Gouffran 7. Subs: Gosling 6, Shola Ameobi 6
- Sports & Recreation
- Andy Carroll
- Jonas Gutierrez