Eddie Howe's done something at Newcastle United that Steve Bruce couldn't
And so it goes on. Newcastle United, seemingly in freefall not so long ago, are now six games unbeaten.
On another day, they would have left East London with all three points.
And that’s saying something considering that Eddie Howe was without his three best players – Callum Wilson, Kieran Trippier and Allan Saint-Maximin – and that his team had had to travel to London by coach because of Storm Eunice.
Newcastle – who had set off from the airport early Friday afternoon after their flight was grounded – looked anything but jaded against fifth-placed West Ham United for most of the game at a soggy London Stadium, where they were backed by 3,000 fans who had somehow made it to the capital amid the storms over the previous 24 hours.
Those travelling supporters liked what they saw from their team, who had the better of the 1-1 draw.
“I didn’t think we were as good in the second half, but not in terms of energy,” said Howe. “I thought that was there all through the game.
“The journey wasn’t ideal, but the most important thing was that we got here safe. Hopefully, all the supporters got here safe as well.
"What an incredible following we can again, and I can’t thank them enough for their support all the way through. It’s great to share that moment at the end of the game.
"We were satisfied with what we’ve done. We’re slightly disappointed it wasn’t more, but very grateful for everybody’s backing.”
West Ham manager David Moyes – whose side has been pushing for a Champions League place – was less satisfied.
"I was thrilled to take a point, because we didn’t play well,” said Moyes. “It was one of our poorest performances of the season, but you have to make the most of it.”
Newcastle were dominant in midfield thanks to goalscorer Joe Willock, who was superb alongside Joelinton and Jonjo Shelvey.
At the back, new signings Dan Burn and Matt Targett again impressed, while Chris Wood, another January arrival, worked tirelessly up front.
Howe was missing key personnel, but his increasingly attack-minded team now has a way of playing, an identity, something it never had under Steve Bruce, his predecessor.
The players know their jobs, and the team, as Howe says, is in a “good place”.
The club’s in a better place – it’s 17th in the Premier League, and four points above the relegation zone – but there’s still a lot of work to do, and Howe was frustrated at the home side’s goal, scored by an unmarked Craig Dawson.
“I was pleased with the resilience – the team’s in a good place at the moment,” said Howe. “I was really pleased with the players. The only disappointment defensively was the goal we conceded.
“We are feeling good at this moment, but we know football can change quickly. Performances have improved, but we just need to remain calm.
“No one is getting carried away or getting complacent. We know how quickly results can change in this division.”
Results in football, certainly, can change quickly – as we’ve seen over the past few weeks.