Norwich 2-2 West Ham: Slaven Bilic's side fight back to halt hosts
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 14/02/16 7:53am
West Ham scored two goals in as many second-half minutes to earn a 2-2 draw with Norwich at Carrow Road.
After a first half where chances were few and far between, Norwich burst into life after the break with Robbie Brady (54) and Wes Hoolahan (65) giving their side a two-goal advantage.
However, West Ham fought back through goals from Dimitri Payet, who signed a new five-year deal with the club in midweek, and Mark Noble as Slaven Bilic's side moved to within a point of Manchester United in sixth despite dropping below Southampton to seventh on goal difference.
Norwich ended a run of five straight Premier League defeats but Alex Neil's side, who are without a win in seven games in all competitions, sit one place above the relegation zone on goal difference.
Norwich, who made two changes from the 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa with Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome replacing Youssouf Mulumbu and Dieumerci Mbokani, started on the front foot as Russell Martin fired over from the edge of the penalty area in the opening minute.
After some early Norwich pressure, West Ham gradually grew into the game with Mark Noble releasing Enner Valencia through on goal, but Sebastien Bassong recovered well to usher the striker away before he could get a shot off.
However, Valencia did not make the same mistake twice, taking on a shot from an awkward angle in the 18th minute to test John Ruddy, who smartly tipped the ball over the crossbar.
West Ham were enjoying good possession but chances were thin on the ground for the Hammers as Norwich started to reassert themselves on the game as the clock ticked towards half-time.
First, Brady fired a free-kick over from 25 yards before a well-worked corner saw Jonny Howson hit the ball over from the edge of the box.
The pressure was building as the hosts looked to break the deadlock but they just could not hit the target with Steven Naismith firing wide, before Martin blazed over after good work from Jerome.
West Ham, who looked jaded after their 120-minute FA Cup tie in midweek against Liverpool, started the second half in sloppy fashion with James Collins giving the ball away to Naismith, who released Hoolahan, but the midfielder could not pull the ball back for the unmarked Jerome.
The visitors were punished just minutes later though with Michail Antonio losing the ball to Brady, who charged forward before curling a thunderous shot past Adrian and into the top corner.
The hosts doubled their advantage nine minutes later when Naismith's shot deflected into the path of the unmarked Hoolahan, who swept the ball past Adrian from close range.
West Ham responded by bringing on Andy Carroll and Victor Moses for Valencia and Alex Song and it was Moses who helped the visitors grab a lifeline, bursting into the penalty area before forcing Ruddy into a smart save.
The rebound fell to the feet of Payet, who celebrated his new deal by powering the ball into the roof of the net.
Within two minutes the visitors were level, with Payet this time turning provider. The Frenchman, who has scored or assisted 12 Premier League goals this season, picked out Noble on the edge of the area and the midfielder smashed a first-time shot past Ruddy and into the top corner.
There was still time for both sides to win it, with Moses and substitute Emmanuel Emenike both driving over, while Redmond was inches from a last-gasp winner for the hosts after his shot deflected wide.
Soccer Saturday verdict - Phil Thompson
The Norwich players will be looking around the dressing room feeling like that was a defeat. It hadn't been a great match early on, and Norwich scored with their first shot on target. Ten minutes after scoring the first, they go 2-0 up. West Ham weren't in it. As soon as West Ham scored, the game changed. You could see the confidence just drain out of Norwich. It was all West Ham after it. If this game would have gone on another five minutes, there was only going to be one winner. Norwich have good players, but there is a lack of ability to sense danger.
Norwich: Ruddy (8), Martin (7), Klose (7), Bassong (6), Brady (8), Howson (6), O'Neil (6), Redmond (7), Hoolahan (7), Naismith (6), Jerome (7).
Subs used: Mbokani (6), Dorrans (6), Olsson (6).
West Ham: Adrian (7), Byram (7), Collins (7), Ogbonna (7), Cresswell (6), Song (6), Noble (8), Obiang (7), Antonio (5), Payet (8), Valencia (6).
Subs used: Moses (7), Carroll (6), Emenike (5).
Man of the Match: Dimitri Payet