NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom (AFP) – Newcastle secured their first point of the season on Saturday but their 0-0 home draw with West Ham will have given manager Alan Pardew little reason for optimism.
The Magpies, whose lack of activity in the transfer market during the close season had already alarmed the fans with their opening 4-0 walloping by Manchester City last Monday confirming their worst fears, were outplayed for large parts of the match by West Ham.
The only mild satisfaction for the home fans will be that it halted former manager Sam Allardyce's run of three successive wins on his trips back there since he was sacked after just 24 games in 2008.
Pardew, who was without injured loan signing Loic Remy, left Yohan Cabaye, a transfer target for French champions Paris Saint Germain and Premier League giants Arsenal, out of the side again having not picked the France international for the City game.
The hosts, who have taken just six points from their last eight Premier League games, went close to opening the scoring in the 17th minute but it was not of their own making.
West Ham's New Zealand international defender Winston Reid panicked under pressure from Papiss Cisse and overhit his backpass to Jussi Jaaskelainen which beat the 'keeper but fortunately for him rolled the other side of the post.
Reid, though, nearly scored at the other end when he drifted in past Argentinian defender Fabricio Coloccini but just failed to make contact with James Collins's long freekick.
Any chance of the match becoming more of a spectacle in the second-half were wiped out when rain poured down and it was West Ham who produced the best chances of the half.
Kevin Nolan, who scored the winner in the corresponding fixture against his former club last season, should have done better when well set up by Stewart Downing while Joe Cole, the man who replaced Downing when he was taken off, fired just over with a smart shot on the turn five minutes from time.
The visitors had the ball in the net two minutes from time but Modibo Maiga was adjudged to be offside.
Newcastle could have stolen the points in time added on as Jaaskelainen was beaten by the flight of Shola Ameobi's cross shot which came back off the post but Yoann Gouffran hooked it over the bar.